LOSC Lille vs Aston Villa: Preview and Prediction

Aston Villa will aim to book their spot in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa Conference League when they head to Stade Pierre-Mauroy for the second leg against LOSC Lille on Thursday evening.

Aston Villa will bring a narrow advantage into the second leg of their UEFA Europa Conference League quarter-final against LOSC Lille at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, having recorded a tense 2-1 victory in the first leg in Birmingham last week.

Unai Emery’s men have defied the bookmakers in the Premier League as they continue to mount a firm push for the Champions League places. And Sunday’s impressive 2-0 victory at title-hopeful Arsenal sent them three points clear of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth place.

Aston Villa have been favourites for Europe’s third-tier tournament pretty much since they entered the fray with an 8-0 aggregate demolition of Hibernian in the play-off round. It has been a memorable season for Aston Villa, with success on multiple fronts expected. The Villans face a tricky hurdle in France against Lille, though.

Les Dogues, currently positioned fourth in Ligue 1 with 49 points, are enjoying a fine season under the guidance of Paulo Fonseca. The hosts are locked in a tight race for a top-three finish, which would clinch a coveted position in next season’s UEFA Champions League group stages.

Team News & Tactics

LOSC Lille

The hosts have had the benefit of a weekend off to fully prepare for this match, which could give them a slight edge in terms of freshness and tactical preparation. Fonseca will likely line up Lille in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Lucas Chevalier will be in goal for the French side, with Tiago Santos, Leny Yoro, Bafode Diakite, and Ismaily protecting him in defence.

Benjamin Andre and Nabil Bentaleb will be the two holding midfielders. Edon Zhegrova, Remy Cabella, and Gabriel Gudmundsson will be the three attackers, with fellow forwards Andrej Ilic and Tiago Morais still sidelined by injury.

Jonathan David was relatively quiet in the first leg. But Lille’s top scorer could come alive back at home. The Canadian is on 20 goals for the season across all competitions and will look to help his side advance into the semi-finals.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Chevalier; Santos, Diakite, Yoro, Ismaily; Andre, Bentaleb; Zhegrova, Cabella, Gudmundsson; David

Aston Villa

Aston Villa’s chances were not fancied at the Emirates as they headed into the match off the back of a soaking 90 minutes of end-to-end action against Lille on Thursday night in the first leg of their Conference League quarter-final.

But Unai Emery got his tactics spot on against his former side, and the Midlands club were well worth a victory that gave them a massive injection of confidence heading into the campaign-deciding last stretch of the season.

After missing the first leg with a knock, defender Clement Lenglet will make the trip back to his home country. Right-back Matty Cash returned to the fold last weekend, having been ruled out for several weeks by an injury sustained on international duty.

However, the visitors will still be unable to call upon the services of long-term absentees Boubacar Kamara, Emi Buendialiano, Tyrone Mings, and Jacob Ramsey. Douglas Luiz is set to return to the engine room to partner Youri Tielemans, as he will be suspended again for Sunday’s Premier League encounter against Bournemouth at Villa Park.

Leon Bailey made a big impact off the bench for Aston Villa with the opener at Arsenal, and that should earn him a start here. The Jamaican winger will be a threat on the counter alongside John McGinn and Morgan Rogers in the attacking midfield trifecta. Starting up front, star striker Ollie Watkins remains the Villains talisman this season and will look to continue his remarkable season here.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Tielemans, Luiz; Bailey, McGinn, Rogers; Watkins

Key Stats

  • Aston Villa’s victory in the first leg has levelled up the head-to-head record with one win apiece and one stalemate.
  • The last meeting between the two was in the Intertoto Cup back in 2002, with Lille winning 2-0 at Villa Park after a 1-1 draw in France.
  • Both teams have scored in each of Lille’s past six games across all competitions.
  • Aston Villa have failed to win any of their three away games against French sides in European competitions.
  • Ollie Watkins has scored in four of his last five Europa Conference League appearances.

Player to Watch

Ollie Watkins

Embed from Getty Images

Watkins has undoubtedly been one of the best strikers in the Premier League this season, and his form is hard to ignore, currently sitting third in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race on 19 goals. He scored a beautiful dink to make it 2-0 against Arsenal, displaying ice-cold composure.

He could have had two on another day, as he also struck the inside of the woodwork in the 39th minute. He has scored in four of his last five UEFA Europa Conference League appearances and will be aiming to fire his side into the semi-finals in style here.


LOSC Lille 1-1 Aston Villa (Aston Villa win 3-2 on aggregate)

The hosts are dangerous opponents, and Bafode Diakite’s late strike at Villa Park in their 2-1 loss has kept them alive in the tie. It would be foolish to write off the in-form Ligue 1 side, who went into the first leg off the back of a seven-game run without defeat and will be fresh for the return after having the weekend off.

Unai Emery’s side are in the middle of a tough run of fixtures. But they have shown they can handle pressure, and they possess enough quality in attack to just about edge this free-flowing Lille side on aggregate here.

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