REIMS welcome Lille in Sunday afternoon's live Ligue 1 action. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB) is on-hand to preview his favourite fancies.
Reims vs Lille | Sunday 30th August 2020, 12:00 | BT Sport
Two sides with European qualification aspirations who both drew their opening games having thrown away leads, go head-to-head on Sunday as Reims welcome Lille to the Stade Auguste-Delaune.
Reims’ away point at Monaco can never be considered a bad result but Les Rouges et Blancs will be kicking themselves after surrendering a two-goal advantage given to them by Boulaye Dia and a beauty from El Bilal Toure.
Meanwhile, Lille shared the points after a goal and sending off apiece with another side expecting to be at the top end of Ligue 1 – Rennes.
This looks another tough game to call with David Gulon’s hosts tasting defeat just once in their last 10 league games at their Champagne region base, and only twice in the curtailed 2019/20 season (W5-D7-L2).
As is the case with many top-flight French sides this fine record is built on the foundations of a rock solid defence having conceded just seven goals from those 14 fixtures in their own stadium.
There is no reason to assume that things will be different in this one with each of the last four times Lille manager Christophe Galtier has come up against Reims seeing Under 2.5 Goals, as have the last three meetings with his opposite number – and just to emphasise the point none of the last five meetings between these two sides have managed to cross that line either. A fact not lost on the bookies who have Under 2.5 priced up at just 11/20.
Lille ended last season with three consecutive victories on the road so we should expect a positive outcome if their record of either winning or losing away for close to a calendar year is anything to go by – not since a 1-1 draw at Nice on 28th September 2019 have they shared the spoils on their travels. But this really could go either way so my focus will instead be on the props markets and it is two Lille players that catch my eye.
Shot markets stand out
Jonathan Bamba was the goalscorer for Lille last weekend and that matched his total tally from the previous season, a disappointing return after hitting double figures (13/38) in his debut season for the club following his move as a free agent.
Including the final two games of last season Bamba has now hit the target in three successive starts and for a player who is equally comfortable on the right or left his recent starting position in a more central role makes him a threat for defenders unsure of which way he is going to take them. I’m taking him to make it four consecutive games with a shot on-target here at evens (Ladbrokes).
After a disappointing end to his three seasons with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, Renato Sanches has started to rediscover his form again in France and at 22 still has plenty of time to fulfil the potential expected of him after a starring role in Euro 2016 led to him winning Young Player of the Tournament.
Reports suggest offers of over £60m have been tabled for the Portuguese midfielder who EPL fans may remember or may not given his abject performances. Sitting in behind the striker/s in a more central role is allowing Sanches plenty of opportunity to do what he enjoys – shoot from distance and he did just that in last weekend with two strikes on goal, both from outside the box.
Including his final appearances of last season, Sanches has now fired off at least two shots in five of his last six games (3, 0, 2, 2, 3, 2) with four of those attempts, including two strikes from outside the box (2, 0, 1, 2, 2, 2) and in each of his last three.
Ladbrokes have him at 10/11 to have two shots and 29/20 for two attempts from outside the box as he did last weekend – both look value to me given his recent form.
These selections are all accessed via the Bet Builder tab.