Ahead of tomorrow’s Coupe de la Ligue Final against Lille at the Stade de France, I caught up with my buddy at French Football Weekly Andrew Gibney.
Andrew, is a devoted and avid Lille OSC supporter, who like myself, will be in Paris for the showpiece event on Saturday night. He covers French football for Four Four Two and Bleacher Report, among others.
FFW is a site close to my heart as it was Andrew who kindly invited me onto his podcast upon 1970 PSG’s launch in 2011. It is something I will always be grateful for!
Like 1970 PSG, FFW is part of the Onefootball network.
Hey Andrew, how will Lille likely line up for Saturday’s final?
Since taking over from Herve Renard, Frederic Antonetti has had most of his success playing 4-3-3. The full-backs are allowed to bomb forward – you try stopping Djibril Sidibe – and it is a huge feature of their attack.
Ibrahim Amadou has taken over from Rio Mavuba as the deepest of the three midfielders, allowing the club captain a little more freedom to get forward. The last spot will be between Florent Balmont and the excellent Mounir Obbadi.
Upfront, Portuguese loanee Éder will be the focal point of the attack, with him linking up with Sofiane Boufal and most likely ex-OM man, Morgan Amalfitano on the right.
Boufal likes to drift and find space, his link up play with Eder has been excellent.
How did Lille get to the final?
Lille started off with a 2-1 come from behind win over Troyes at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. 1-0 down at half-time, goals from Stoppila Sunzu and Sehrou Guirassy saved their blushes in October.
Les Dogues then snuck past Ligue 2 side Laval with a 1-0 win, Sidibé popping up with the winner 10 minutes from time.
It wasn’t much better in the quarter-finals when an awful match at the Stade du Roudourou in Guingamp finished goalless after and Lille, with the help of Vincent Enyeama won 4-2 on penalties.
Best Moment of Lille’s cup run?
It wasn’t a complete shock that Lille beat Bordeaux to reach the final. Playing at home, against Willy Sagnol’s under-peforming side, but it’s the fact that Antonetti’s men scored FIVE times. It was quite phenomenal.
Yassine Benzia’s seventh minute opener was levelled by Clement Chantome and it looked like we were in for a close game. However, two goals in the last five minutes of the half put the sword to Les Girondins and then Eric Bautheac made it four and on as a substitute, Boufal lobbed Jerome Prior to put the icing on a very delicious but unexpected cake.
Who is the Lille player to watch?
Éder is the man of the moment. Five goals and three assists in the league since joining at the end of January. He has given the team a whole new dimension, he’s bringing people into play, holding the ball up and finding space with his pace, power and movement.
It will be a tough game against Thiago Silva & Co. but Lille have to believe he can make a difference.
It’s the hope that kills you when you play PSG. It will be tight. If Lille can stop the holders from scoring, anything is possible. Let’s go for a repeat of the 2011 Coupe de France final. Lille to win 1-0 – second half goal from Boufal.