LIGUE 1 returns from its winter break for the rescheduled clash between Lille and Evian. Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights the best bet.
Lille v Evian | Wednesday 19.30 | BT Sport 1
Lille’s horrid season showed no sign of turning as they returned from the winter break to exit the French Cup at Bastia over the weekend. It was another turgid display from Rene Girard’s team who’ve now won just once in their last 17 competitive games (W1-D7-L9).
And things don’t get any easier for Les Dogues on Wednesday night. Evian might be struggling for results, especially on the road, but Lille must contend with the absence of Pape Souaré, Idrissa Gueye and Ryan Mendes who have all joined their respective national teams ahead of the African Cup of Nations.
Striker Divock Origi may also be missing having complained of injury following Saturday’s 2-0 loss as well as potentially joining Liverpool sooner than expected. It’s left Girard short of options for the welcome of Evian.
The visitors head north with coach Pascal Dupraz also having to shuffle his back. Centre-backs Jonathan Mensah and Cédric Mongongu are also away on international duty whilst Clark N’Sikulu has been suspended as they bid to end a rotten run of seven defeats from their last nine on the road.
L’ETG have drawn just once all season but will be alarmed by their lack of efforts on target. Dupraz’s charges average the lowest shots-on-target in the league with just 2.28 per game and a trip to the Stade Pierre-Mauroy will test their attacking resolve – Lille have kept 27 clean sheets in 47 league fixtures at their new stadium, an impressive 57%!
The hosts may have scored a paltry 15 goals so far in Ligue 1 but Wednesday night’s game represents a great chance to improve that record. Evian hold the joint-worst defence in the league and have conceded at least twice in six of their nine away games and leaked at least three in each of their last three outings.
Despite Lille’s low-scoring nature, they have netted before the half-time interval in four of their last five league games and in 14/28 (50%) under Girard’s charge. They’re 17/20 to score Over 0.5 first-half goals with William Hill and I’ll have a small play on that outcome.
We’ve mentioned Evian’s rotten defensive record and it’s worth noting they’ve also conceding before the break in seven of their nine matches when playing away this season as well as in 26/45 during Dupraz’s reign in the top-flight.
L’ETG have also been losing at both half-time and full-time in seven of their nine away which could make the 7/4 (BetVictor) on a Lille HT-FT bet appear attractive. However, their below-par form has put me off considering Les Dogues in any win markets this midweek.
Lille v Evian – Lille to score Over 0.5 first-half goals (17/20 William Hill)