Just another 90 minutes and OL will be able to take a breath… still 90 minutes to achieve a faultless run in this marathon where 3 competitions have crossed paths…
So the Lyonnais are 90 minutes away from a superb performance. Sure, nothing is guaranteed and in every match of the marathon there have a few hiccups, moments of fear, some absences and some gifts. We can also talk about the weakness in defence… As the games have accumulated, so has the fatigue… But also a lot of joy; some revelations; confirmations; awesome moves; many goals; some superb goals; a drive both individual and collective that stops at nothing.
OL has re-taken the lead L1, qualified for the next round of the Coupe de la Ligue and has got its Cham pions League campaign back on track while securing at least a place in the UEFA Cup. All without Coupet, Cris, Toulalan and Müller and with a Fred in need of game time to get back to his best. So, in the clear light of day, we should really appreciate the calibre of OL’s performance these past few weeks.
Marathon enthusiasts know that you have to break through “The Wall” before you can catch your breath and get your legs back in order to finish the race well. It happens in your head, this battle between giving up in the face of suffering and the desire to fight on towards better times ahead. On Sunday night, the mental aspect towards this astonishing performance could well be decisive, as it was on Wednesday, as evidenced by the remarkable Sidney Govou. The Wall was shattered by his pure effort of will! So, with a measure of freshness in the starting 11, OL is certainly capable of pulling off this stunning run of results.
[IMG42340#R]The Phocaeans are in quite a mess, languishing 20 points behind OL. They’re relegation candidates. Cissé is no longer a certain starter, let alone a start at all. Taiwo commits blunder after blunder. Zenden is disappointing… OM hasn’t shone in attack… the action behind the scenes is frenetic. Patience has never been a virtue of the Marseillais. Happily Mandanda, Niang, Valbuena, Bonnart, Cana… and Nasri, returning from injury, are still holding the torch high, even though it is becoming a millstone, except in the Champions League, where Cana and co are in the running for a place in the knockout phase. OM never does things the way the others do. OM always turns heads often, in recent times, for the wrong reasons. OM has the quality, but just can’t seem to express it enough or the right way.
But watch out, Olympiens from the banks of the Rhône, this club has a strong record at Gerland: in their last 5 visits, they’ve won 1, drawn 2 and lost 1… and also won a knockout round of the Coupe de France. OM is a wounded tiger, don’t forget! And also, OL-OM always feels like an evenly-matched fixture despite the rankings. The two sides’ ambitions? They are clear. Winning on one side; not losing on the other. Before the national team break, there’s no question of an armistice… it’s all or nothing.