[HOLD TILL 9am PLEASE]
Lille have named their squad for Thursday night’s Europa League group game against Everton at the Stade Pierre Mauroy and it’s good news for the English club as one of Lille’s best players will miss the game.
Rony Lopes, on loan from Manchester City, has been one of Lille’s best players this season despite being only 18 years old. The Portuguese playmaker has missed the last few weeks through injury and without him Lille lacks a proper No.10 to play at the top of their midfield diamond.
The disappointing Marvin Martin has been named as fit for the game, but in his third season at the club he has only provided two assists, it could be a blessing in disguise for Roberto Martinez if René Girard picks the former Sochaux man.
Up front, it depends if Girard goes with either the 4-3-1-2 with Martin or young Adama Traoré as the playmaker, or 4-3-3 with Liverpool loanee Divock Origi on the left-wing. At home, Origi is better in a front two, and then the coach will have to decide between Michael Frey and Nolan Roux to be his partner.
Idrissa Gueye was rested on Saturday and is likely to come back into the midfield beside Florent Balmont and captain Rio Mavuba, the disappointing news for Lille is the continued absence of Jonathan Delaplace. The midfielder has started 12 games for Lille since joining last summer; they have never lost with him in the starting XI.
Perhaps it’s lucky for Delaplace that his streak will have the chance to continue.
At the back, Girard has a full complement of defenders to choose from. Simon Kjaer will definitely partner Marko Basa in the centre of the back four. If Girard plays 4-3-1-3 then Sebastien Corchia will likely line up at right-back, he could also play on the right-wing. Then it is a decision between Franck Beria and Pape Souare on the left.
Lille’s defence kept 21 clean sheets last season and has six in the league this season, although they have lost their last two games. It will be hard for the home side to win this game, but they will try to make it incredibly hard for Everton to do the same.
Martinez’s side should have too much for the French club, if the Blues play well; they could have a very favourable night in northern France.
Goalkeepers: Enyeama, Elana, Butez
Defenders: Corchia, Souaré, Sidibé, Kjaer, Rozehnal, Basa, Béria
Midfielders: Mavuba, Gueye, Balmont, Martin, Aholou, Traoré, Meite
Attack: Rodelin, Roux, Origi, Frey, Mendes
Possible XI: Enyeama – Corchia, Kjaer, Basa, Souaré – Gueye, Balmont, Mavuba – Martin – Origi, Roux