Even at this stage of proceedings it could well be a vital game, as we hope to qualify for the latter stages of the competition. A win in France would give us an exceptional lift prior to the two back-to-back games against Ajax later this month and in early November. Our first game in this seasons Champions League campaign ended in a 0-1 defeat against Valencia.
The Stade Pierre-Mauroy and Lille will be a new venue and team for us in the Champions League competition. Lille are expected to finish last in the group table, but these games can be dangerous if they’re taken lightly. Lille are currently fourth in Ligue 1; their last game against Nice on Saturday ended 1-1, with Luiz Araújo scoring for the visitors. Amongst Lille’s ranks is Renato Sanches, who was on loan at Swansea City during the 2017/18 season; he ended up playing twelve games for the Welsh club. As yet, Sanches hasn’t played for Lille this season.
We go into the game with more resilience after the 2-0 home league win against Brighton. Both the win and clean sheet were superb for this group of players, so confidence should be high. The good news is that N’Golo Kante should be back after missing the Brighton game with a suspected tweak of his hamstring. Kurt Zouma could also be back in contention after he had an illness on Saturday. Another with a recent illness has been Olivier Giroud, but he should be fit and ready for this game, if required. I’m going for a 1-2 victory tonight; both teams could do with the three points, so it could be an open game.