Lille OSC – Match Report vs Stade de Reims 30/08/2020

Both teams went into this fixture off the back of draws in the opening game week, looking to get their first win and kick start their respective seasons. It was a tight game in which neither team was able to create many clear openings, and in the end it was decided by a Bamba strike that caught the keeper out at the near post.

Reims were unable to commit enough numbers to their attacks but looked most dangerous when getting down the outside of the Lille centre backs. They were perhaps missing the added attacking influence of Boulaye Dia to support youngster Touré, and as a result failed to muster a single shot on target. Meanwhile, Lille seemed to carry a bit more of an attacking threat, yet still struggled to break down the opposition and they could maybe count themselves lucky to run away with three points given their failure to create in the final third.

Lille set up in a 4-4-2 system that looked to exploit the pace and directness of Ikoné and Bamba in wide areas, whilst David would drop into a deeper role from striker to help in build up and veteran striker Yilmaz would provide a focal point for the attack. However, they often made it too easy for Reims by playing in front of them and failing to make runs in behind the opposition defence in an effort to stretch them and get them running back towards their own goal. Although their build up play in deeper areas seemed to flow quite nicely, they seemed bereft of ideas when they reached the final third and they will be hoping that their front four can start to gel and garner a better understanding of one another as the season progresses.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Zeki Çelik

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Turkish
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 17/02/1997
  • Current Club: Lille
  • Career: Bursaspor, Karaceyspor (L), Istanbulspor, Lille
  • Position: Right Back
  • Secondary Position: Right Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Zeki Çelik was heavily involved in this match from right back and had a solid game before being withdrawn due to injury 5 minutes prior to the full time whistle. The 5’11 defender has a fairly strong build and decent sized frame that allows him to physically compete in both defence and attack. He is aggressive and liked to attack the ball when it was in the air, showing a good leap and intent to win aerial duels, and this lead to the goal as his header from half way landed at the feet of Yilmaz who in turn set up Bamba to cut inside and finish.

This aggression translated to his ground duels, where he won three tackles, using his body well to get in front of the opponent and win back the ball for his team. He also liked to press high up the field and not allow his man any time to turn, though sometimes if his man did manage to turn, his aggression got the better of him and he committed three fouls, one of which was particularly late and lead to him being given a yellow card in the first half. He watched the ball carefully when required and showed good anticipation to cut out passes and make interventions to prevent Reims breaking.

On the ball, Çelik had a mixed display, playing some unnecessarily loose passes and also playing a couple behind his teammates, therefore putting them on the back foot. He showed that he was capable of linking up effectively in wide areas and displayed good skill on the ball, rarely letting possession get away from him and recycling it well for the most part if required.

His final ball also varied, playing some crosses into good areas whilst others were underhit despite getting into promising positions and he went to pick out areas rather than actual teammates, when on occasion a firm pass to a teammate may have been a better option. Furthermore, although it’s not his primary job as a defender, he missed an excellent chance on the volley at the back post that he really should have found the back of the net with, but instead saw it skew wide of the post.

Çelik displayed good strength and aggression when defending, whilst he also highlighted his ability to involve himself in intricate passing moves in tight spaces. There were some areas of his game that could be improved upon from this match, but overall it was a solid performance from the Turkish international.

Rating: A2

Sven Botman

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 12/01/2000
  • Current Club: Lille
  • Career: Ajax, SC Heerenveen (L), Lille
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Botman had a good game at the heart of the Lille defence and played as the left centre back. The youngster looked composed when passing out from the back and finished the game having completed 70 of his 80 attempted passes. He played some clever progressive passes into midfield or out wide but looked less comfortable when forced into long balls, with his clipped passes being too flat and easily cut out on occasion, whilst he attempted to put the ball in the box from a deep angle but it provided no threat to the oppsoiton goal. He was comfortable with the ball at his feet and had the most touches of any player on his team, though he rarely stepped far out of the defensive line with the ball and elected to pass rather than carry the ball forward from defence.

Defensively the young Dutch centre back was solid as well and only made one or two slight errors throughout the match. The 6’4 defender is a big aerial presence and is strong in stature which allows him to dominate physically both in the air and in ground duels. He won all 7 of his aerial duels in this match and had a 100% success rate with his tackling as well. He also made some important clearances when covering for teammates to snuff out any potentially dangerous situations that Reims were creating, whilst he showed good awareness to make three interceptions.

There were a couple of unconvincing moments from the 20 year old, once where he got round to make the tackle, but failed to clear the ball properly during the slide challenge and so possession was retained by the opposition in the final third. Whilst in the closing stages of the match, he allowed the striker to pull off the back of him into space at the back post and he was fortunate that the forward was unable to direct his header on goal. He seemed to have a decent yet unspectacular turn of pace when running back towards his own goal but was clever when defending and on the whole made sure he was able to play to his strengths.

