Foot Predictions shows the Europa League clash on Thursday between Lille and Ajax, including hunches, news about the teams and possible lineups.
Ligue 1 leaders face Eredivisie leaders in a mouth-watering game Europa League showdown on Thursday as Lille to receive Ajax for Stade Pierre-Mauroy for the first leg of the round of 16.
Christophe GaltierThe club’s men qualified for the knockout stage as runners-up in Group H, while Ajax dropped from the Champions League after finishing third in their group.
Lille still lead Ligue 1 after a phenomenal first half of the season, but their momentum suffered a blow before the goalless draw with Brest in the first division on Sunday.
The impasse with Les Pirates saw Lille’s winning streak in seven games come to an abrupt end, and Paris Saint-Germain took advantage of their rivals’ slips to narrow the gap in leadership to just one point, so Les Dogues will be desperate to rectify his weekend mistakes, by resuming the action of the Europa League this week.
Despite not being able to find the bottom of the net against a normally dripping Brest defense, Les Dogues registered his seventh game without conceding goals in all competitions after maintaining Olivier Dall’OglioTheir attacks are under control, and that type of defensive resistance will be the key to your chances of advancing to the Europa League round of 16.
Lille suffered mixed fortunes in the group stage campaign and fell to defeat in the last game against Celtic, but three wins and two draws in the top five – including an unforgettable 3-0 win at San Siro – was enough to put it in second place behind AC Milan.
The 2-1 victory over Sparta Prague was the only home win in Group H, but they only suffered a 16 defeat in familiar territory in all competitions during the current campaign, although Ajax is a team that also knows something. about winning streak.
Ajax did their best in the Champions League, but trying to usurp Liverpool or Atalanta for a place in the round of 16 was a bridge too far for the Dutch giant, who finished third in Group D to fall into Europe’s secondary competition.
There will be no repetition of that infamous 2018-19 race on the biggest stage of them all, but given its current form in all competitions, it would be foolish to write Erik ten Hagin the Europa League, looking for a European silver piece back in Amsterdam.
Eredivisie leaders made it to the Europa League final in a memorable 2016-17 campaign, where they were defeated by Manchester United, but it was at this stage that they were kicked out by Getafe last season, and Ten Hag won’t want to see lightning twice this time.
Ajax warmed up for this round with a routine 2-0 victory over Heracles, in the Dutch top flight – a result that marked their eighth triumph in all competitions and increased their lead to six points – and the Ten Hag also witnessed his team eliminated the PSV of the opponent closest to the KNVB Beker quarter-finals last week.
Ajax and Lille renew their hostilities after broken matches in the 2019-20 Champions League group stage, and it was the Dutch team that got the better of both occasions, with a 3-0 win at home before the 2-0 win at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Lille Europa League form: WDWDWL
Forma Lille (all competitions): WWWWWD
Ajax form (all competitions): WWWWWW
All news from the teams
Lille will have to manage without midfielders Xeka and Benjamin Andre – both suspended by an accumulation of reserves – then Renato Sanches and Boubakary Soumare are configured to equip the engine room.
Burak Yilmaz remains in the treatment room, but Yusuf Yazici is back with the hosts and will want to continue the six goals he scored in the group stage, which put him at the level of Benfica Pizzi at the top of the scoring tables.
Former Ajax defender Sven Botman was left on the bench against Brest, but the 21-year-old Liverpool-linked player is sure to return to face his former club here after rumors of an exit were quashed by his agent.
Sebastien Haller has made a big impression at Ajax with five goals and five assists since he was transferred from West Ham United in January, but a ridiculous administrative error means he does not qualify for the Europa League.
Lassina Traore must therefore lead the attack at the top, but the visitors also have two players suspended in Ryan Gravenberch and Andre Onana – the last of which was sentenced to a 12-month ban on doping violations.
Back Noussair Mazraoui was forced to leave Heracles after taking a ball in the face, but he must be fine for him, while Oussama Idrissi may return from illness in time to play as well.
Possible initial line-up for Lille:
Maignan; Celik, Fonte, Botman, Bradaric; Ikone, Soumare, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yazici
Possible initial Ajax roster:
Stekelenburg; Mazraoui, Martinez, Schuurs, Tagliafico; Alvarez, Cego, Klaassen; Neres, Traore, Tadic
Probability: Lille 1-0 Ajax
Ajax have scored at least two goals in the last five games, but it is not yet known what the attack will be like without the prolific Haller. Lille’s resilient defense should welcome an inspired Botman back who will be motivated to overcome his former club, and with star Yazici back in the final third, we can see Les Dogues taking a small lead in next week’s second leg.
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