first team / OL - LOSC D -1

A perfect opportunity?

Published on the 16 October 2010 à 14:03 by R.B

The visit of an unbeaten Lille side could allow OL to wipe away the defeat suffered at the hands of Saint-Etienne, all the while continuing a run of victories started just before the break in Israel, then against Nancy...

"We no longer have any jokers..." The sentence pronounced by Claude Puel at the press briefing on Friday summed up the situation at OL and the importance of the match against Lille. There is no need to look back at the events and statements of recent weeks. One look at the table is all that is needed to clarify the issue. OL seriously lack points, while Lille are in third place and remain unbeaten. But, only 6 points separate the two teams...

Will the seven-time champions of France finally string together two consecutive wins in the league? Will OL finally score more than one goal at the Stade Gerland in a match? Will OL be reconciled with their supporters? Will OL have digested the international break? Will Cris return to the starting line-up? What faces will Lisandro and Gourcuff show? Questions which are us much fears as well as hopes. This team no longer has any choice. They seem to have kicked off their season in Israel after the terrible disappointment of the one hundredth derby. Now they have to confirm this turn around against a formidable Lille side who have managed three draws at Gerland in their last three visits. Lille have a well balanced squad that draws its strength from a stability serviced by the talents of Gervinho, Hazard et al. They are one of the contenders for the final podium and may indeed succeed in a superb exploit in Lyon.

OL, just like Lille, will end the calendar year with a great deal of matches, with 16 or 17 before the winter break. Cris is back after playing just 150 minutes since early August. He should be associated with remarkable Diakhaté in the centre of defence. Depending on the presence or not of Toulalan, a choice wil have to be made concerning a defensive midfielder. A replacement must also be found for "first choice" Jimmy Briand, who is suspended, in the knowledge that Delgado is forfeit. Knowing also that Lyon will play an important game three days later in the Champions League against Benfica.

So, is this game against Lille the perfect opportunity to rebuild their strength? We would be tempted to say yes. Defeating such an opponent is definitely an advantage in view of a desire to climb up the table and reconcile the team with their supporters. It would also bring back a certain amount of calm to the club.

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