Lille welcome Scottish champions Celtic to the Stade Pierre Mauroy on Thursday evening for their second Europa League Group H match.
Lille have made a sizzling start to this season’s Ligue 1 campaign, remaining unbeaten with 5 wins and 3 draws in their 8 league games and are joint top of the league, tied on 18 points with PSG, who are above them only on goal difference.
They extended this form into the Europa where they thrashed a 10 man Sparta Prague 4-1 in their first group match with Yusuf Yacizi grabbing a hat-trick to go to the top of Group H.
Christophe Galtier’s side has had a great balance this season balance – scoring 17 goals in all competitions while registering five clean sheets. He will be looking for another solid output here with a doubleheader against AC Milan in the horizon.
Celtic, who have dominated the Scottish League for eons, find themselves in an unenviable position of going three matches without a win, after losing the Old Firm Derby to Rangers, their opening match of the Europa League and drawing 3-3 with Aberdeen at the weekend.
That 3-3 draw highlighted the defensive issues that have put them in this precarious position coming into this game. They came back twice in the game and looked to have sealed a winner with a Ryan Christie’s penalty but conceded their second penalty in stoppage time which Lewis Ferguson converted yet again to ensure the Dons got a share of the points.
Neil Lennon will be looking for improvement on that end of the pitch from his troops.
Lille have started both the Ligue 1 campaign and the Europa League on the right note. They move the ball freely when in attack and have a compact defence when they do not have the ball. They are one of only three teams in Europe’s top five leagues that are yet to taste defeat this season. Celtics meantime are going through a rough patch, particularly in defence, conceding a whopping 8 goals in just their last 3 games. They have however managed to score a goal in their last 20 competitive games. Lille did not face any pressure against Sparta Prague as they took control of the game right from the moment Sparta got a red card in the 23rd minute of the game. They can expect a much tougher game here and we fancy both teams to score @ 1.91 with 22Bet as our initial betting tip for the game.
Neil Lennon has acknowledged their defensive struggles as a point of concern. With a few of his injured players coming back, we can expect a special emphasis from his team to clean up some of the messy coverages and errors that have cost them dearly in their recent matches, particularly to start the game. We are therefore expecting a cagey first half and we are going for 1st Half Goal Under 1.5 @ 1.45 with bookmaker 22Bet as our final tip for the game.
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