LOSC Lille's Jonathan David

In-form Jonathan David leads Lille in Rennes test

In-form Jonathan David leads Lille in Rennes test

Publish on 03/10 at 14:30 - E. DEVIN


LOSC Lille and Stade Rennais take to the pitch this evening in a match with big implications in the race for Europe

Ligue 1 has no shortage of matches with big implications this weekend, and perhaps no match more embodies this than Stade Rennais’ trip to face LOSC Lille this evening. After a strong run in the league since the appointment of Julien Stéphan, bolstered by the January signings of Azor Matusiwa and Alidu Seidu, the Breton side’s run came to a shuddering halt away to derby rivals Lorient last weekend.

On the back of an unceremonious elimination from the Europa League, it was a frustrating result, but now Stéphan will have to gear his side back up to face one of the league’s strongest sides at home. Beaten just once at the Stade-Pierre Mauroy this season, Lille’s strong position in the race for the Champions League places owes much to their home form. Now, with Brest having lost to Lens, they have an opportunity to go as high as third place and put further pressure on Les Pirats ahead of this evening’s match.

Les Dogues are particularly strong defensively at home, having conceded just four times this season, but it might be their attack that makes the difference, with Jonathan David finding form in a big way of late. On a dozen league goals for the season, he is second only to Kylian Mbappé in the league, and also struck a brace in Thursday’s Europa Conference League win, giving him six goals in his last four matches, including the only goal in a tense win over Stade de Reims last weekend.

But David isn’t just a proverbial fox in the box. The tactical demands that Paulo Fonseca puts on his players are considerable, something further complicated by the team’s European run. Despite being dropped on occasion earlier in the season, there’s no doubt that the Canadian international now has his manager’s full confidence.

Speaking of what his striker brings to the table, Fonseca recently told l’Équipe, “The numbers don’t lie. I am very demanding of him. But Jonathan isn't just a finisher in the box. He is intelligent, anticipates shots and sees play well. Let's not forget that he is still young (24 years old). He will gain more experience with age.”

If David can keep up his strong form, a place in next year’s Champions League could be in the offing, and a win over Rennes — the two sides are separated by just six points — would go a long way towards realising that goal.

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