FRANCE: Ligue 1
Time: 9:00 PM
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis (Lens)
It’s been a great start to 2021/22 for Lens, who sit fourth in the Ligue 1 standings after 14 rounds (W7, D3, L4). That’s the club’s highest league position at this stage since 2006/07 – the season they last qualified for European competition. Manager Franck Haise will be aiming for a repeat of that triumph this season, especially after his side missed out by just one point in the last campaign.
Optimism has steadily deteriorated recently however, after they lost two of their previous three league outings (W1), representing as many defeats as they registered across the opening 11 gameweeks. They’ll be hoping they can rely on their home form to reduce their current two-point gap on UEFA Champions League places though, as a fourth consecutive league win at Stade Bollaert-Delelis would mark their longest such run in over a year.
Visiting Angers may have won just two of their last ten Ligue 1 matches (D5, L3), but still sit only three points below their hosts, emphasising the importance of a positive result here. As evident by their recent results, holding a lead has been problematic and ‘Les Scöistes’ have the worst average point return (1.0) after leading at half-time this season (W1, D1, L2).
The league’s away draw specialists this season with five, the visitors are actually winless in ten of their last 11 Ligue 1 road trips (D6, L4), but can take heart from winning at Lens last season. For those looking for an upset, the pre-match underdogs have lost a joint-league low 29% of league games involving Angers this campaign (W4, D6, L4), which may encourage fans of the team to make the 600-mile round trip.
Players to watch: Lens have won the four Ligue 1 matches in which the talismanic Przemyslaw Frankowski has scored. But aiming to eclipse him is Angers’ Thomas Mangani, who has scored six of his last seven Ligue 1 strikes from the penalty spot.
- Lens’s form in last 5 matches: LWLWL.
- Angers’s form in last 5 matches: WDLDL.
PREDICTION: Home/Draw and Under 4.5