Tactical Report: Lille OSC

By Daniel Muñoz

09-December-2020 on Analysis

13 minute read

Daniel Muñoz, tactical analyst at Real Betis for several seasons, collaborates with Nacsport to analyse some of the best soccer teams in Europe. This week he talks to us about Lille OSC and discusses the tactical supremacy of this French team who have really come into their own over the last three seasons.

 

Note: This article was translated from Spanish and pics are captioned in Spanish. We have provided a translation for captions in italics beneath each picture.

Introduction

 

Lille OSC are currently in the process of consolidating themselves as one of the top teams in France and Europe. 

 

For three consecutive seasons they have been moving amongst the elite with a 2nd place finish in Ligue 1 in the 2018/19 season guaranteeing them a place in the Champions League. The following season, a place in the 2019/20 Europa League was secured by placing fourth in the league, which was eventually suspended due to the Coronavirus crisis, just one point shy of a Champions League spot.

 

At the time of writing, they are sitting 2nd in France’s top league, right behind PSG.

 

Before this, they spent years generally floating around mid-table with no European competitions in sight. So what are the secrets to their current run of form? Could it be the tactical presence of manager Christophe Galtier? Let’s take a look...

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 1

 

Ligue 1 standings at the end of 2018/19 season

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 2

 

Ligue 1 standings at the end of 2019/20 season

 

A Few Statistics

 

At the time of writing, Lille have conceded the fewest goals in Ligue 1, 8 goals in 12 games, and have the second best goal average. With only 1 defeat in the league, this is an extremely competitive team who are difficult to beat. The squad combines experience with youth and are one of the youngest squads in Ligue 1 with an average age of 24.7 years between them.

 

Here are some of their latest results:

 

Match 3: Europa League. AC Milan 0 - 3 Lille OSC


Match 10: Stade Brestois 3 - 2 Lille OSC (only defeat in League)

 

Match 11: Lille OSC 4 - 0 Lorient

 

Match 4: Europa League. Lille OSC 1 - 1 AC Milan

 

Match 12: Saint-Etienne 1 - 1 Lille OSC

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 3

Ligue 1 standings as of the 2nd of December, 2020

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 4

 

 Europa League Group H standings as of the 2nd of December, 2020

 

Versatile and Variable Systems and Formations

 

This is a team for whom formations are merely a starting position. From a theoretical 4-4-2 in both attack and defence, they vary their systems throughout a match and depending on the situation and opponent they face.

 

Tactical Analysis - Lille Lineup 1

 

Tactical Report Lille Line Up 2

 

Match line ups and formations provided by Instat

 

Let's try to break down their methods...

 

Precise Attack and Detecting Weaknesses

 

On the offense, Lille ostensibly set out in 4-4-2 formation which can change in an instant. They work the wings beautifully with the wing backs, in particular the right back, pushing up to provide more presence in midfield and even in attack. As the wing backs push up, the wingers are freed up to move inside and support the forward line.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 5

 

Mobility and variety from 4-4-2

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 6

 

Change to a defensive line of 3 as left back pushes forward

 

From a goal kick, they position themselves to build an attack. The central defenders open and both wing backs go long. The midfield is staggered into two lines and one of the wingers comes inside to offer passing opportunities whilst the other stays wide to provide depth. The forwards drop back to receive the ball in a more central position. From here they play the short game to advance up the field, predominantly on the wings, but, at the same time, they leave themselves the opportunity to play the long ball.



Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 7

 

Exiting with the ball from a goal kick

 

When it comes to playing long from a goal kick, keeper Maignan is accurate in his passing, more often than not finding the feet of centre forward Yilmaz, who receives in space and battles towards the goal.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 8

 

Huge boot up the park from keeper Maignan

 

The concepts of width and depth are important to Lille’s game and, regardless of the game plan, they can dominate in this respect, with left back Bradaric often running the wing and the wingers, Lihadji, Araujo and Bamba cutting into the box to amplify the presence in the opponent’s area.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 9

 

Ball played deep from the wings and plenty of players waiting in the middle

 

At the same time, we should highlight the mobility of the forward line where the wingers can pop up between the lines of an opponent’s defence, either to receive the ball or to pull a rival player towards them, freeing up space for the centre forwards who work in tandem, one in a supporting role and the other trying to get into a goal scoring position.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 10

 

Getting a lot of players between the opponent's lines

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 11

 

Great shots from medium distance

 

Lille’s verticality and ability to reach the end zone are unarguable. This is a team with a huge presence in an opponent’s goal area. At the same time, players are not afraid to take a shot from distance, with as many goals coming from outside the box as in it. All of this is reflected in the data:

 

• Lille are the 3rd top scorers in Ligue 1 with 22 goals in 12 games.

 

• Burak Yilmaz is the 3rd top individual scorer in Ligue 1 with 6 goals.

 

• Bamba is number 1 in assists in Ligue 1 with 5

 

• Yazici is top scorer in the Europa League with 6 goals in 4 games.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier

 

Offensive transitions are one of their greatest virtues. After recovering the ball in midfield they run, attack space and play for 1-on-1 situations. Highlighting the wingers in particular,  Araujo, Bamba and Lihadji are lethal in these situations.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 13

 

Dangerous in transitions with fast vertical players

Organized and Strong in Defense

 

Starting from a 4-4-2 in defense, Lille are characterised by their positional marking and zonal work, where they can swing and chase from any zone.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 14

 

Shoring up in 4-4-2, tight and ordered

 

They stand out as a tight and orderly team which tries to close down the central lanes of attack, causing their opponent to carry the ball out wide.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 15

 

To do this they close up shop and apply high pressure on their opponent. The forwards are the first line of defense with one taking on the opposition centre back and the other marking the sweeper, forcing the other team to push the ball out to the wings where Lille’s wingers apply more pressure.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 16

 

Closing down to pile on pressure, forcing ball wide

 

Pressure applied may depend on the opponent. They can either start from ¾ position or apply intense high pressure during which they leave the opposition winger furthest from the ball free whilst marking the pivot with a winger or central midfielder.

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 17

 

Pressure orientated to the wings

 

Tactical Analysis Lille Christophe Galtier 18

 

Equal pressure

 

This is a team that knows how to control the rhythm of a game, knowing when to apply high pressure and when to sit back and spread their passes. They know when it’s time to get to work or allow the opponent some possession.

 

Key Points

 

• Variety and versatility, they show great knowledge of the opponent and their weaknesses and try to squeeze them out of the game. In turn this offers a wide range of possibilities in attack.

 

• The verticality and speed of their attacks. They demand a high level of concentration from an opponent otherwise they can be lethal.

 

• Dominance of the rhythm of the game, alternating pressure with withdrawal in defence.

 

• The high work rate of players in both attack and defence

 

• The differing profiles of the entire team which includes seniority, youth, speed, experience, ambition, talent and work rate. This makes the team extremely complete and competitive.

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