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Oct 24, 2021 at 2pm UK
Said (14', 37'), Ganago (83'), Frankowski (90')
Leca (65'), Ganago (87')
FT(HT: 2-1)
de Preville (33')
Pajot (20'), Maiga (39'), N'Doram (53')

Preview: Lens vs. Metz - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Lens vs. Metz - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Lens and Metz, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Lens and Metz face off in the 11th match of this developing Ligue 1 season at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts are flying high in second place, whilst their upcoming opponents currently find themselves down in the relegation playoff spot with just six points.

Match preview

Lens finished seventh in Ligue 1 last term, which represented an impressive campaign on their return to the top flight, and many fans would have been happy to see the team simply consolidate themselves as a top-half regular this season.

They have gone far beyond that, though, having amassed 18 points in their first 10 games to sit behind only the dominant Paris Saint-Germain in the standings.

Franck Haise's side did, however, lose their second game of the season last weekend when they travelled to Montpellier, who are struggling down in the bottom half.

The deadlock was broken three minutes into the second half when the hosts' captain Teji Savanier laid on a great assist for English forward Stephy Mavididi and La Paillade then clung on to their one-goal lead, despite being reduced to 10 men late on.

Results elsewhere meant that Lens remained in second place, at least, and Haise will now be determined for his men to bounce back in style against a very beatable opponent this weekend.

Frederic Antonetti has seen his side struggle to match the form they showed last year, when they finished an impressive 10th during their second season back in the top tier.

Metz went on a run of four straight defeats in September and, after the brief respite of a 2-1 win away at Brest, have returned to losing ways with back-to-back defeats in their last two matches.

They conceded three in each - first, losing the lead twice before conceding a 90th-minute winner to Angers, and then going into half time 3-0 down to Rennes last weekend and never recovering.

The biggest issue that Antonetti's side have had so far is scoring goals, with just 11 to show for their efforts in the opening 10 games - only two Ligue 1 sides have scored fewer.

History, at least, does appear to be on Metz's side in this fixture, as they have not been beaten by Lens since 2017, with the most recent encounter last season finishing 2-2.

Lens Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Metz Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Team News

With striker Corentin Jean fit again, Lens have just the one injury concern to deal with, as Massadio Haidara is a doubt with a groin injury.

Facundo Medina has also returned from suspension and will surely slot straight back into the defensive three, with Haise unlikely to ring the changes despite their surprise defeat.

As for the visitors, their three previously suspended players - Dylan Bronn, Fabien Centonze and Habib Maiga - are all back for this game and should start.

Ibrahima Niane is a doubt, which could see Nicolas de Preville lead the line, with Opa Nguette coming in on the left.

Kevin N'Doram and Jemerson both made surprising starts last weekend, but only the latter looks set to retain his spot.

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Clauss, Doucoure, Fofana, Frankowski; Kakuta; Kalimuendo, Sotoca

Metz possible starting lineup:
Oukidja; Centonze, Bronn, Jemerson, Udol; Gueye, Sarr, Maiga, Pajot, Nguette; De Preville

We say: Lens 2-0 Metz

They may have lost last time out but Lens are the better side, with home advantage and a fitter squad. This should be a comfortable home victory.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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