first team / Caen - OL D-1

Time to buck the trend…

Published on the 30 October 2007 à 11:11 by R.B

3rd competition in 4 matches for the 6-time champions of France, who have stepped up the pace in the last month. Now it’s time for the Coupe de la Ligue in Normandy against a newly promoted side that has begun to find its feet in L1 in the last 3 rounds…

Who remembers this? OL’s last away win in the Coupe de la Ligue dates back to a quarter-final in Amiens all the way back in 2001! So, it’s been ages since Sidney Govou and co have won on the road in this competition. In the best cases, they went down on penalties, 4 times in fact. Last season, they made it to the Stade de France, having won all their matches at home, but Henrique’s header spoiled the party.

On paper, there is no comparing Caen and OL. The Normans are back in L1 after 2 years in L2 and are managing to keep their heads above water mainly through good form at home, where they have taken 11 of their 12 points… and scored all of their 8 goals. For the rest, things are pretty bad for Franck Dumas’ men, many of whom are injured: Lemaitre, Deroin, and Svensson… And Benjamin Nivet will be suspended. However, in the last 32, the Caennais snatched qualification in Toulouse with a mixed team. A penalty shootout. It shows the lads from the Malherbe have grit, and they haven’t conceded in 3 matches now.

The Lyonnais are on another planet. They go from competition to competition and victory to victory. They’ve recaptured their strong team play; certain players have lifted their games; others have taken theirs to the next level… and there is strength in depth on the bench. Alain Perrin will give some game time to Keita, Fred, maybe even Paillot. And then there’s Baros who must be champing at the bit to play. Others will have a well-earned rest. But who Govou ? Benzema ? Juninho ? Cleber Anderson will certainly get a rest, suspended after his send off against PSG.

The Olympiens can’t afford to let this match, and this competition, slip. OL has the means to be competitive in every competition; it allows all the players to stay on top of their game. For the moment, theirs is enough football to go around, but not all dishes taste the same.

So the Olympiens just need to shake this hoodoo that has beset them on the road in this competition since 2001. Bordeaux, Sochaux, Lens, Lille and Nantes not to mention Bordeaux at the Stade de France. There have only been sad return journeys for years now. It’s getting to be too much. It’s time to buck the trend…