first team / OL - Lens D-1

Take stock... take the points

Published on the 28 September 2007 à 17:34 by R.B

After the good point taken against Lille, or the two lost depending on how you look at it, Les Lyonnais don’t really have any choice against a Lens side that has struggled so far this season... A sixth win of the season is expected at the end of this rescheduled Week 3 encounter…

This match in hand between Lyon and Lens will be played between a Coupe de la Ligue victory for the latter and a crucial European encounter for both sides. In the UEFA Cup, Les Sang et Or will need to produce a great match to overcome FC Copenhagen and qualify for the next round. The sextuple French champions know that if they are to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League they can’t afford any slip-ups at home, which starts with Tuesday’s visit of Glasgow Rangers to the Stade Gerland.

Back on the domestic scene, with just two points from four games Lens president Gervais Martel had to deal with crisis number one. Guy Roux quit the club, replaced by JP Papin. But for the moment, Lens’ strikers are yet to prove as prolific in front of goal as JPP in his hey-day, managing at best, an average of just a goal a game. Luckily, the defensive foundations are strong. So far, that’s has saved the club from total humiliation. And in their last four games (2 in the league and one in the UEFA Cup), Demont and Co are undefeated. But they’ll need more than that to climb out of the domestic doldrums and live up to the pre-season expectation. They’ll have to it without Hilton, one of club’s key players, out injured.

The results, the quality of the play and the behind the scenes rumours are attracting a mixed bag of comments. Everything is analysed, broken down, and above all, amplified beyond reason. The price of success! Ahead of the visit of Rangers and the tricky trip to Bordeaux, Lyon have to deal with this difficult calendar by taking points! With three matches in nine days, including two in four, Alain Perrin will be obliged to rotate his playing squad, especially keeping in mind that Toulalan will be suspended against Bordeaux.

Efficient against Metz, bypassed in Catalunya, unlucky against Lille … OL certainly has the arms to deal with a side that has struggled in recent years at the Stade Gerland. Juni knows that Lens are his preferred target. He has scored eight of his 61 league goals against them, including seven against Itandje, “his favourite ‘keeper”. But the ‘Big Cat’ has since moved on to pastures new…

With Cléber Anderson not qualified,Mathieu Bodmer, will slip back into the centre of defence. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see the Brazilian back in the team and the former Lille ace back in the midfield. Two promising performances against Lille need to be built upon: those of Kader Keita and Fabio Grosso, both hoping to show the quality they are renowned for…
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