Lyon are riding high after their victory against Benfica, where they were crowned the winners of the 2018 Eusebio Cup.
I can’t believe I wrote that while keeping a straight face. Whatever, when you support a club that hasn’t seen a trophy since 2012, you take what you can get. I’m gonna own it, bitches.
The Eusebio Cup Champions now move onto their next opponent, Inter Milan, otherwise known as the slightly less shady Milan team.
Saturday, August 4th, 2018
Stadio Via del Mare, Lecce
2:05 PM EST (20:05 CET, 19:05 UST)
Both Inter and Lyon are in the same place in their pre-season. They’ve each played four friendlies so far, where they equally struggled against mostly inferior opponents. Inter lost 2-0 to our friends at FC Sion, whom OL drew 2-2. In the Champions Cup (ICC), Inter’s first opponent was Chelsea. It was a draw, and Inter lost on penalties. That result is a bit better than Lyon’s 3-2 win over Benfica when you consider the fact that OL gave up a 2 goal lead.
Last season, Inter ended up 4th in the Serie A table, which was enough to get into next season’s Champions League. They’ve made some moves on the transfer market, spending €73m. Of that amount, €38m was spent on ex-Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan, their marquee signing for the summer. However, Inter also sold €73m worth of players, so their balance sheet is a very impressive €0.
Despite the transfers, most experts feel that their squad won’t be enough to mount a serious challenge against Juventus. But I don’t take stock in that because I hear that about Lyon all the time, and I’ve learned not to care about what the “experts” say.
But even if Inter isn’t as impressive as it was seven years ago, they still have a squad packed with talent, notably Stefan de Vrij, as well as what feels like is half the Croatian National Team, with Ivan Perisic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Sime Vrsaljko all wearing Inter colors this season. Their most dangerous player is Mauro Icardi, a striker who netted 29 goals in Serie A last season.
I don’t know if I should laugh or cry when I imagine him coming up against Jeremy Morel.
The good news is that both Perisic and Brozovic are still on vacation while Vrsaljko just arrived on loan from Atletico two days ago and is unlikely to play.
The bad news is that their still very strong team will face Morel in the Lyon defense. Can’t wait.
Eusebio Cup Champions News:
Nabil Fekir is still on vacation while Anthony Lopes has only been back for a week, so both will miss this trip. Marçal will continue to be left out for “reasons.” This time, Maxwel Cornet is also left behind.
Le groupe lyonnais: Gorgelin, Racioppi – Rafael, Dubois, Marcelo, Martins-Pereira, Mendy, Morel, Solet, Tete – Aouar, Caqueret, Diop, Ferri, Ndombele, Tousart – Memphis, Mariano, Gouiri, Myziane, Terrier, Traoré
Against Benfica, Genesio took only 16 players for some bizarre reason. He’s now gone back to a normal squad of 22 players. Maxence Caqueret, Oumar Solet, Amine Gouiri, and Myziane Maolida have been included as well. I’m guessing all the yelling this week over leaving behind Caqueret, as well as the transfer speculation around Maolida may have played a part in their inclusion. However, it’s very well deserved.
This will be Lyon’s most difficult friendly to date, and all signs indicate that both teams will be treating this like a Champions League game (because they could very well be meeting again in a few months). Genesio will be putting his strongest lineup, and I don’t expect him to make many second half changes unless someone is injured, Lyon are winning by a lot, or Lyon are losing really badly.
We’re liking to see an almost similar starting 11 against Benfica, though I expect Leo Dubois to replace Kenny Tete. Martin Terrier, whose form has been immense this pre-season (5 goals so far) is still likely to start on the bench for the more experienced Memphis Depay.
It will be a 4-4-2 diamond again, with Depay nested behind the front two. Sadly, I see Jordan Ferri returning to the lineup at the expense of Tanguy Ndombele to give Lyon a more defensive backbone.
Dubois – Morel (blah) – Marcelo – Mendy
Ferri – Tousart – Aouar
Traore – Mariano
Although looking at the above lineup, maybe it wouldn’t be too terrible if Terrier replaced Mariano, who hasn’t looked anywhere near as productive. But then again, Genesio doesn’t like to take risks, and he will prefer Mariano’s experience to Terrier’s everything else.
– ESPN. Can you believe??? That, like, never happens.
– ESPN Deportes
– beIN Sports 1
– Sky Italia
Even the sports betting sites are confused. Some predict an OL shutout, others expect Milan to win. Some are more pragmatic and see both teams with horrendous defenses and think it will be a draw that OL will lose on penalties (Gorgelin). I think Lyon will win 4-3. They’ll score a lot because they are the Eusebio Cup champions, but they will concede a lot because: 1. Gorgelin, 2. Morel, 3. Gorgelin