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09/09/2021 13:53:06

Seeking to build on a long-overdue first win of the 2021-22 Ligue 1 season, champions Lille travel to the Stade du Moustoir to take on Lorient in gameweek five on Friday night (8:00PM, 8 Sept).

Jocelyn Gourvennec's side scraped a 2-1 success over Montpellier HSC last time out, while the hosts played out a 2-2 draw with former Ligue 2 counterparts Lens.

Match preview

Lorient and Lens' fortunes in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season differed vastly following their promotions back to the big time, as Christophe Pelissier's side were battling to avoid the drop while Sang et Or were challenging for the unlikeliest of European spots.

Lens' apparent superiority seemed set to shine through in their gameweek five clash, with Jonathan Clauss's peach of a free kick propelling Sang et Or into the ascendancy, but Lorient's Armand Lauriente slotted home the equaliser before Thomas Monconduit's tame effort found its way into the back of the net before the break.

However, Lorient's hopes of a morale-boosting triumph at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis were dashed in the 70th minute, when Lens' main man Seko Fofana chipped the ball up before firing home a volley on the turn past Paul Nardi, with the two sides shaking hands on a point.

While they are only able to boast one win from their opening four matches of the campaign, Lorient's relatively solid start - with five points from a possible 12 - sees them occupy seventh spot in the table at this early stage, below the six sides who remain unbeaten.

Furthermore, the three games that Lorient have dropped points in this season have been on the road, with Pelissier's men claiming a shock 1-0 win over Monaco during their first home game of the season last month, and they welcome Lille to the Stade du Moustoir having won their last five home games on the spin.

Before facing the side with the best home record in Ligue 1 since the turn of the year, Lille sought to finally get off the mark at home to Montpellier HSC before the international break after taking just two points from their opening three matches of the new season.

The game exploded into life just before the half-time whistle blew, with Yusuf Yazici opening the scoring for Lille before Gaetan Laborde - who has since departed for Rennes - stole in ahead of new Lille goalkeeper Ivo Grbic to draw his side level minutes later.

However, Lille's celebrated Canadian Jonathan David would ensure that the reigning champions would finally claim their first win of the season, beating Thuler all ends up before calmly finishing to give the Dogues faithful something to cheer.

Still some way off early pacesetters Angers and Paris Saint-Germain as they lie smack-bang in the middle of the table, 10th-placed Lille may be entering a fortress in the form of the Stade du Moustoir, but their 16-game unbeaten away run - their longest ever such streak in the top flight - is still intact.

Lille did the double over Lorient last season by an aggregate score of 8-1 - winning 4-0 at home before a 4-1 success in this fixture back in February - and the two sides have not held one another to a stalemate since a 1-1 draw in the 2011-12 season.

Team News

Lorient defensive duo Houboulang Mendes and Jerome Hergault will return from suspensions for the visit of the champions, with the former in line to replace the injured Leo Petrot, who was called up from the B team last weekend.

Thomas Fontaine, Enzo Le Fee and Terem Moffi have been on international duty with Madagascar, France Under-21s and Nigeria respectively this week, so Adrian Grbic could be in line for a rare start if Moffi is not deemed ready to feature from the off.

Pelissier's defensive ranks are further depleted by the absence of Jeremy Morel, but Stephane Diarra and Loris Mouyokolo are said to be edging closer to comebacks.

Meanwhile, Lille continue to cope without Renato Sanches for another few weeks as he nurses a knee injury, and a total of nine Dogues players have represented their countries in the international break.

Jonathan David's Canada finish their program on Thursday, meaning that the striker will certainly not be ready to feature on Friday, while Zeki Celik is doubtful after missing Turkey's 6-1 thrashing at the hands of the Netherlands.

The likes of Reinildo, Sven Botman and Tiago Djalo will also need to be checked following a taxing week, with the latter's absence - coupled with Celik's concern - potentially opening the door for Jeremy Pied to start.

Lorient possible starting lineup:

Nardi; Silva, Hergault, Mendes, Laporte, Le Goff; Monconduit, Abergel, Lemoine; Lauriente, Grbic

Lille possible starting lineup:

Grbic; Pied, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Ikone, Andre, Xeka, Bamba; Yilmaz, Yazici

We say: Lorient 1-1 Lille

Ligue 1's resident home specialists and away-day masters locking horns is an eye-catching way to open gameweek five, but both sides may not have their star men firing at 100% due to the international break.

Lille have looked a far cry from the title-winners they were under Christophe Galtier, and while we expect their unbeaten record on the road to continue, we can see Lorient once again producing the goods on their own turf to claim a well-deserved point.

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