PLAYER RATINGS | Strasbourg 0 – 1 Lens: Elye Wahi opens his account before Arsenal’s Champions League clash

Before hosting Arsenal on Tuesday in the Champions League’s Group B, RC Lens won Ligue 1’s clash of Racing Clubs this Friday against RC Strasbourg Alsace, whose Stade de la Meinau was sold out for the 30th time in a row. Patrick Vieira’s Strasbourg looked up for it from the get-go, finding cracks in a passive Lens side. The first goalscoring opportunity fell to the hosts with Lens goalie Brice Samba deflecting Dilane Bakwa’s powerful shot.

Against the run of play, the visitors opened the scoring through Elye Wahi’s first club goal since his €35m switch from Montpellier. The France U21 international showed sheer class in dribbling past Gerzino Nyamsi before lashing a deft left-footed finish that Matz Sels could not handle. The Belgian goalie redeemed himself with a fine double save minutes after Wahi’s opener. Strasbourg kept enjoying most of the ball, but the Alsatians did not seem like they knew what to do with it. This explains why the players with the most touches were Lens centre-backs in a quite poor first half.

Second Ligue 1 win in a row for Lens

So far this season, Strasbourg scored all their seven goals this Ligue 1 season in the second half, so the onus was on Vieira’s Alsatians to keep that momentum going to salvage a result against Lens. But the hosts badly struggled to thwart a deep-lying Artois side, whose lenient press had nothing to do with last season’s thrilling HaiseBall. Still, Lens were given enough time and space to pass the ball around in their own half by a Strasbourg team lacking overall quality. France international keeper Samba was virtually untested before coming up big to deflect an injury-time header from Lucas Perrin.

Franck Haise’s players eventually held on to a win by the tightest of margins, the second in a row. Given their disastrous start of the season, Lens remain in mid-table with focus now shifting to Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal on Tuesday at home. Meanwhile, an ever-inconsistent Strasbourg missed the opportunity to go level with surprise Ligue 1 leaders Brest.

Strasbourg players ratings

Matz Sels, 6

Marvin Senaya, 5

Gerzino Nyamsi, 4

Lucas Perrin, 4

Thomas Delaine, 4

Habib Diarra, 5

Ismaël Doukouré, 5

Jessy Deminguet, 4

Ângelo Gabriel, 6 – The Chelsea loanee was by a mile his side’s most dynamic player, accelerating play as soon as the ball hits his feet and showing maturity rarely seen for an 18-year-old in his debut season. Definitely a player to watch.

Emanuel Emegha, 4

Dilane Bakwa, 4

Lens players ratings

Brice Samba, 6

Ruben Aguilar, 5

Jonathan Gradit, 5

Kevin Danso, 6

Facundo Medina, 5

Deiver Machado, 4

Nampalys Mendy, 6 – The former Leicester City man has dominated the midfield. The Senegalese international won most of his duels and regained possession many times to steer his side clear of danger.

Andy Diouf, 4 – The Stade Rennais youth product had some big boots to fill when he was signed as a replacement for Seko Fofana. The former Basel midfielder’s impact was minimal and he lost more balls than he had recovered.

Florian Sotoca, 5

Angelo Fulgini, 4

Elye Wahi, 7 – First shot, first goal. The France U21 international opened his account with a brilliant finish, one of the game’s rare moments of sheer quality. He still has room for improvement in his positioning (three offsides). Replaced at the hour mark and rested for Tuesday’s showdown against the Gunners.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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