Barcelona vs. Lyon: Squeaky Bum Time, French Edition

This Wednesday, Lyon face their hardest test of the season – attempting to walk away from Camp Nou with a score draw (or win!). No one had expected Lyon to be in this position in the first place. When Lyon were paired with Barcelona back in December, the outcome seemed certain.

And while a Barcelona win is still a likely scenario, Les Gones do have a fighting chance. The 0-0 draw in the first leg ensured that Barca do not have an away goal, so if Lyon can live up to their reputation – a team that plays its best against superior opposition – perhaps a berth in the quarterfinals is possible after all.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019
Camp Nou, Barcelona
4PM EST

Continue reading “Barcelona vs. Lyon: Squeaky Bum Time, French Edition”

The Citizen Revolution: Lyon vs Manchester City Preview

It’s no secret. France is England’s favorite hunting ground. From Alexandre Lacazette to Rachid Ghezzal, many players have given in to the temptation and crossed the English Channel. It’s just so easy – you can wrap Clinton Njie in a ribbon and call him the new Samuel Eto’o, and they just snap him up.

But this time, Manchester City do not come hunting for players. The Citizens are coming for all three points.

Continue reading “The Citizen Revolution: Lyon vs Manchester City Preview”

The (Other) Olympico: Lyon vs Nîmes Olympique Preview

For years, Nîmes Olympique has been angling for a seat at the big table. Now that they have it, they are struggling to retain it, but the third Olympique in Ligue 1 has shown it can stand up to giants.

Nîmes experienced a strong start to the Ligue 1 season, including a 3-1 victory over Olympique Marseille. Since then, Nîmes’ progress has stalled, and after a winless run, they are flirting with relegation.

And that sounds like a problem that Olympique Lyonnais could fix.

Friday, October 19th, 2018
Parc OL, Lyon
2:45 PM EST (20:45 CET, 19:45 UST) Continue reading “The (Other) Olympico: Lyon vs Nîmes Olympique Preview”

Goliath, Meet David: Paris Saint-Germain vs Lyon Preview

It is that time of the year again. Fans start biting their nails and Jean-Michel Aulas prepares his laminated Qatari trump card of an excuse. And as is customary, the players prepare to shine on their only preferred stage – the big one.

Lyon travel to Paris following a disappointing week, with more than just dignity to preserve. And just before a two-week international break, a Parisian team in quest for a record-breaking win meets a side that relishes the big nights.

Sunday, October 7th, 2018
Parc des Princes, Paris
3 PM EST (21:00 CST, 20:00 UST)

Background Info:

On Tuesday, Bruno Genesio’s cries echoed eerily around the empty Groupama Stadium. Apparently they never quite reached the players’ ears because they regurgitated another insipid performance against Shakhtar Donetsk. Or perhaps those calls were the reason why OL suffered so much.

Lyon had previously failed to break down a struggling Nantes side, blaming a lack of motivation due to the looming European tie. Yet three days later, they could only salvage a miraculous 2-2 draw to conserve top spot in group F. Perhaps the players were once again lacking motivation ahead of tonight’s match against PSG. If that is truly the case, then the good news is that there are no more games for two weeks, so the focus should be undivided.

While Lyon are in a slump, things have looked considerably different for PSG. A string of eight consecutive league wins has sent any hope for Ligue 1 competition home in tears. Though a win for Lyon will not do much to sway the Parisians, a record is on the line for Thomas Tuchel.

A 3-0 victory against Nice allowed PSG to equal an eight-decade-old record of consecutive victories in the beginning of a Ligue 1 season. Back in 2013, it was up to Lyon to stop – or at least delay – PSG from winning their first Ligue 1 title in the Qatari era. Naturally, they failed, but today they can make amends and stop PSG from a record-breaking ninth consecutive win.

Fekir Freekick

There is nothing strange with PSG’s scintillating start to the Ligue 1 season. Tuchel brought his attacking philosophy with him from Borussia Dortmund, transforming the PSG side with a 3-4-3 formation. The German also gave Neymar a new role, playing as the traditional number 10 behind the striker. The Brazilian is relishing his new playmaking position, scoring ten goals and assisting in three others in his ten appearances so far this season.

The entire team has been on fire under Tuchel’s tutelage. Liverpool has been the only bump on the road, but with 27 goals scored and just 6 conceded in Ligue 1 alone, Genesio will have to cause a small upset  to upend the trend.

PSG is coming off a majestic 6-1 win against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League. A fair warning from the infernal quartet of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Edinson Cavani and Ángel Di Maria, if OL ever needed one.

To complicate matters further, Tuchel’s squad is almost complete, save for Adrien Rabiot. The Frenchman is suspended after accumulating yellow cards, which will likely see Marquinhos fielded with Marco Verratti in midfield again.

And before Nabil Fekir gets any wild freekick ideas, Gianluigi Buffon is rumored to start ahead of Alphonse Areola.

Lyon News:

There were few positives from Lyon’s midweek clash against Shakhtar Donetsk. One of them was Moussa Dembélé, who scored his first Champions League goal for Lyon in his European debut with his new club. On Sunday, it will be homecoming for the ex-Celtic man, who spent eight years of his youth at PSG.

