first team / OL - TFC J-1

"La vie en rose " for OL?

Published on the 11 August 2006 à 19:30 by R.B

Three months almost to the day after OL’s bonanza against Le Mans (8-1), they take to the pitch in Stade Gerland already leading the table after their win in Nantes. And there are internationals back in play…

A fifth Championship title under their belts and three goals in Nantes from the first day of the new season, without most of their international players, prove that OL already have an appetite. The winning-machine is once more revving up despite several absences in the team, some untried players, new ones, and the rumbles from behind the scenes. All that’s left is to take the three points from their first home game, as they did in four other successful seasons. Will TFC go the way of Strasbourg, Monaco, and Sedan (twice), or will they rather take Sochaux’s route and hold Lyon to a draw… never mind the possibility of a victory? The Toulousains paid dearly for the two set-pieces taken to the net by Bordeaux. And so Elie Baup’s team find themselves at the bottom of the table, perhaps following the loss with another less than inspiring away performance. From the runners-up ground to that of the 2006 champions, there are surely better ways to get the season off to a good start!

Mombaerts has ceded his place on the bench to Baup ; Elmander and Fabinho are available; Revault will pass the gloves over to Douchez, who put in such a dazzling performance on the 25 March last at Stade Gerland, perhaps spurred on by the ex “Fabulous Fab”; Santos, Taïder and Congré are still absent… The goal of finishing in the top ten of the ranking has been clearly outlined by the club president Sadran, after a thirteenth place end to the season and twice ending in sixteenth since their promotion to L1. TFC’s pink shirts arrive between the Rhône and the Saône; not, we imagine, to do a spot of sightseeing ! “We know that OL are favourites. But we can cause an upset against them like we did last season. We’re ready to put up a real challenge in this match, and make them work hard. We’ll have to be solid in defence.” Veteran Dominique Arribagé is ready to play again after being out through injury, and, as evidenced by his fighting words on the club’s website, goes into the match determined.

Les Lyonnais will dominate in terms of possession; at home as much as away, they’re accustomed to that. Patience, focus, vigilance, realism, and humility will be required once more. Teamwork and individual flair in combination. “It’ll be very, very difficult against TFC”. Gérard Houllier makes no bones about it. “At the start of a new season, you have to roll up your sleeves, get back in gear, and set things in motion. We have to avoid being made to feel complacent by the media. However, I’m sure that our first two fixtures (PSG and Nantes) will stand to us on Saturday”.

Coupet, Juninho,Tiago and Malouda are all back. While Coupet will start, the other three will be on the bench to begin with. So those are the changes since the Nantes game. Even though the holiday season is in full swing, Gerland, with its newly verdant turf, will be more or less sold out. OL come up with the goods, even in the Summer, that’s nothing new. With three points from this clash, there’ll really be cause for celebration. We like the sound of it… now we just have to write it for real.
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