Time to face their demons: Lyon vs. Reims preview

Tomorrow, Lyon will face their most challenging enemy to date: Stade de Reims.

Reims set the tone for the year when, in the second game of this season, they imposed Lyon’s first defeat. It was a rather prophetic moment that heralded two things – Lyon’s inability to chain matches, as well as their propensity to drop points against smaller clubs.

Friday, January 11th, 2019
Parc OL, Lyon
2:45 PM EST (20h45 CET)

Background info:

It’s been a tough few days for Les Gones. Dumped unceremoniously out of the Coupe de la Ligue by Strasbourg, and with PSG’s exit the following day, the players have to live with the knowledge that their own attitudes cost them their best chance at silverware.

It’s hard to say how morose the players actually are. Throwing away games is par for the course for Lyon, whose lack of motivation against smaller clubs is old news. They show no evidence of learning from their mistakes, with everyone from the manager down to the bench players sharing the blame. Nothing has changed since that first loss back in early August.

And that’s great news for Reims. Currently hanging out in 9th place, they’ve won 6, drawn 8, and lost 5 games. With 15 goals scored and 18 conceded, they have one of the best defenses in the league. And with their schedule considerably less congested than Lyon’s, their players are not as affected by squad rotation.

Le groupe rémois: Carrasso, Mendy – Abdelhamid, Disasi, Engels, Foket, Fontaine, Konan – Cafaro, Chavalerin, Dingome, Kamara, Mbemba, Romao – Chavarria, Dia, Ojo, Oudin

Pablo Chavarria is back in the squad after an injury layoff. Captain Alaixys Romao returns after serving a suspension. And while they don’t have a prolific striker (their top scorer has managed only 3 goals), it doesn’t matter when playing against Lyon, who are more likely to concede against the run of play or from a set-piece.

Pablo Chevarria is ready to score more goals against Lyon.

The way that Lyon miss easy chances, are inattentive at marking opposing players, and concede foolish opportunities are three big reasons that Reims will believe they can win all 3 points.

Team News:

Besides the overall malaise that’s been affecting the team since forever, Genesio’s biggest headache is that Lyon’s attacking players have been lackluster in front of  goal. With the season halfway over, no player has yet come anywhere near double digits. Genesio’s only saving grace is the distribution of goals, with more players ending up on the scoresheet. Still, it doesn’t bode well that his top scorer is a midfielder.

Lyon are currently in 3rd place, with 9 wins, 5 draws, and 4 losses. With 30 goals scored and 21 conceded, their defensive record is so-so while offensively, they are barely hanging on.

Le groupe lyonnais: Lopes, Gorgelin – Tete, Dubois, Denayer, Marcelo, Mendy, Morel, Marcal – Aouar, Ndombele, Cheikh – Dembele, Traore, Terrier, Fekir, Cornet, Memphis

Lucas Tousart and Rafael are still out, but Maxwel Cornet and Jeremy Morel are fit for duty. With a mostly healthy squad, as well as the advent of the Coupe Gambardella, that means Maxence Caqueret and Oumar Solet return to the youth team.

Possible Lineup:

L’Equipe reports the following as a likely arrangement:


Denayer – Marcelo – Marcal

Dubois – Ndombele – Aouar – Mendy


Traore – Memphis

All eyes will be on Nabil Fekir, who bore the brunt of the criticism following Lyon’s defeat to Strasbourg. The captain has had a poor season so far, and besides a few moments (albeit incredibly crucial ones), he’s been a shadow of his usual self. As for Betrand Traore and Memphis Depay, expectations are fairly low, so any positive action is an improvement.

Missing: Nabil Fekir, Captain. If found, please return to Groupama Stadium in Lyon, France.

Otherwise, there’s nothing unusual about this formation. With the exception of Leo Dubois, who is playing at the expense of Kenny Tete, the above is Genesio’s favorite combination. Unfortunately, this lineup fills me with no confidence whatsoever. You could line up these guys in front of an open goal, and they’d still find a way to miss.

It’s a sad day when Lyon’s best lineup is no more effective than their worst. But that’s life these days.

But there is one light in the dark tunnel. Reims made the unfortunate choice of having green away jerseys. There’s a chance that OL players will see it and think it’s St. Etienne instead.

Viewing Options:

  • beIN Sports Connect (United States)
  • DAZN, beIN Sports Connect (Canada)
  • ESPN Norte (Mexico)
  • Canal + Sport (France)
  • BT Sport 1 (Great Britain)
  • Other countries

Expected Results:

2-2. I don’t know if I should even bother with score predictions anymore. It’s hard to imagine anything except a clusterfuck when it comes to this team.



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