Lille OSC

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Ligue 1

Round 27

Nantes 0 - 1 Lille OSC
2020-03-01 14:00 More Reports
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Ligue 1

Round 28

2020-03-08 20:00 More Previews
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Season Guide
2019/2020

Lille OSC

In


Tim Weah (att) (PSG); Benjamin Andre (mid) (Rennes); Domagoj Bradaric (def) (Hadjuk Split); Leo Jardim (gk) (Rio Ave); Show (mid) (1 de Agosto); Saad Agouzoul (def) (Kawkab Marrakech); Virgiliu Postolachi (att) (PSG); Victor Osimhen (att) (RSC Charleroi); Yassine Benzia (mid) (Fenerbahce), Edgar Ie (def) (Nantes) (both loan ends)

Out


Thiago Mendes (k)(mid) (Lyon); Youssouf Kone (r)(def) (Lyon); Anwar El Ghazi (att) (Aston Villa); Kouadio-Yves Dabila (def), Rominigue Kouame (mid) (both Cercle Brugge, loan); Herve Koffi (sp)(gk) (Belenenses, loan)

Lille face a major challenge in replicating the success they enjoyed during the 2018-19 season, when they finished second in Ligue 1, over the 10 months ahead. They will have to juggle European football along with their domestic commitments, while they have had to go into something of a state of transition given the players they have lost this summer. Midfield metronome Thiago Mendes might be the most important of those who have already departed, but Youssouf Kone performed surprisingly well at left-back in the second half of the season and has gone to Lyon, leaving Lille to look for their third first-choice in that position in a year. Crucially, though, Nicolas Pepe will leave, while there is also a chance that Rafael Leao goes, which would decimate the attacking line. Pepe’s replacement has already been found in the form of Tim Weah, who the club have said they see as more of a winger than a centre-forward, while Domagoj Bradaric is a 19-year-old Croatian signed for the left-back role in the long term, though Reinildo, who had a strong conclusion to the last campaign may take that role in the interim. Benjamin Andre has been signed from Rennes to replace Thiago Mendes, though he is not nearly of the same quality. Otherwise, Lille have worked to add depth to various areas of their squad by signing young players with the capability to be sold on at profit in the years ahead, including goalkeeper Leo Jardim and forward Virgiliu Postolachi from PSG. While there may still be talent in this Lille squad, they have to be wary of going down the route of Monaco and building their side too much around youngsters who are simply not capable of performing at the requisite standard for extended periods. Indeed, there are very few players in the whole squad between the 26 and 30 age bracket – the time when players are typically at their peak. More responsibility is set for the shoulders of players like Jonathan Bamba, Boubakary Soumare and Jonathan Ikone, but that may not be a good thing in the long term.

Target


Matching last season’s effort seems impossible, particularly with the added weight of European competition on their shoulders. They will want to be back in Europe again next term, but reaching the Europa League would be a strong achievement.

Season Review
2018/2019

№2: Lille OSC

Having narrowly avoided relegation under the guidance of Christophe Galtier last season, Lille maintained that momentum and incredibly finished second this time around, attaining an unexpected automatic ticket into the Champions League. With a young side, Lille had expected a much better season, but they could not have dreamed of a stronger campaign, which was aided immensely by a strong August, in which they picked up seven points from a possible nine. Crucially, Galtier was able to get the best out of Nicolas Pepe, a player who had been ill-used as a centre forward the previous season under Marcelo Bielsa. Back out on his natural habitat of the wing, he proved one of the revelations of the season, not just in France but in Europe as a whole as he bagged 22 goals and 11 further assists. While Pepe was the star, he was well supported from elsewhere. Jonathan Bamba blew a little hot and cold but still had a strong season, while the same can be said of Jonathan Ikone, whose end product remains questionable. Centre forwards Rafael Leao and Loic Remy both gave good service to the team when called upon, bagging eight and seven goals for the campaign respectively. If Lille’s attackers made the headlines, it was the defence that was arguably their strongest sector as they posted the best defensive numbers in Ligue 1 for the campaign. Goalkeeper Mike Maignan had a break-out season, while the addition of Jose Fonte proved an extremely shrewd one as he worked well beside Adama Soumaoro and Gabriel. Ahead of this duo, Thiago Mendes and Xeka ran the midfield, which was very well balanced. Though Lille face losing several key players over the summer, their squad depth is such that players like Gabriel, Boubakary Soumare and Luiz Araujo can step up. Europe means that they will be stretched a little more but, with the right addition of quality, Lille can be a force in Ligue 1 again next term.


Player of the Season: Nicolas Pepe

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