The battle of the Olympics has more narratives than you can poke a stick at, and it’s transforming itself into a derby and one of the fiercest in France! Coming away from a comfortable 2-1 win against English Premier League Champions and the apparent favourites to win the Champions League, Manchester City, Olympique Lyonnais are full of confidence heading into this must win tie. The form coming into this match for both teams has drastically switched from a week ago, with OM losing at home 2-1 to Eintracht Frankfurt, despite their positive results in Ligue 1.
Just a week ago, after another lacklustre performance in Ligue, President Aulas was scoffing at the idea of OL turning their season around against Man City and OM in the one week. However, since that glorious Wednesday night for OL at the Etihad Stadium which left all the English pundits in chaos control, trying to save their reputations while wiping the egg off their face, things couldn’t be more positive for OL. The form graph/chart/diagram/whatever you want to call it, couldn’t have swung more in OL’s favour.
For Marseille, however, it’s the same story. Dominant victories domestically against the bottom dwellers while “Casper the Ghost” and co fail to show up on the big stage… well… by “big stage” I mean the Europa League… because OM didn’t make Champions League… (is it awkward?) Yeah…
Marseille fans will convince you that this has changed since they broke their recent curse against AS Monaco a few weeks ago at the Stade Louis II. No one else is convinced because the real test the last few years has been against Olympique Lyonnais, which they have failed at away from home.
Marseille haven’t beaten OL in Lyon since 2007, which means they haven’t won in Lyon since Apple announced the first Iphone was going to be released. It’s more than just a monkey on their back…after 9 years, it’s a fully grown male Silver-Back Gorilla! Logically, this has caused OM fans to be increasingly sensitive to the banter that is thrown back and forth between themselves and OL fans online. The phrase “Un Seul Olympique” gets thrown around so often when one team wins, to the point that everyone has started to lose track at which team is the current title holder.
The war of words has severely cooled between Jean Michel Aulas and Jacques-Henri Eyraud since the last meeting, which escalated tensions on the pitch and left multiple players from both sides with lengthy match bans. There is still plenty of tension and feelings of resentment between the two sides that will no doubt erupt during this match. Last match, Memphis Depay scored a soft last minute winning header, leaving OM to start the next season in the “prestige-less” Europa League while OL enter the glory and extravagance that is the Champions League…too much?
Tonight, OL will be looking to get their domestic season back on track, after taking a lot of confidence from their mid-week victory despite the dreadful domestic form so far. I feel there is more riding on this match for OL, as there is more expectation on us to challenge the PSG ogre this season. A loss for OM away will be nothing out of the usual for them, leaving plenty of mid and bottom table teams to catch up points on.
Genesio is expected to line up the same way against OM as they did City. A 4231/4411 designed to beat the press and look to break quickly against a slow and ageing OM defense, led by Pamela Anderson’s embarrassing Toy-Boy Adil Rami. The only possible change is Lucas Tousart to replace the up and coming Pape Cheikh Diop (remember that name), in the midfield after he was deservedly rested after starting every match (that I can remember) to date. Tanguy Ndombele will be looking to repeat his dominant performance against Man City as the beast returned, and Nabil Fekir will be looking to overshadow his rivals Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin, to prove that he is the true World Champion in this match.
Hopefully, this is not the night for broken records, and it is the night where the real Olympique Lyonnais stand up for the first time this season in Ligue 1 and announce their intentions as the true contenders for the Ligue 1 championship. It’s a long season ahead and with plenty of ups and downs expected, but this is the chance for us to get our season started and there is no better platform to do so than the OLYMPICO! Allez l’OL!