Olympique Lyon will be looking to get back to winning ways as they get ready to host Olympique de Marseille for the first Choc des Olympiques of the season.
The first Choc des Olympiques of the season is upon us as Andre Villas-Boas’ Olympique de Marseille travel to Lyon to take on Olympique Lyonnais at the Groupama Stadium in gameweek 6 of Ligue 1.
It has been a tough season for Lyon till now. After winning their first game in spectacular fashion, they have gone four matches without one, which includes one loss and three draws. This poor run of form has cost them to be dropped to 11th in the table with a measly eight points out of a possible 15. Last week, they drew 1-1 against Lorient courtesy of a second-half equaliser from Leo Dubois.
Their opponents for Sunday, Marseille, are not doing too well themselves. Like Lyon, they started the season well, with chaotic victories against Stade Brestois and PSG in consecutive gameweeks, but have fallen off their perch since, losing once and drawing the next two. Like Lyon, Marseille, too, are coming on the back of a 1-1 draw, after being saved from another defeat in the 95th minute by Morgan Sanson.
Last season, the two teams only faced off against each other once as the season was suspended early due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Marseille were able to record a 2-1 victory at the Orange Velodrome despite receiving a red card in the second half, thanks to a Dimitri Payet masterclass.
Team News & Tactics
— OL English 🇬🇧 (@OL_English) October 3, 2020
Rudi Garcia does not have too many concerns ahead of this game, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide the only player sidelined due to injury. Maxwell Cornet, who was termed as a doubt after constant hobbling against Lorient, has been given the medical green light.
He will start in the left-back slot, providing width from the back alongside Leo Dubois – goalscorer from the last matchday. There is reason to believe that Garcia will shift to a four-man backline after failing to create chances using his preferred thee-man defence.
Marcelo and Jason Denayer will start in the heart of the defence to complete the quartet. They will be given the responsibility to provide the screen for the brilliant Anthony Lopes, who has been their defence’s only shining light this season.
Reports suggest that Houssem Aouar is set to stay at Lyon, at least for another season despite entering into advanced negotiations with Arsenal. He will be part of the midfield three that takes the pitch, starting in the left-of-centre slot. Bruno Guimaraes will be the holding midfielder, while Maxence Caqueret takes charge of duties on the right of the trio.
Memphis Depay, too, is set for another season-long stay at Lyon and will come back to the lineup after being reduced to a bench appearance last week. 17-year-old Rayan Cherki was handed his first start of the season in the previous gameweek and is expected to be given another run-out but on the right-wing. Moussa Dembele is expected to lead the line for the French outfit.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Lopes; Dubois, Marcelo, Denayer, Cornet; Caqueret, Guimaraes, Aouar; Cherki, Dembele, Depay
Much like his rival on Sunday, Andre Villas-Boas can have his pick of the cherry for the game since all but one player of the first-team squad has been selected for the trip. The absentee comes in the form of versatile midfielder Bouna Sarr, who was not able to clear the late fitness test but is expected to be back by next week.
⚪️🔵 TEAM TIME ⚪️🔵
— Olympique de Marseille 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 (@OM_English) October 3, 2020
35-year-old Steven Mandanda is still going strong this season and will be one of the few constants in the Marseille lineup, taking charge of the six-yard box, while donning the captain’s armband.
Ahead of him, Jordan Amavi will start as the left-back for Marseille, while Hiroki Sakai will be given the same task on the right. Duje Caleta-Car – who is subject to a move to West Ham – will be their go-to-man in the backline, partnering Alvaro Gonzalez at the heart of the defence.
Marseille are expected to mirror Lyon’s 4-3-3, which will feature a midfield of Valentin Rongier on the right side of the trio, while Morgan Sanson starts on the left. Boubacar Kamara will hold the fort for the team as the screening midfielder, spraying long balls forward to the wingers.
Finally, in the attack, there will be no change as Florian Thauvin takes the spot on the right side of Dario Benedetto. The two have combined very well this season, but have failed to find the finishing touch that the team has been craving for. Dimitri Payet will start on the left, taking charge of most creative duties.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Mandanda; Sakai, Gonzalez, Caleta-Car, Amavi; Rongier, Kamara, Sanson; Thauvin, Benedetto, Payet
- Olympique Lyon and Olympique de Marseille have met a grand total of 100 times in the Ligue 1, with the scales tipping 34 to 28 in favour of Lyon in terms of wins. The remaining 38 have ended in a tie.
- Despite having considerably more wins, both sides have scored almost the same number of goals against each other, with the aggregate standing at 160-158 in favour of Lyon.
- The last ten games between these two sides tip heavily in favour of Lyon, who have secured five wins while losing just once.
- Marseille have not managed to take home the three points at Lyon’s home since April 2008 when they won 3-1.
- Andre Villas-Boas and Rudi Garcia have crossed paths just twice in their careers, and have won a game apiece.
Player to Watch
Memphis Depay started the season in the most incredible fashion, scoring a hat-trick against Dijon on matchday 1. He has fallen off the perch in terms of both performances and output in the last four games though, scoring just once since.
The Dutchman has been a subject of interest from Barcelona with Ronald Koeman quite keen to bring him in. But recent reports suggest that the Catalan giants may be in for a last-minute turn-around as Depay is set to stay at Lyon for the entirety of this season, at least. On Sunday, we expect the 26-year-old to show Barca what they could have been in for, and why is he one of the best in the world at what he does.
Olympique Lyon 2-2 Olympique de Marseille
The Olympico has famously been a very high-scoring affair with both teams used to going all guns blazing against each other. However, over the last few years, it has become a more low-scoring and even affair. Additionally, with both teams unable to finish their chances in the previous few gameweeks, we expect it to end in a tie. That said, it will be a thrilling 90 minutes of football.