Business as usual on a lazy Sunday afternoonBy: Nikhil Apte | November 18th, 2012
Olympique Lyonnais vs. Stade de Reims,
Stade Municipal de Gerland, Week 13 â€“ 2012/13, Ligue 1,
Embarrassment! A high flying big spending Ibrahimovich-less PSG fell flat on its face with a home defeat against a battling Rennes side that was a goal keeper and Makoun down. The result – a difference of just one point in the top 6 spots (at various numbers of games completed). To add to the flavour, the top 10 places in the league filling up within just 5 points between them. A potential provisional lead at the top of the table awaits Captain Licha and his merry-men.
A largely unknown quantity
Manager Remi Garde mentioned over the weekend that he does secretly have an ambition to get the league title back to Lyon, but modestly covered up by saying he would be happy to finish in the top three, or at least to qualify for European competition. Undoubtedly, these words relaxed Reims assistant coach Olivier Guegan, who responded by saying that his team would have no pressure and would be satisfied by putting a good performance up. Gutsy talk for a team revisiting Stade Gerland for the first time since 1978!
Stade Reims, to its credit, has driven top teams up the wall, losing by only a single goal against Marseille, PSG and Rennes, while drawing away to Toulouse and Saint-Etienne. Needless to say, (and Iâ€™m still saying this), goals may be few and far between today at the Gerland.
Well, not if the tremendous offensive OL has put up this season has anything to say about it.
A string of commendable performances
Bafetimbi Gomis looks more and more like the promising player of 2008 that he was. A winner in the France v Italy midweek game was his first goal for the French national team since 2008 as well. For Lyon, he has netted nine times in all competitions thus far, including 5 goals in Ligue 1. In scoring the twenty goals that Lyon has already, a lot of the credit has to go to the midfield that is running like a turbo charged Lamborghini. Superman Steed already has four assists to his name, and whatever we have seen of the return of Gourcuff is encouraging. Lisandro and Lacazette are in top form on the wings too, making it an all round pick-up-the-slack-for-injured-players campaign on part of the first XI. Licha is set to make his 99th Ligue 1 appearance today, while it will be Briandâ€™s 250th game in the French first division if heâ€™s afforded some playing time. OL has the best Home record this season to defend, with 5 wins and 1 defeat in six matches. This match is important, for it gives Remi Garde a chance to get Stade Gerland a reputation of being a fortress once again. A win will give Lyon the provisional top spot, until Marseille has its opportunity later in the evening against a robust Bordeaux team. If OL gains a lead early in the game against Reims, the coaching staff may look to substitute the regulars to rest them for the midweek Europa League contest in Prague on Thursday.
Lyon : Vercoutre â€“ Reveillere, Bisevac, Umtiti, Dabo â€“ Gonalons, Malbranque â€“ Lacazette, Gourcuff, Lisandro â€“ Gomis
Reims : Agassa – Mandi, Tacalfred, Weber, Souare â€“ Krychowiak, Ca, Devaux, Toudic â€“ Fortes, Rigonato