Olympique Lyon are hoping to maintain pressure on PSG and AS Monaco as they play hosts toΒ SCO Angers on Sunday.

Following PSG’s defeat to LOSC Lille last weekend, Olympique Lyon will be hoping to capitalise on the defending champions’ poor form in the league when they take on Angers on Sunday.

Les Gones have slipped to fourth in the Ligue 1 table but will be aware of the fact that a win could take them to third place, ahead of Monaco and two points behind PSG in second.

The Ligue 1 giants haven’t enjoyed a good run of form recently, securing only one win in their last five league matches. Another mishap could potentially push them out of the title picture, especially with the remaining three clubs doing rather well despite recent ups and downs.

Lyon’s weekend opponent in Angers have had a similar record and are currently in mid-table with 41 points on the board. They will be desperate for all three points that could bring them back into consideration, as far as a top-six race is concerned.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both these sides ahead of their crucial Ligue 1 fixture this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Olympique Lyon

Following a 1-1 draw with Lens last weekend, Olympique Lyon will be hoping for more attacking inspiration from their main forward in Memphis Depay. Even though Islam Slimani is back from suspension, the Dutchman will be entrusted with the responsibility of spearheading the attack, with creative support from the likes of Karl Toko Ekambi and Tino Kadewere, both of whom boast electric pace and can be an asset on the counter.

However, it will be equally important for Lyon to utilise the pace of these three runners by finding those long balls in behind the Angers backline. Unfortunately, they have their creative asset in Houssem Aouar out injured, so the onus will be on Lucas Paqueta to offer some inspiration on the ball.

The former AC Milan star will be supplemented by the midfield duo of Thiago Mendes and Maxence Caqueret. These two will be essential in the build-up play, knowing Lyon will dominate possession in this game.

That said, Mendes, for one, could operate a little deeper in order to add defensive support for the two centre-backs in Marcelo and Jason Denayer, who is hoping to replace Sinaly Diomande. There should be changes elsewhere in defence, too, with Leo Dubois and Maxwel Cornet replacing Mattia De Sciglio and Melvin Bard in the fullback slots.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3):Β Lopes; Dubois, Marcelo, Denayer, Cornet; Caqueret, Paqueta, Mendes; Kadewere, Depay, Ekambi

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Angers SCO

Angers head coach Stephane Moulin is missing a host of key players due to injury including Sofiane Boufal, Rachid Alioui, Jimmy Cabot and Lassana Coulibaly.

Such an injury crisis could only put extra pressure, especially on attackers with Stephane Bahoken hoping to spearhead the frontline. His work ethic could be vital knowing he will mostly have to gnaw at the centre-backs in the hopes of a turnover. He will be supported by the creative trifecta of Pierrick Capelle, Angelo Fulgini and Antonin Bobichon.

Defensively, the two holding midfielders in Ibrahim Amadou and Thomas Mangani will likely operate deep, close to the two centre-backs in Ismael Traore and Romain Thomas. It will offer fewer spaces in between the lines for a Lyon attack that has already struggled in recent weeks.

Speaking of fewer spaces, Angers are almost guaranteed to employ a deep defensive line in an attempt to frustrate the opposition. The full-backs could be vital in this game, as they will have the license to go forward and initiate counter-attacking opportunities.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1):Β Bernardoni; Manceau, Traore, Thomas, Doumbia; Mangani, Amadou; Capelle, Fulgini, Bobichon; Bahoken

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Key Stats

  • Lyon are unbeaten in their last nine Ligue 1 games against Angers with their last such defeat coming on 5th December 2015.
  • Lyon have won their last two Ligue 1 home games against Angers – in this meeting they could equal their longest winning run on home soil against SCO in the top-flight, which was established between September 1967 and April 1971 (3).
  • Angers have only won one of their last nine Ligue 1 games with the single victory coming at Metz in early March.
  • Lyon have lost three of their last six league games, after remaining unbeaten in their previous 13.
  • Lyon are winless in their last three league games – their longest run in the top-flight since September-October 2020.

Player to Watch

Memphis Depay

Main man for Lyon. For another season atleast. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Main man for Lyon. For another season at least. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Memphis Depay is almost a no-brainer, as far as key players are concerned, in this vital home game for Olympique Lyon. As mentioned earlier, the attacker will have a major responsibility on his shoulders as the title race starts to take shape.

Depay himself, though, will be on a little battle of his own as the Dutchman is yet to score in any of his last five league matches. It is a slightly surprising tally for a player who has been involved in 23 league goals this term and is barely a wonder why his loss of form has coincided with a downturn of fortunes for Lyon.

On the bright side, though, Depay was on target during the club’s midweek French Cup fixture against Red Star. The hosts will be hoping that it gives him the confidence required to get back to scoring ways against Angers this weekend.

Prediction

Olympique Lyon 2-0 SCO Angers

Olympique Lyon are major favourites heading into this game despite their poor run of form recently. It is primarily due to Angers’ futility as the club is not only missing key players but also boasts a poor record against their weekend rivals. They have conceded unnecessary goals as well, which gives Lyon the edge, although the visitors shouldn’t be taken lightly at all.

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