As Unai Emery chases another European crown, we look ahead to this Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg with our Aston Villa vs Lille prediction and preview.

Aston Villa vs Lille Stats: The Quick Hits

  • The Opta supercomputer gives Aston Villa – the favourites to win the Europa Conference League – a 51.8% chance of winning the first leg of this quarter-final tie against Lille.
  • This will be Aston Villa’s fifth major European quarter-final and their first since the 1997-98 UEFA Cup. Lille have never before reached the quarter-finals of a major European competition.
  • Lille are winless in their previous seven major European games in England (D1 L6), scoring just one goal in those matches.

Match Preview

Domestically, Aston Villa are locked in a battle with Spurs to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League, but they are also chasing a trophy with their Europa Conference League campaign still going strong.

The Opta supercomputer makes Villa the favourites to win the competition, with Unai Emery’s side going all the way in 25.9% of its simulations. Emery, of course, has plenty of European pedigree, having won the Europa League four times with Sevilla and Villarreal, as well as finishing runners-up with Arsenal.

He also took Villarreal to the semi-finals of the Champions League, and will be keen to test his impressive Villa side against the continent’s best sides next term.

UEFA Europa Conference League predictions

Progression all the way to the final of the Conference League would mean another five matches on top of their six remaining Premier League games, so their squad may be tested if they do make it that far.

However, success in Europe would add to the likelihood of the Premier League being awarded a fifth spot in the Champions League.

Were that to happen, Villa would be as good as guaranteed to qualify. The supercomputer gives them a 95% chance of finishing in the top five.

There is therefore no reason at all not to go full steam ahead in the Conference League. They have been given a tough draw, though, facing Lille in their quarter-final, starting with the first leg on Thursday.

Lille are the third favourites to win the UECL, and will provide Villa with a stern test in the last eight. They may have lost six and won none of their seven previous games in England in major European competition, scoring just one goal, but Paulo Fonseca’s side certainly should not be underestimated. They are fourth in Ligue 1, and have lost only four of their last 32 games in all competitions.

They have averaged the most possession (65%), the most successful passes in the opposition half (274), and the most successful passes ending in the final third (140) per game of any team in the Europa Conference League this season.

Meanwhile, with 18 expected goals, they have the highest xG total in the competition. They have, however, scored only 14 goals, giving them the biggest negative differential between goals and expected goals of all teams in the Conference League. Villa, on the other hand, have scored 16 goals from just 9.9 xG.

Lille come into the game unbeaten in European games this season (W5 D3), having conceded no more than one goal in any of their eight games so far. Villa lost their first group stage game but are unbeaten in their last seven.

Aston Villa vs Lille Head-to-Head

These two sides have only met twice before – across a two-legged Intertoto Cup tie in 2002. After a 1-1 first-leg draw in France, Lille won 2-0 at Villa Park to progress 3-1 on aggregate.

Recent Form

Aston Villa have endured a patchy run of form of late. Following a fantastic run that saw them storm into the Premier League title race before the turn of the year, Villa have now won only six of their last 16 games in all competitions.

They have been remarkably inconsistent in recent months, and incredibly unpredictable as a result. In the space of their last six games, Villa have lost 4-0 to Tottenham, beaten Ajax by the same scoreline, struggled to a draw with West Ham and comfortably beaten Wolves.

Last weekend, they threw away a 2-0 lead at home to Brentford and very nearly lost the match 3-2. Only a late Ollie Watkins goal could rescue a point.

Aston Villa 3-3 Brentford xg race

Lille are on a better run of form, having lost none of their last seven games in all competitions, with their league form good enough to put them firmly in the driving seat to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Having suffered only six defeats all season, they are clearly difficult to beat.

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Thursday night, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Aston Villa vs Lille Prediction

The Opta supercomputer fancies Aston Villa’s chances in the Europa Conference League. They are the favourites to lift the trophy and are therefore favourites to progress from this tie.

Villa are given a 51.7% chance of winning the first leg, and a 58.2% chance of winning the tie to make it into the semi-finals.

Lille should not be written off, though. They are third favourites to win the Europa Conference League, and have a 41.8% chance of getting past Villa in this tie.

However, with just a 23.3% chance of a win at Villa Park in this first leg, it may be that they approach the game aiming to avoid defeat. They have a 25.0% chance of getting a draw.

Aston villa vs lille prediction

Aston Villa vs Lille UECL Squads

Aston Villa: Emiliano Martínez, Joe Gauci, Robin Olsen, Filip Marschall, James Wright, Matty Cash, Diego Carlos, Ezri Konsa, Lucas Digne, Pau Torres, Álex Moreno, Clément Lenglet, Ben Chrisene, Sil Swinkels, Jayden Barber, Josh Feeney, Aaron O’Reilly, Frankie Ealing, Finley Munroe, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Youri Tielemans, Jacob Ramsey, Tim Iroegbunam, Boubacar Kamara, Edward Rowe, Taylor-Jay Hart, Ajani Burchall, Tommi O’Reilly, Travis Patterson, Kyrie Pierre, Kadan Young, Ollie Watkins, Moussa Diaby, Nicolo Zaniolò, Jhon Durán, Morgan Rogers, Leon Bailey

Head Coach: Unai Emery

Lille: Adam Jakubech, Ousmane Touré, Yusuf Yazici, Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Cavaleiro, Vito Mannone, Lucas Chevalier, Andrej Ilic, Ichem Ferrah, Trévis Dago, Tiago Morais, Bafodé Diakité, Adam Ounas, Nabil Bentaleb, Adame Faiz, Rémy Cabella, Leny Yoro, Benjamin André, Edon Zhegrova, Mohamed Ezzarhouni, Jonathan David, Ayyoub Bouaddi, Ismaily, Aaron Malouda, Ignacio Miramón, Rafael Fernandes, Gabriel Gudmundsson, Tiago Santos, Hákon Haraldsson, Lisandru Olmeta, Tom Negrel, Lilian Baret, Alexsandro Ribeiro, Angel Gomes.

Head Coach: Paulo Fonseca

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