Metz’s Struggle in French Football’s Top Tiers

Metz’s performance in French football’s top two tiers has been inconsistent, and this trend looks set to continue unless they can quickly reverse their current form. In their last three league outings, they have suffered defeats, leaving them sitting five points from safety in Ligue 1. Time is running out for them to climb above the dreaded dotted line.

A Frustrating Recent Loss

Their most recent loss was a 4-3 defeat against high-flying Brest, which left manager László Bölöni “angry” at his players for throwing away a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, a return to Stade Saint-Symphorien does not provide much hope for an upturn in form. Metz has been beaten in six of their last seven league games on home soil, with their only victory during that time coming against rock-bottom Clermont.

Lens’ Opportunity for a Turnaround

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On the other hand, opponents Lens will see this as an opportunity to get back on track. They are currently on a three-match winless run, which has resulted in them falling away from the UEFA Champions League qualification places. The most damaging of those results was a 2-1 defeat to Lille, who currently occupy fourth place and sit six points clear of Lens. Manager Franck Haise has conceded that his side is now unlikely to trouble the top four. However, there is still a UEFA Europa League place up for grabs, so Lens will be desperate to return to form on the road.

Key Battle: Georges Mikautadze vs. Jonathan Gradit

A key battle to watch out for in this match is between Metz’s Georges Mikautadze and Lens defender Jonathan Gradit. Mikautadze has been in good form since returning to Metz in January, netting five goals in 11 games, with four of those goals being the first or last of the game. Gradit, on the other hand, has struggled in previous encounters with Mikautadze, winning just one of their seven head-to-head matches, with only one fixture resulting in a clean sheet for his side.

A Low for Ligue 1

A notable statistic for Lens is that only four of their 14 away league games this season have seen both teams score. This is the lowest number in Ligue 1, highlighting their defensive strength on the road.

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