first team / ASSE - OL

More important than ever

Published on the 10 November 2013 à 18:15 by R.B

Each derby match is special, but this Sunday's 107th seems to be even more important than usual... Olympique Lyonnais can draw level on the table with Les Verts if they can win…

 Les Olympiens returned from Croatia on Friday morning at 2:30am, but fatigue should not be an issue on the pitch at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Rémi Garde chose to leave his starting XI in Lyon, apart from, perhaps, the goalkeeper Gorgelin who retain his place between the posts. This first derby of the 2013-14 season, without any travelling OL supporters, has a lot more at stake that just regional supremacy. OL are climbing back up the standings after a slow start to the season. Yes, the top three (PSG, ASM, LOSC) have made impressive starts and are looking good, but behind the leading trio, everything looks possible… as long as the club doesn't drop too many more points along the way.

OL have to make up ground. Les Verts have seen their pace slacken in recent weeks. They were sitting second on 12 points after Week 5. But they are still undefeated in their last three outings (1 win and 2 draws) and have a three-point lead over their neighbours. They can extend that lead on Sunday. But they have rarely managed to do that, aside from that famous victory at the Stade Gerland. Motivation won't be lacking for Loïc Perrin and his teammates who haven't won a home derby since April 6, 1994! Since that 3-0 victory, they have been living on hope... Without Brandao and Zouma, suspended, Christophe Galtier will be without two important elements for his side, even though he still has options. Les Stéphanois have to play to the end of the 90 minutes because they have already dropped 5 points in the final minutes against Bastia, Monaco and PSG…

We know how Les Lyonnais have prepared for this 107th derby. Apart from the goalkeeper, the starting XI almost writes itself, despite the performance against HNK Rijeka. It's hard to see how Rémi Garde could change the ten outfield players that started against EAG, providing Gonalons is ok, in the 4-4-2. In Croatia, certain players got some much-needed playing time and showed some real quality, Pléa for example was excellent... others show the limits of their current form...

At the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, OL have to confirm their improved form since the loss to Montpellier. They need it for their points tally, they need the boost before the international break and to be ready to attack the final marathon of matches to finish 2013. This really is an important derby...

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