If you haven’t visited Caen’s website, immediately drop what you’re doing and do so now. Their match preview for this weekend’s game is so good that I absolutely cannot beat it.
Some might think that the beast that will enter the Caen arena on Saturday evening has lost its presence, and that other chimeras now reign in the jungle of French football, starting with the Parisian ogre, who leaves its victims barely alive in order to keep a little room in his stomach so that it can swallow bigger prey the following week.
Lyon, however, remains cloaked by an aura and a history that no one dares to challenge: carrying an attack that their feline dispositions render graceful, their mere presence offering the certainty of a rare spectacle, while giving rise to the desire for an exploit.
Amazing, amirite??? I haven’t seen so many scary hunting references since I went on a safari in South Africa, when guides took me and my friend on a terrifying game drive in the middle of the night and thought it would be hilarious to take us close to feasting hyenas. Nope, never again.
Saturday, September 15h, 2018
Stade Michel d’Ornano, Caen
11 AM EST (17:00 CET, 16:00 UST)
I’m going to keep this short because there’s already a lot of greatness, thanks to whomever does the copywriting for Caen’s website.
Caen are currently in 12th place with 5 points (compared to Lyon, who are in 8th place with 6 points). Their head to head record against OL at home is pretty good, with 10 wins, 2 draws, and 5 losses.
They barely avoided relegation the past two seasons, waiting until the last day in both years to achieve the safety of 16th place. This season, Caen will strive to do the same, as a midtable finish is the best they are hoping for.
Like all Ligue 1 clubs, they faced significant upheavel during the transfer window as they lost several players to other teams. Striker Ivan Santini has returned to Belgium to play for Anderlecht while Ronny Rodelin and Damien Da Silva transfered to Guingamp and Rennes, respectively. Lyon faithful will notice another missing player from Caens: Remy Vercoutre, Lyon’s former Team Mom and goalkeeper, who retired this past summer.
In a reassuring sign of ambition, they signed several offensive reinforcements totaling over €9m – a lot of money for a club like Caen. They brought in Yacine Bammou from Nantes, Enzo Crivelli from Angers, Casimir Ninga from Montepellier, and Fayçal Fajr from Getafe to augment their squad. None of the above are household names, but they are solid reinforcements that should aid their quest to avoid relegation.
Le groupe du Stade Malherbe: Brice Samba, Erwin Zelazny – Frédéric Guilbert, Adama Mbengue, Paul Baysse, Alexander Djiku, Romain Genevois – Prince Oniangue, Stef Peeters, Jessy Deminguet, Faisal Fajr, Saif Khaoui – Yacine Bammou, Casimir Ninga, Claudio Beauvue, Malik Chokounté, Enzo Crivelli
Jonathan Gradit, Issa Marega, and Emmanuel Imorou are recovering from injuries and are left out of the squad. Mouhamadou Dabo and Yoël Armougom were also left off, but Saïf Khaoui, freshly loaned from Marseille, may make his debut.
One other name that should be familiar is Claudio Beauvue, who is on loan at Caen from Celta. He did not like being at OL, and the feeling was mutual. The fans, his fellow players, and even Aulas were eager to see him leave, which he did less than a year later. This weekend, he’ll be eager to show his former teammates that he’s better off (even though he really isn’t, but whatever).
Fun fact: Caen are installing a jacuzzi at the end of their pitch for four lucky winners of a drawing they are doing. Two people in each half will be able to watch the game from the comfort of a jacuzzi. Caen are hoping that no one kicks the ball into the jacuzzi but also acknowledge that it’d be pretty funny at the same time.
We posted yesterday about Kenny Tete being made 3rd choice right-back, but given his great performances this past week for Netherlands, it was reasonable to expect that he’d at least make the bench. Sadly, that was not to be, as he was once again left out of the squad. But he won’t be alone – Jordan Ferri is also left out.
Le groupe lyonnais: Gorgelin, Lopes – Denayer, Dubois, Marcelo, Mendy, Morel, Rafael – Aouar, Diop, Ndombele, Tousart – Cornet, Dembélé, N.Fekir, Memphis, Terrier, Traoré
Also off the squad list is Marçal, who is still “recovering,” but I’m just going to stop mentioning him because I’m convinced that he’s not actually at Lyon anymore, and instead, they’re using a dummy for whenever they post pictures of him at training.
Moussa Dembélé may make his debut, and with Maxwel Cornet also called up, Genesio will have a wealth of attacking options. Frankly, if Lyon don’t win this game, it would be criminal – the going to jail kind.
However, with a trip to Manchester City looming only a few days away, Genesio will need to rest his players. The question here will be – what is more important, the win against Caen or against City?
From a practical perspective, it needs to be Caen. Lyon need to win this in order to keep up with Marseille (PSG already seems too far), and no one really expects Lyon to beat City away. Then again, Lyon tend to play better against bigger teams while inexplicably losing to smaller ones.
Either way, Genesio will factor both games into account when strategizing.
Lyon have enough attacking options to be able to field good lineups for both Caen and City. It’s midfield and defense that gets a little tricky (except right-back – Lyon have lots of those).
This may be a good time to rest Memphis Depay (who also played during the international break), Bertrand Traoré, and Lucas Tousart.
It makes perfect sense for either Moussa Dembélé or Martin Terrier to start. I’m not sure if Genesio has the guts to start both, as he may feel that they are still too new to take on the responsibility. Nabil Fekir will likely also start but be taken off early in the second half.
In midfield, Pape Cheikh Diop should start. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s a shame that Jordan Ferri is left out because he could have helped Diop in midfield, and that would allow either Tanguy Ndombele or Houssem Aouar to also get some extra rest. Both full-backs will need to work extra hard alongside of Marcelo and Jason Denayer, who should also start because he needs playing time.
Not sure what a good lineup is here – Genesio is undecided about where Dembélé should fit, though that depends on who Genesio plans to rest.
- beIN Sports
I’m NEVER right. Instead, I’m going to quote Caen’s website once again, because they are just winning life right now:
“Be wary of the lion who sleeps.”