RC Lens – Paris Saint-Germain: The Gap At The Top Widens (0-2)

The return of Ligue 1 after its winter break saw a mouthwatering clash between last season’s best two teams, as Paris Saint-Germain visited RC Lens. A cauldron-like atmosphere, as was expected from the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, was not enough to help Lens over the line. 

Tactical analysis and match report by Nick Hartland.

Lens started slowly this season as their annual balancing act within the summer transfer window stalled. Seko Fofana and Loïs Openda were gone, and their replacements were not easy to bed in. However, the team have recovered some of that consistency (at least at home where they’ve lost only once in the league) which saw them chasing Paris Saint-Germain until the final day of the season. 

Paris Saint-Germain similarly struggled in the early parts of the league as they adjusted to life under summer managerial appointment Luis Enrique. Results in Europe have remained inconsistent, but in the league, France’s great beast has found its form. Whether there will be a title race this year remains to be seen, but with Les Parisiens able to open up an eight-point gap between them and OGC Nice in second with a victory over Lens, the hope for an exciting end is becoming more distant. 

Franck Haise went with his usual 3-4-2-1 shape as he rejigged a midfield left thin from the Africa Cup of Nations. The goalkeeper Brice Samba with the back three of Facundo Medina, Kevin Danso, and Jonathan Gradit. In the wing-back roles, Przemysław Frankowski and Faitout Maouassa, while the inexperienced midfield duo of Neil El-Aynaoui and  Andy Diouf filled in for Nampalys Mendy . . .

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