Yeah, yeah, it’s just a friendly. It doesn’t mean anything, blah blah blah. But watch the highlight video posted below and then tell me you aren’t freaking out a little bit? Take a long look at the guy who’s going to be standing between the sticks for Lyon’s first two league games and possibly the International Champions Cup matches as well.
Goals: Kongolo 68′, Depoitre 80′, 89, (Huddersfield), Cornet 50′ (Lyon)
Since this was a friendly, Bruno Genesio put forth different lineups in each half. Missing from action was Nabil Fekir (vacay), Anthony Lopes (vacay), and Marcal (“injury”).
Tete – Marcelo – CMP – Rafael
Memphis – Caqueret – Diop – Ndombele
Traoré – Cornet
Second half (after all substitutions):
Dubois – Morel – Solet – Mendy
Terrier – Ferri – Tousart – Aouar
Mariano – Terrier
Or something like that. The second half substitions were made piecemeal and the team was a mess, so no one was playing in position anyway.
I’m going to start with the positives. Maxence Caqueret was immense. He owned that midfield like a boss, broke up plays, tidied up after his teammates, and sent some quality passes around. Watching him, it was hard to remember that he’s only 18, has yet to make an appearance for the senior team, and hasn’t even been offered a professional contract. But based on his pre-season output, I’m sure Aulas will rectify it soon, and then we can all buy Caqueret jerseys and brag about it when he becomes the next big player in 4 years.
Bertrand Traore also had a fantastic match. Almost all the action in the first half went through him, and not only did he have a few good scoring opportunities, but he created some as well. My only regret is that his right foot is significantly weaker than his left. Otherwise he’d be the next Eden Hazard or something.
It hurts me to say it, but Maxwel Cornet also had a good game. Two games in a row, in fact. It’s like he’s trying to change Aulas’s mind about selling him. He was the author of Lyon’s only goal tonight, and it was beautifully set up and taken.
Ok, now the bad. I want to call out pretty much everyone in the second half. I seriously have nothing good to say. And everyone played so terribly, that I’m having a hard time calling them out on their mediocrity. But special mention does need to go to Mathieu Gorgelin, who let in 3 soft goals. And when he wasn’t conceding, he was continuously out of position. It’s quite possible that he thought this was just an elaborate practice and not a real game. I’m a little concerned because while goalkeepers make mistakes (I’m looking at you, Hugo Lloris), he made three of them in a row. By the third goal, you can tell he’d given up. It’s only pre-season, so it seems a little early to be that defeatist. I don’t know what it says that I was jealous over Huddersfield’s backup keeper (their main goalkeeper is still on vacation).
The strange thing is the second half lineup is what I would consider the stronger side and what I can conceivably see being played in competitive games (assuming Fekir and Marcelo are sold). Yet it was the “B” team that had their shit together.
This was definitely a game of two halves. The first half, Lyon dominated Huddersfield, had the majority of possession, had great passing, great tackles, etc. They did have poor finishing and missed several sitters, but it’s pre-season, and with the exception of Marcelo, Ndombele, and Depay, I didn’t really have any expectations.
However, I was expecting a higher tempo in the second half, similar to the Fulham game. The heavy hitters were coming on, and the team by now should have an accurate read of the Huddersfield players.
What I got instead was shambles. Lyon started losing possession, failed at tackles, couldn’t pass, and rarely threatened, Cornet’s goal being an exception. Players like Aouar and Terrier, who shone in the last two games, were invisible. And the midfield was a mess.
I don’t want to take away from Huddersfield – I think their tactics were spot on, and they knew to take advantage anytime Lyon had their guard down (basically the entire last 30 minutes). For most of the match, Lyon were the faster, stronger, and altogether more technical side. And if the score was 1-5, that would have been seen as totally fair. But Lyon didn’t take their chances, and Huddersfield did.
Even their manager was confused, commenting how Lyon should easily been able to score more goals, and that there were times Huddersfield was pressing them even though it made no sense why.
But this is a friendly, as I’m sure you’re eager to remind me. And likely the players were tired from the relentless training in this pre-season. It also didn’t help that Lyon flew in right before the match and then flew immediately back out. I was surprised because they stay usually in a hotel the night before to give the players a bit more rest.
Maybe Lyon are saving all their money for Yerry Mina. Who knows.