Preview: Birmingham City vs. Ipswich Town – prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Birmingham City vs. Ipswich Town – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash between Lorient and Lens, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up Lens travel to the Stade du Moustoir to face fellow early-strugglers Lorient on Saturday.

After being one of the biggest overachievers anywhere in Europe last year, it appeared that Lens were crumbling under the weight of expectation, but a recent upturn in form has stabilised their league campaign of late.…Click Here To Continue Reading>>

Match preview

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Lens have turned a corner massively following a woeful start which saw them in the bottom two for much of the first two months of the season.

Franck Haise’s side did not win any of their first six games in all competitions, taking just one point from their opening five Ligue 1 games.

However, that sixth game, which came against Sevilla in their Champions League group stage opener, appears to have been a catalyst which has fired them back into form, after holding the Europa League holders to a draw.

Lens are now eight games unbeaten, a run which includes a memorable win over Premier League Arsenal in their first home Champions League game in almost two decades.

A great start on the continent which has them currently in position to qualify for the knockout stages has evidently helped Lens improve domestically too, and they have moved away from trouble in Ligue 1.

After back-to-back draws in the league, Lens returned to winning ways last weekend with arguably their most impressive performance yet this season, thrashing Nantes 4-0.

Another positive result here would be very welcome for Haise before he leads his side into a tricky run of fixtures, involving away trips to PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal in Europe, as well as a home clash with Marseille.

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For Lorient, a very promising start has been long forgotten as form has fallen off a cliff since matchday three.

Drawing with the current top two, including very impressively at Paris Saint-Germain, as well as a 4-1 hammering of Lille had Lorient near the top early on.

However, since then Regis Le Bris’s side have won just one of their following seven games – conceding a whopping 18 goals.

Despite their lowly league position though, home form has still been good for the hosts, as eight of their 10 Ligue 1 points this season have been won here at the Moustoir – losing just once.

Unfortunately for Lorient though, since losing Terem Moffi in January and then Enzo Le Fee in the summer, the side has struggled greatly.

After being up near the top thanks to the form of Moffi in particular in the first half of last season, Lorient have been one of Ligue 1’s poorest sides since his departure.

Lorient Ligue 1 form:

Lens Ligue 1 form:

Lens form (all competitions):

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Team News

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Lorient are suffering a crisis in the injury department at present, with as many as seven first-team players currently out.

Getting Bamba Dieng back from a groin injury will be high on their list of priorities, but the Senegalese attacker is nearing three months since his last appearance.

Also in attack, youngsters Dembo Sylla and Sirine Doucoure are set to miss out, so 17-year-old Eli Junior Kroupi could start for a seventh successive game.

At the back, Benjamin Mendy is out with a thigh injury, joining Loris Mouyokolo on the sidelines, but they should not be too far from a return along with Bonke Innocent and Quentin Boisgard.

Lens have a number of concerns of their own, as thigh injuries are set to keep Wesley Said, Ayanda Sishuba and David Costa all out.

Jimmy Cabot is closing in on a return from a serious knee injury after missing all of 2023, but it is still too soon to consider him for first-team action.

On the pitch, Przemyslaw Frankowski has rediscovered the form which made him one of the league’s standout players last term.

After staying with the club when other star performers such as Seko Fofana and Lois Openda left, Frankowski’s crossing abilities is this time bringing the best out of Elye Wahi, as the Polish wing-back has registered three assists in his last four games, two of which were for the 20-year-old attacker.Lorient possible starting lineup:Mvogo; Mendy, Talbi, Toure; T Le Bris, Abergel, Bakayoko, Yongwa; Faivre, Kroupi, Tosin

Lens possible starting lineup:Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Abdul Samed, Diouf, Machado; Sotoca, Wahi, Thomasson

We say: Lorient 1-1 Lens

Despite an impressive recent unbeaten run, Lens have drawn their fair share of matches this season – five in 13 – and could be set for another in what could be a rather low-key affair.

Lorient are strong at home and are often tough to beat – a 3-0 defeat here to Montpellier aside – and Le Bris’s side could frustrate Lens despite coming into the game as big underdogs.For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

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