Tour of Ligue 1 clubs: Lille on the attack again to tickle Europe

It is an understatement to say that Losc is coming out of a tormented year. Tenth in the last Ligue 1, Lille could not surf on its brilliantly acquired title in 2020-21. The northern club has made many changes, in the workforce but also on the bench, where Jocelyn Gourvennec has given way to Paulo Fonseca.

Overview of the Lille forces, before the first match of the season against Auxerre, Sunday August 7 at 3 p.m.

The challenge: regain offensive momentum and continuity

Despite its chronic irregularity, a consistency emerged last year: Lille scored too little (13th attack) to aim for Europe. As a result, the Mastiffs enlisted Paulo Fonseca, a coach “offensive”as he described himself at a press conference. “I want the team to take the initiative, dominate, go forward, control the ball”, he asked. The method of Portuguese induced “real risk-taking” in the game, words of vice-captain Benjamin André in The voice of the North [article payant].

Tactically, the 4-4-2 of Galtier then Gourvennec should give way to a more enterprising 4-2-3-1. In this scheme, the survivors of the title will be counted on the fingers of one hand. Only José Fonte, Benjamin André, Jonathan Bamba and Jonathan David should be there – if the Canadian remains in the North. Can this new cycle bring Losc back to the top of the table? Either way, Fonseca’s experiences at Roma or Shakhtar show that one shouldn’t be bored with the Mastiffs.

Player to watch: Edon Zhegrova wants to confirm

Of the three sidekicks of the Lille attack, he is not the best known. Arrived last winter from Basel, Edon Zhegrova took advantage of the end of the freewheeling season of his club to scratch a place on the right wing. “My adaptation to Losc was rather quick”said the 23-year-old Kosovar at the club’s website. He notably distinguished himself with a clear shot from the left in the Angevin skylight, for one of his two goals in L1.

These beautiful promises should guarantee him a place in the eleven Lille type, alongside executives Bamba and David. His profile as a left-handed leader playing on the right and enjoying transplanting in the axis, is unmistakably reminiscent of Nicolo Zaniolo. Before being plagued by injuries, the Italian international had shone in this role in Rome under Paulo Fonseca. Bis repeat?

The transfer window: experience and promises

In line with previous transfer windows, Losc continued its degreasing operation. Burak Yilmaz and Xeka were not extended, while Sven Botman (Newcastle) and Zeki Celik (AS Roma) bailed out thanks to their departure. To replace them, Lille has bet on players experienced in Ligue 1. Striker Mohamed Bayo and right-back Akim Zedadka, strong from a remarkable season in Clermont, have arrived. The experienced Jonas Martin (Rennes) and Rémy Cabella (Montpellier) give more relief in the middle.

Only Alexsandro, defender arrived from Portuguese D2, is a real question. The shopping, however, is far from over. Fonseca expects other reinforcements, but these remain conditional on possible sales.

The 11 type:

The type of Losc XI for the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season. (demivolee.com)

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