As a Lyon fan, I’m usually too busy feeling sorry for my own team to care much over the troubles of others. But Nice’s predicament is woeful enough that it’s caught notice around the world, and frankly, it makes Lyon look like a club that has its shit together.
Yeah, Nice is that badly off.
We’re only 3 games in, and a lot can change, but Nice have played some of their easier opponents – Reims, Caen, and Dijon. Two of those games have been at home, and yet Nice have taken only 1 point and have conceded 6 goals (while scoring only 1). Their journey only becomes harder because after Lyon, they’ll next be facing Rennes, Montpellier, and PSG.
Friday, August 31st, 2018
Parc OL, Lyon
2:45 PM EST (20:45 CET, 19:45 CET)
Lyon’s record against Nice is pretty good. Their last ten confrontations at home give Lyon a record of 5 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses. In their most recent game, which took place on the final day of last season, Lyon won a crucial 3-2 victory that helped edge them past Marseille to qualify for the Champions League. Nice didn’t make it easy, and Lyon had to fight to the very last second.
Their slow start this year is perhaps due to the fact they have a new coach, but Vieira has been working with them all summer, so he should have had a good grasp of an ideal team formation. Yet based on what we’ve been seeing so far,Vieira still doesn’t know. The season’s start has caught him with his pants down.
Nice did lose quite a few players this summer, but it’s nothing new for a French club. With the exception of PSG, all other L1 clubs are used to losing their best players each summer. Nice are certainly no exception and have dealt with this every season. They have an excellent academy and are good at spotting talent in lower leagues, so they’re usually able to compensate for these departures. However, they lost Jean Michaël Seri and Alassane Pléa in one go, and those are big shoes to fill.
Good news for Nice is that they were able to retain Mario Balotelli, who was courted heavily by Marseille this summer. Balotelli, who was out of contract, was open to a departure, but Marseille were unable to meet all of the financial demands. That fell through, but true to his nature, Balotelli quickly signed a one year extension with Nice.
Balotelli was suspended the first two games of the season due to a diving infraction (I’m trying really hard not to make any Italy jokes), so he’ll be making his return against OL. Can’t wait.
Le groupe niçois: Benitez, Clémentia – Hérelle, Dante, Sarr, Boscagli, Burner, Coly, Jallet – Tameze, Cyprien, Makengo, Walter, Lees-Melou – Srarfi, Saint-Maximin, Myziane, Balotelli
We all know Christophe Jallet, who spent 3 great years at OL before moving on to Nice. Lyon faithful will also recognize another name in Nice’s ranks – Myziane Maolida. He’s settling into Nice like he’s always been there, and despite being new, he’s started both games so far (he wasn’t there for the first one). He’s still finding his feet, but it looks like the move was the right decision for him.
Nice have made a few other signings this summer, notably Danilo from Braga and Christophe Hérelle from Troyes. The signings were respectively €10m and €5m each, and while that’s pocket change to Lyon, it’s a significant investment from Nice.
Yoan Cardinale, Mickaël Le Bihan, Danilo, and Youcef Atal will miss out due to injury.
The biggest news is that Mariano has left for other pastures. Lyon are recruiting to replace him, but for now, they will have a shallower bench than usual. The good news is that Nabil Fekir is expected to play the entire match. Seeing their captain on the pitch should cheer up the rest of the team.
Why they need cheering up, I don’t know, but in every post match interview so far, the players have sounded like they were coming out of a board exam.
Le groupe lyonnais: Lopes, Gorgelin – Rafael, Denayer, Dubois, Marcelo, Mendy, Morel, Tete – Aouar, Diop, Ferri, Ndombele, Tousart – Cornet, Memphis, N.Fekir, Y.Fekir, Terrier, Traoré.
No surprises in the above list. Once again, Marçal is still “injured.” All three RBs are included, which tells me that either Rafael or Leo Dubois will eventually be groomed to be a backup LB.
Maxwel Cornet is still on this list because Aulas hates us. Yassin Fekir, little bro to Nabil, has also been included. He played a bit during summer friendlies, but I don’t expect him to play unless things are really dire.
Expected lineup Random Guess:
With Mariano out of the picture, Genesio will focus on a lineup that brings the best out of his two main men – Nabil Fekir and Memphis Depay. Martin Terrier should also start.
I do feel that Jason Denayer should start. This is a good game for him to get his feet wet, and Marcelo’s steadying presence should help. Rafael should be rewarded for an excellent game last week with another start. In midfield, Tanguy Ndombele has been in better form than Houssem Aouar, and with the front 3 also being in good shape, Aouar makes the most sense to come off the bench.
Pape Cheikh Diop had a great game last week, but I imagine he’ll also come off the bench – unless Genesio chooses to allow Jordan Ferri to have his first few minutes of the season.
- beIN Sports
- Canal+ Sport
- BT Sport 2
Lyon should have the edge over Nice. They’re at home and frankly have no excuses. I’m guessing Lyon 2 – 1 Balotelli.