This is it. The last friendly of the season. Lyon’s next match after this is their season opener against Amiens. You don’t need me to tell you how important it is that Lyon win. Each point matters, so the team can’t afford to “take it slow.”
Chelsea is likely feeling the same, so consider this as an extra aggressive practice. Both teams will collect a good bit of money, and since neither will win the ICC trophy at this point, no one really cares anymore.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2018
Stamford Bridge, London
9:05 PM EST (21:05 CET, 20:05 UST)
I made the mistake of comparing the relative squad values of Chelsea and Lyon.
Don’t do it.
Because even if their squad is valued three times what OL’s is, and they’ve won both the Champions League and Europa League, and they have collected dozens of domestic trophies…they have yet to win the prestigious Eusebio Cup. So really, who’s the bigger club?
Unlike past years, Chelsea have been quit during this summer’s transfer market. Besides the €65m purchase of Jorginho from Napoli, they haven’t reinforced their squad in a notable way. They haven’t sold any players yet either, though if rumors are to be believed, their starting goalkeeper may be on his way out.
Also, if one were the type to believe fake news, Chelsea may also be putting in a last minute bid for Nabil Fekir. Which would only make sense if they’re doing it just to annoy Liverpool (always a valid reason).
But the highest profile change was that of manager. After Antonio Conte’s dramatic exit, Maurizio Sarri was brought in to take over. He’s been working for less than a month while missing multiple players who were away at the World Cup. The last group of them just returned today.
Which is why you can forgive Sarri for Chelsea’s lacklustre pre-season. Of the four matches they’ve played so far, they’ve only scored 3 goals during open play. They also lost the Community Shield Cup to Manchester City the day before. So their egos will be a little bruised.
They will have to face OL without N’Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud, and Eden Hazard, who are not yet match fit. Thibaut Courtois is still in Belgium as he tries to force a transfer to Real Madrid, so we won’t see him either.
Good news for Lyon is that Nabil Fekir has returned from vacation. While everyone is waiting on pins and needles for any last minute transfer drama, his mood has been cheerful, which is being taken positively by the rest of the team (and the fans). He isn’t part of the squad, but Anthony Lopes is, which will reassure is in the face of Mathieu Gorgelin’s ineptitude.
Unsurprisingly, Marçal and Maxwel Cornet are being left behind. I have never seen a club try so hard to kick out its players, I must say. If you’ve ever seen the movie Office Space, this is the equivalent of putting their desks in the basement.
While Myziane Maolida made the cut, Amine Gouiri and Maxence Caqueret did not. I am tres tres sad. One of my favorite summer activities has been watching Caqueret negate the existence of Jordan Ferri.
It’s weird because Genesio is only taking 20 players. He can take up to 22, so I don’t understand why he’s leaving them behind.
Le groupe lyonnais: Gorgelin, Lopes – Dubois, Marcelo, Martins-Pereira, Mendy, Morel, Rafael, Solet, Tete – Aouar, Diop, Ferri, Ndombele, Tousart – Maolida, Mariano, Memphis, Terrier, Traoré
Unless once again, Lyon are trying to save money on hotels and plane fare. Whatever overpriced defender Aulas has his eye won’t be cheap!
UPDATE: Maolida has been dropped from the squad and replaced by Gouiri. Apparently, Newcastle has come in with a last minute bid for Maolida, which is why is he staying behind.
Credit given where it’s due, Genesio did try experimenting with his lineup against Inter Milan. He dropped the usual 4-4-2 diamond for a 4-3-3, and he started with mostly youngsters. My only complaint was switching Leo Dubois with Rafael. While Rafa can play both sides, Dubois is much stronger on the right than the left. I guess Genesio has his answer to that question.
He may continue to experiment, as Genesio’s goal this pre-season has been to field multiple lineups to account for injuries and suspensions. He knows his 4-4-2 mostly works, and he knows who he would play in it. So if he chooses to try another 4-3-3 variation in a game that has essentially no meaning, I wouldn’t be surprised.
I would try to guess at a lineup, but putting myself in Genesio’s head always ends very badly. But I will guess that Genesio will:
- play Goreglin and Lopes, one per half.
- continue messing around with the fullback situation
- have an existential crisis over Solet-CMP vs Morel-Marcelo
- freak out over the fact that Mariano and Memphis haven’t been anywhere near as productive as bench player Terrier
Fun times will be had by all.
- ESPN – Go Lyon! Three times in a row on American TV!! What next, an invitation to the White House?
- beIN Connect
- Premier Sports
Interestingly, Chelsea and Lyon have never played each other before. But there have been many transfers between them, so I guess you could say they’re frienemies. Scoring wise, this might end up a snooze fest. Neither side has their shit together, so 1-1 or something.