Botman displayed his capability to be physically dominant in defence whilst also being confident when playing out from the back. Apart from a couple of momentary lapses in concentration, the 20 year old had a fine game and kept a fairly tame Reims attack quiet as they failed to have a shot on target. Botman is a new arrival at Lille and based on this performance he is capable of being an important player for his new team this season, and I will be sure to keep an eye on how he fairs as the campaign progresses.

Rating: A2

Domagoj Bradarić

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Croatian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 10/12/1999
  • Current Club: Lille
  • Career: Hajduk Split, Lille
  • Position: Left Back
  • Secondary Position: Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Bradarić had a relatively solid game from left back, but failed to have much of an impact on proceedings whilst also illustrating some short fallings in his game, at least in this match. He displayed good levels of close control and looked to get forward when possible, making some lung-bursting overlapping runs in an effort to create overloads or create space for the winger to drive into, by distracting the defender. He didn’t drive with the ball often, not completing a single dribble in this match, whilst his passing ability showed signs of being effective, showing no fear when cutting insde off the left before playing a pass infield if necessary and generally he linked up well with his teammates in wide areas.

Although, the full back didn’t seem to be the most reliable in possession, misplacing a quarter of his passes, and on a couple of occasions giving the ball away cheaply in bad areas of the pitch that could have potentially exposed his team to the counter attack. Whilst in the opposition half, he delivered a poor set piece from a deep area. Furthermore, he was not particularly confident when put under pressure in his own half, miscuing a few attempted clearances that lead to the ball going very high up before dropping back into a dangerous areas, rather than clearing away from his goal.

The left back was not put under much pressure defensively, as Reims failed to really threaten, but he showed a decent burst of acceleration to deal with the pace of the winger when required. He is 5’10 and has an average build which allows him to compete physically and win the ball back on a couple of occasions for his team. His clearances were unconvincing and at times he was slow to react, failing to block a shot that he could have done if he had shown better anticipation. On the whole, he never looked that threatened when defending and so it was a solid display.

The 20 year old had quality but was inconsistent when going forward whilst also proving to be quiet solid defensively, a decent display from which to build on for the rest of the season.

Rating: B1

Jonathan Ikoné

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 02/05/1998
  • Current Club: Lille
  • Career: PSG, Montpellier (L), Lille
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Right Wing / Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Left

Ikoné had a quiet game and struggled to have much of an impact going forwards, although he showed some glimpses of his quality and looked lively when he got a chance to have the ball at his feet. He showed that he has pace to burn and is very agile so can change direction and accelerate quickly, however, he didn’t make enough use of this, too often coming short to receive the ball rather than stretching the opposition and in the end he only made one or two runs in behind.

His passing was average but not particularly impressive, giving the ball away cheaply on occasion, whilst his first touch also let him down at stages, either taking him backwards or allowing the defender a chance to intervene. Once or twice he displayed good levels of skill to beat a man or open up space out wide, but he rarely looked threatening and the one opportunity that he did have was wasted due to him delaying too long before pulling the trigger.

Defensively, he did his job adequately, making two tackles, but on the whole he had very little to do and although he sometimes looked as though he was going to make things happen with the ball, nothing really materialised for the 22 year old. A disappointing performance from the young Frenchman who was substituted for the final 10 minutes and will be hoping for better as the season continues.

Rating: C

Jonathan David

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Canadian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 14/01/2000
  • Current Club: Lille
  • Career: Gent, Lille
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Both

New signing Jonathan David played as a striker alongside veteran Yilmaz, and similarly to Ikoné, he rarely touched the ball, and when he did he failed to create anything that looked like it might threaten the opposition goal before being withdrawn midway through the second half. He looked most comfortable when dropping deep to join in with the build up play and at times linked up neatly around the half way line. However, this build up play rarely amounted to anything and further up the pitch he was dominated by the Reims defence, who gave him little room to manoeuvre. He struggled to find teammates in the final third, misplacing several passes and this seemed to harm his confidence as he became less involved prior to his substitution.

The 20 year old’s close control was to a decent standard and he dipslayed a good turn of pace to get away from tackles, but he didn’t make the most of it as he also only looked for the ball in front of the Reims defence and rarely looked like creating an opening. The one effort that David did have came from his control, as following a smart turn on the fringes of the final third, he fired a shot towards goal but it sailed well wide and didn’t trouble the keeper. At 5’9 and with an average build, the Canadian does not provide much of a physical prsence, and despite showing a willingess to fight for the ball, he struggled up against the strong Reims defence.

It was a match to forget for David as he adapts to his new surroundings, and having shown his quality in the Belgian league last season, he will be hoping to recapture that form soon in order to help the team to fill the void left by the departure of star striker Victor Osimhen. I’m aware that he has shown that he can be an impressive player, but in this match he had little to no impact. I will be keeping an eye on his progress as the season gets into full swing.

Rating: D

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