OL will play their first-ever match in their brand-new stadium as ESTAC Troyes - bottom of the table, still winless and needing a miracle to beat the drop - come calling.
A new year, a brand-new stadium, a coach freshly names at the helm of the first team… all these factors should sweep aside the blues that have accompanied the seven-time French champions' last six league outings. What's more, the injury list is slowly being whittled down and key names are starting to return to action. The inauguration of the new stadium has been eagerly, even greedily, awaited. The new arena is now ready to be the canvas for OL's future adventures and to carry the players to ever-greater heights. Bruno Genesio exchanged his assistant coach's outfit for that of the boss, with the mission of getting the side back on track and achieving the objectives set out at the beginning of the season. He began his tenure with a win in the Coupe de France against CFA2 (D5) side Limoges, and despite the gulf between the sides, the win did the Lyon players the world of good.
Now OL need to shift up a gear for a packed month of January that will feature a derby in Saint-Etienne, Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final at the Parc des Princes and a visit from OM… OL has ambitions in the cups, while in the league Clément Grenier and co. have come to a standstill, or just about, over the last six weeks. One draw (one point in Nantes) and five defeats! They have slipped down the standings but haven't been left behind, but only trail second-placed Monaco by six points. Six points is still a lot, but not enough to force Genesio and his men to lose hope. OL can climb back to where they were as quickly as they slipped down… especially as the injured players return to action.
Victory is indispensable in order for OL to begin the adventure of their new stadium well, and above all, for them to get back on track. There would be nothing better than getting into a positive dynamic to erase the doubts that crept in during OL's recent Ligue 1 performances
ESTAC Troyes are in a much tighter spot than Lyon: eight points and no wins after 19 matches. Sterile in attack and porous in defence, they already trail the second-from-bottom club by 13 points. It's not known what mission new Troyes coach Robin - who replaced Furlan - has been charged with, but it would seem that a miracle would be needed if it involved the concept of beating the drop. Troyes have managed to stop losing - they have drawn their last three Ligue 1 matches and made it into the last 32 of the Coupe de France. With relegation almost a certainty, Troyes will have little to lose, and this could make them dangerous. They will be without the suspended Darbion on Saturday.
Alex Lacazette was absent for the Coupe de France win over Limoges, as was Ferri (suspended), Valbuena, Fekir, Fofana and Rafael. Jordan Ferri will be back on Saturday, however, ad the same should go for Lacazette. After fielding a 4-3-3 against Limoges, will Bruno Genesio change back to a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield? He spoke about both systems in his first press conference as OL coach… and could change things up in the course of the match.
Victory is indispensable in order for OL to begin the adventure of their new stadium well, and above all, for them to get back on track. There would be nothing better than getting into a positive dynamic to erase the doubts that crept in during OL's recent Ligue 1 performances. OL need to step up; defeat on Saturday would be incomprehensible even though no-one can deny it will be a very special 90 minutes.