first team / Nice - OL D-1

Not really any choice!

Published on the 07 February 2009 à 18:35 by R.B

Beaten by Vannes in the Coupe de la Ligue… held to a draw by ‘the green neighbour’... both Nice and Lyon are looking for revenge this Sunday... for the former, to climb back among the leaders and for the latter, to stay at the top...

Les Niçois are not heading to the Stade de France next April after they were knocked out of the Coupe de la Ligue by Vannes, the Ligue 2 giant-killers. Already eliminated from the Coupe de France, the league is now Nice’s sole priority. With 33 points and a match in hand, everything can still happen. Les Aiglons won’t have forgotten the first meeting between the two this season. Leading 2-0 after 20 minutes, they thought the upset was on the cards. But then Juninho fired home those two free-kicks before that ‘more than generous’ penalty, slotted home by Benzema in stoppage time. They left the Stade Gerland angry. And when you know the Côte d’Azur temperament , their experiences, needless to say, they’ll be looking to avenge that result. And in Loic Remy, they have a former Lyon player, who scored in the first match and will again be looking for a way to goal.

Les Lyonnais made a mess of their derby, credit to Les Verts of course, but also the fatigue from the Cup game against OM. A fifth home draw of the season and the fourth in a row. Bordeaux are just one point behind. Under pressure from Les Girondins, without overlooking the Parisians, Les Marseillais, Rennais, Toulousains or Lillois, OL knows what it has to do this Sunday at the Stade du Ray where it has never lost since it was first crowned French champion. Not that it has ever been easy. Apart from the 4-1 win in 2006-07, les Olympiens have settled for the minimum (4 x 1-0!) and last season, it ended scoreless.

Ederson and Lloris return to their old stamping ground. Grosso and Piquionne are suspended. Delgado, Clerc, Réveillère and Govou are injured. Claude Puel needs to find a left-back AND a right-back. Will OL revert to the three-man midfield of the start of the season (Toulalan, Makoun, Juninho)? Will Keita make his return?

Neither team really has any choice. But will there be a winner? Three of the last four matches have ended in draws. Depending on the results of the other sides in the leading pack another draw may not be a great result... especially with the Champions League fast approaching. If only Lyon could get their mind on the job...
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