Jonathan David, Lille
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New-look Lille purring ahead of Nantes test

New-look Lille purring ahead of Nantes test

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Publish on 08/09 at 12:46 - S. TELFORD

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Christophe Galtier and Renato Sanches may have departed, but Jonathan David had two goals and an assist in Paulo Fonseca's first game as coach...

FC Nantes - LOSC

 

- kick-off: 19:00 GMT

 

>> LIVE SCORING, STATS AND COMMENTARY

 

Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions in 2021, it is a new-look Lille who head to last season's Coupe de France winners FC Nantes in Friday night's Round 2 opener.

 

Fonseca has replaced the Paris Saint-Germain-bound Galtier as coach, while Sanches has since followed his former mentor to the Parc des Princes, joining Sven Botman, Burak Yilmaz and Zeki Celik among those leaving the club.

 

New faces

 

Fonseca handed debuts to Mohamed Bayo, Rémy Cabella, Alexsandro and Akim Zedadka against AJ Auxerre last Sunday, lined Lille up in a hitherto unfamiliar 4-2-3-1, and duly won 4-1, with David enjoying three goal-involvements and Celik's replacement Zedadka opening his account from right-back.

 

Watch: Highlights of Lille's 4-1 win over Auxerre

 

 

It was a good day at the office for Fonseca, who had been out of work since leaving Roma in May 2021.

 

"I'm very happy with the victory but especially with the way we won," said the Portuguese tactician. "We had a great first half. We didn't let Auxerre create a single chance. I'm very happy and proud of my players. I couldn't have imagined a better start with that lovely first goal. [But now] we must forget this match and prepare for the next one."

 

Midfielder Jonas Martin is Fonseca's only absentee with a groin strain, although with him injured and Sanches gone, Angel Gomes has been repurposed as a central midfielder and the early signs were promising.

 

Canaris caged for now

 

Nantes haven't quick hit the blocks running in quite the same way so far this season. Beaten 4-0 by a Lionel Messi-inspired PSG in the Trophée des Champions, they were then held to a goalless draw away to Angers SCO on Sunday.

 

Evann Guessand and Ludovic Blas couldn't really get going in the final third and were subbed off with the best part of 20 minutes still to play. Alban Lafont made seven saves at the other end, though, and was singled out for special praise by Fonseca's opposite number, Antoine Kombouaré.

 

Watch: Highlights of Nantes' goalless draw at Angers

 

 

"We must congratulate the two goalkeepers, [Paul] Bernardoni and Lafont, who made impressive saves, they set the bar very high," he said at his post-match press conference. "We're happy not to concede a goal, it's good at the start of the season when we're heading into the unknown. When you rely on solid foundations, you can grow."

 

Castelletto back

 

Nantes' defence will be further bolstered by the return of Jean-Charles Castelletto. The Cameroon centre-back was sent off against PSG so was suspended for the Angers game.

 

There will be no Charles Traoré, though. The Mali left-back ruptured his cruciate ligament in March and isn't expected back until mid-September at the earliest. Quentin Merlin will line up wide left in Nantes' 3-4-3 formation.

 

Possible teams

 

Nantes: Lafont; Castelletto, Girotto, Pallois; Coco, Sissoko, Chirivella, Merlin; Blas; Guessand, Simon

 

Lille: Jardim; Zedadka, Fonte, Alexsandro, Djalo; André, Gomes; David, Cabella, Bamba; Bayo