BETTING & MATCH PREVIEW
On Sunday afternoon Lille kick-off their Ligue One title defence as they travel to Metz’s Stade Saint-Symphorien.
The home side enjoyed a solid campaign in Ligue One last season, finishing tenth place in the table. Things could have been even better for Les Grenats if it had not been for a poor run towards the end of the season when they won just one of their final 11 league matches. They certainly face a tough start to their campaign, facing last season’s champions.
Metz finished last season with an eight-game winless run on home soil in the French top-flight. If they are to have a chance of bettering their tenth-place finish from last season, then that needs to improve.
The home side has been relatively quiet in the transfer market with Amine Bassi, Sofiane Alakouch and Lenny Joseph arriving. The only big exit was Victorien Angban, who left for Sochi.
LOSC shocked everybody last season by winning the Ligue One title ahead of big-spending rivals PSG. They ended last season with an eight-game unbeaten in the French top-flight, consisting of six wins and two draws.
However, since the victory, Lille have lost head coach Christophe Gautier, who has left for Nice and been replaced by Jocelyn Gourvennec. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan left for AC Milan, while midfielder Boubakary Soumare has joined Leicester City. They have yet to strengthen their squad, but they have kept hold of forward pair Jonathan David and Burak Yilmaz.
Metz look to be without full-back Manuel Cabit due to injuries sustained in a car accident last year.
Lille will be without Xeka and Tiago Djalo due suspension after the pair clashed during a recent friendly match.
Even with their summer losses, we are backing Lille to have too much quality for the home side and kick-off their title defence with a victory.
PREDICTION – AWAY WIN
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Odds correct at time of publication – please check with your bookmaker before placing a bet as fluctuations can occur.