Unlike the Parisians, Lyon did not have the luxury of resting players during midweek – not that it made much of a difference. Like alternating current, Bruno Genesio keeps switching back and forth between good spells and sleep-inducing performances, but this time, anything less than electrifying will not do the job.

Few players are missing from the OL group. Most notably, Martin Terrier is still out with an ankle injury, and it will be some time before Amine Gouiri returns. Kenny Tete is still injured and out of favor, which means that Genesio will have to look elsewhere for someone to tuck Neymar in a pocket.

Tete - Neymar
Oh Kenny, where are you?

The good news is that Rafael is back in the team, and will probably replace Léo Dubois after the latter’s passive defensive performance against Shakhtar. Fernando Marçal’s on-and-off relationship with Genesio is currently in the off phase, and the Brazilian has been dropped again.

Lucas Tousart, back from suspension, is back in the group. As is, Jordan Ferri, who must have slipped on the coach traveling to Paris. Presumably, Genesio is too polite to ask him to stay behind.

Lyon’s group: Lopes, Gorgelin – Rafael, Dubois, Morel, Denayer, Marcelo, Mendy – Aouar, Ferri, Ndombele, Diop, Tousart – Cornet, Memphis, Traoré, Fekir, Dembélé

Possible Lineup Options:

Like against Red Star, PSG will likely come out with a 4-2-3-1 formation to guard against OL’s offensive bloc. With a congested midfield and a lethal strikeforce to back that up, Genesio will need to congest the midfield and hit PSG on the counter.

All hands will need to be on deck when defending, and with PSG’s wide players able to change the game at any moment, Genesio will likely opt for a similar 4-2-3-1. In the back, the new central duo of Marcelo and Jason Denayer could return for good, and keep the number of own goals to a minimum, unlike last year.

Tousart, who just signed a new contract binding him with Lyon until 2023, could start alongside Tanguy Ndombele, himself called with France’s senior squad for the first time.

Up front, Memphis Depay and Maxwel Cornet might start in the 4-2-3-1 formation, simultaneously looking to defend as well as hit back on the counter. If that does not work, maybe Fekir could finally get a goal against Buffon. A boy can dream.

Possible line-up:

Lopes

Rafael – Marcelo – Denayer – Mendy

Ndombele – Tousart

Cornet – Fekir – Memphis

Dembélé

L’Equipe’s alternative is a more conservative 4-4-1-1 formation that pulls the wingers farther back into midfield. If it worked against Manchester City and Shakhtar, why wouldn’t it work against PSG? In that case, Aouar and Bertrand Traoré are likely to start as wide midfielders, with Memphis playing up front instead of Dembélé.

Viewing Options:

  • Canal+ (France)
  • beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA)
  • BT Sport 1 (UK)

For other countries, check here.

Expected Result:

Even if Lyon blossoms with the underdog status, it’s difficult to see PSG dethroned. Most supporters would be happy to be a draw, but realistically, PSG will be the princes at their backyard come midnight: 2-0 for the home team.

Boulevard of broken dreams: Lyon’s woeful transfer updates

It’s near midnight on 8/28, so I’m aware that there’s still two days left where things could drastically change. But Lyon have a poor track record of happy surprises, so I’m going to tackle their mercato – or lack thereof.

I confess that I debated awhile if I should even post. No one has any idea what’s going on, and what the media is reporting is often times incorrect and sometimes a straight up lie. So if anything I wrote below is false, blame Bilel.

(Note: I wrote this in the evening of 8/28 in US Eastern time). By the time this posts, some of this information may be outdated because I may be sleeping when Aulas finally decides to do some business.)

Aulas: We don’t need transfers, we’re fine just the way we are!

Continue reading “Boulevard of broken dreams: Lyon’s woeful transfer updates”

Anthony Lopes gets a teaching moment

Poor Anthony Lopes. The hits just keep on coming. Not only did he miss the final three games of last season due to a suspension, but the LFP later increased it to 5, which forced him to miss the first two games this year as well. And while there’s no worse punishment than watching Mathieu Gorgelin take his place, a close second would be losing the vice-captaincy in such a public way, which is what happened when Bruno Genesio announced that the position would now be given to Marcelo.

During today’s press conference, Genesio reaffirmed that decision, saying he wanted to take the weight of captaincy from Lopes, which would allow him to “improve” further. To his credit, Lopes agreed to it, admitting that “he’s reaping what he sowed” and that he’s become more mature after his suspension.

If there’s a fight happening on the pitch, Lopes can always be found in the heart of it.

Continue reading “Anthony Lopes gets a teaching moment”

This week’s transfer round up – window shopping mode

Nearly two months into the transfer window, and all there is to show are a bunch of half-baked rumors plus a lot of interview clips with Jean-Michel Aulas straight up lying to everyone’s faces.

As discussed ad nauseum, Lyon need at least one, if not two central defenders. Marcelo will likely leave, and that will leave Jeremy Morel as the senior CB. His partners will be two kids just promoted from the B team.

The pillar of Lyon’s defense. No, really. There’s no other choice.

Continue reading “This week’s transfer round up – window shopping mode”