After Brave Lyon vanquished the invaders from Fulham last weekend, Bruno Genesio and his faithful knights continue on their pre-season quest to battle other foreign armies. They do this in order to ready themselves for their ultimate foe, the Champions League. Should they slay this dragon, they will be rewarded with what King Aulas desires above all else, the monstrous trophy with the big ears.
(I have it on good authority that this trophy is basically a cup filled with the tears of Arsenal fans).
July 25th, 2018
Kirklees Stadium, Huddersfield
2:45 PM EST (20:45, CET, 19:45 GMT)
This will be Huddersfield’s second year in the top flight. They were promoted from the English Championship (Tier 2) at the end of 2017, and through sheer grit, ended their first season in 16th place, one spot above relegation zone. They’ll be looking to continue that performance this season.
They’ve already made some splashy transfers. Like our friends at Fulham, they’ve been shopping in the French aisle at their grocery store. They’ve brought in striker Adama Diakhaby from Monaco to link up with ex-Monaco teammate Terence Kongolo, who arrived during the January transfer window. Kongolo is their record signing at €20m while Diakhaby was another €10m. They’ve made several other signings this summer, spending over €46m.
I don’t want to sound like I’ve been eating sour grapes, but Lyon have spent only 5 dollars so far (ok, €8.5m, but it’s basically the same thing).
Their best player last season was defender Christopher Schindler. They also have a pair of tidy midfieldiers in Alex Pritchard and Aaron Mooy. Their top goalscorer last season was Steve Mounié, who joined HTAFC last year from Montpellier. However, he found the back of the net only seven times in the entire 2017/2018 season. Their second highest goalscorer, Laurent Depoitre, scored only six. They had only nine wins last season (but one of those was against Manchester United). Fun fact: they have a player named Juninho.
It goes without saying that this is a team who struggles to score. However, their recent purchase of Diakhaby should help in this arena. And they need all the help they can get – the fact that they were able to remain in the top flight was a miracle in itself. They’ll need another amazing season in order to stay. But if they can, that means more of that TV income, which in turn gives them more money to strengthen their squad for the following season. Here’s a great article on Huddersfield and how they are realizing their dream.
This match will also feature a commemoration to Ray Wilson, ex-Huddlesfield player and English World Cup champion, who passed away recently. Also to note, Huddersfield have played in 6 friendlies so far this summer (1W-2D-3L), against clubs like Werder Bremen and Real Betis.
Nabil Fekir and Anthony Lopes are still on vacation, so we will see the same group of players as we saw against Fulham. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was again not called up. Marçal, who was “injured” last weekend, is still off the team sheet. I’m starting to suspect he’s made his way onto someone else’s team sheet…
Le groupe lyonnais: Gorgelin, Racioppi – Rafael, Dubois, Morel, Marcelo, Solet, Tete, Mendy, Martins-Pereira – Aouar, Caqueret, Ndombele, Tousart, Ferri, Diop – Memphis, Traoré, Corner, Mariano, Terrier
Génésio will also continue trying to find a CB pairing that works since what we have now is not reassuring at all. Marcelo may or may not be leaving, as well as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Whoever decided it was ok to let three CBs go in a single transfer window must be suffering a head injury (Mouctar Diakhaby, Lyon’s other CB, left a few weeks ago for Valencia). That leaves Jeremy Morel paired with Oumar Solet or Christopher Martins Pereira at the moment.
No. Please no.
Génésio will continue to give time to Léo Dubois and Martin Terrier, who scored two goals last Saturday. He’ll also want to give time to Maxence Caqueret, a member of the B team who had an immense first half against Fulham. Most importantly, he’s going to continue to give experience to Mathieu Gorgelin, who will be starting the first two games of Ligue 1 thanks to Lopes’s suspension.
After this game, Lyon will be facing Bundesliga team VFL Wolsburg, followed by participation in the International Champions Cup, in which they’ll face Benfica, Inter Milan, and Chelsea. While these are technically friendlies, there’s close to €20m of prize money on the line, so the more games OL win, the better.
By the time the ICC comes around, Génésio should have a good idea of what his ideal starting 11 should be, as those are the caliber of teams Lyon can expect to face in the Champions League.
Canal+ will be showing this in France. I haven’t found information for British broadcasters yet.
Streams, if I find any, will be posted here as well.
It will be hard for Huddersfield to stop Lyon’s sheer firepower. I do expect at least 3 goals scored. But our defense is in disarray, and last weekend’s clean sheet was more of a fluke. I won’t be surprised if HTAFC sneak one in. I’m going to guess 3-1.