The Derby du RhĂ´ne Atop Mount L1By: Nikhil Apte | December 9th, 2012
AS Saint-Etienne vs. Olympique Lyonnais
Matchday 16 â€“ Stade Geoffroy-Guichard â€“ Ligue 1, 2012-13
Winning the Europa League group with more points than any other club; Being one of only three clubs to not lose in group stages; Resuming their efforts to stay on top of the Mount L1.
OL has learnt to take things in its stride alright! In a sharp turn-around from what looked like a bench infested with the Ghost of Puel Past, the club suddenly has a problem of too many eligible youth. First World problems indeed.
No, forget about all that. â€“booming font â€“ Itâ€™s Derby time!
Get your fresh supply of fingernails here!
A team that has defeated the all-mighty PSG twice in four weeks is certainly going to be a stinger. ASSE is in top form. They beat PSG to enter the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final. An unbeaten run of 13 matches including 8 wins makes Saint-Etienne one of the teams to beat this season. The difference in quality between the teams has reduced drastically, and our more â€śindustriousâ€ť opponents are riding high on a 14 goal difference that was the highest in the league before this weekendâ€™s results. Lyonâ€™s run of 5 wins in all competitions at Stade Geoffrey Guichard is under very serious threat. Welcome to the 105th Derby du RhĂ´ne!
ASSE has a new Gomis in its ranks in the form of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. After last yearâ€™s plunder of 16 goals and 6 assists, heâ€™s back again this year (before heâ€™s picked up by a bigger club, I assume). Â Scoring 8 goals and 4 assists thus far makes him somewhat of a Gomis-Malbranque hybrid, and easily the man in-form to give Vercoutre an upset stomach. It isnâ€™t just the defence that needs to be wide awake though. Saint Etienne has the best defensive record in L1. Freakinâ€™ eight clean sheets and only 10 goals conceded.. Another interesting statistic â€“ they are yet to concede a goal before the 29th minute of the match. Meaning if anything is to throw the opposition into unfamiliar territory, it may well be getting an early goal.
OL is no sitting duck, mind. If anything, it is sitting pretty! Only a Marseille win tonight will deny it continuing this L1 position going into the next match. Losing three times this season is somewhat okay if your team can maintain the top spot. Itâ€™s like having a cheat-day in a diet. The club is getting back its ambitious colours. Remi Garde shared that he “goes to sleep every night dreaming of the title, and I hope my players do the same.” There is a quiet positive vibe in the camp going into this away match. Coach will be looking for atleast a draw. Or even a win.
Remi Garde was smart in not playing safe in a nothing-match over the European Thursday. Hapoel Kiryat Shmona was just about managed by a very young Lyonnais team with an average age of about 20.5. Which means most of the squad is very well rested.
Maxime Gonalons will miss the Nancy clash because heâ€™s collected 10 yellow cards to date and had three warnings. Thankfully, he will be with the group tonight. Not so for Lisandro. Remi Garde said it was highly unlikely Lisandro would recover from his calf injury in time for the match. Same for Lovren, and for Briand, who needs to remain visible to keep his relevance. Everyone else in the first team seems to be available. And I bet Saint-Etienne regrets giving just 27 minutes of playing time to Steed Malbranque when they had him in 2011 before ending his contract mutually.
Tonight’s match will be a cracker and then some!
Possible Team Lineups
Saint-Etienne â€“ Ruffier â€“ Clerc, Bayal, Perrin, Ghoulam â€“ Lemoine, ClĂ©ment, Cohade â€“ Hamouma, Aubameyang, Gradel
Lyon â€“ Vercoutre â€“ RĂ©veillĂ¨re, Bisevac, Umtiti, Dabo â€“ Malbranque, Gonalons â€“ Lacazette, Grenier, Gourcuff â€“ Gomis
Allez! Allez! Allez!