first team / OL - Nice D-1

The Aiglons to wrap up before Christmas

Published on the 14 December 2007 à 20:24 by R.B

After taking Rangers’ scalp and qualifying in the Champions League, the Olympiens now turn their attention to the Aiglons of Nice for the last home game of the calendar year. A kind of early Christmas celebration and a chance to once again become the autumn champions…

One last effort. The last home game with another tie away to Nancy 7 days later – no time to sit back and savour the win over Glasgow in the Champions League, just enough to regain a bit of freshness before taking on the next challengers.

But watch out, Nice are no slouches: with veterans like Echouafni, Rool, Jeunechamp, Laslandes and Letizi, have a wealth of experience to draw on. On top of that the 2 Cyrils are renowned hunters who are hard to put off their prey. Striker Laslandes is back in scoring form, continuing his 15 years of terrorising goalkeepers – he now has respectable 126 L1 goals to his name! But the “age” of the Nice squad hasn’t slowed them down at all. Manager Antonetti is a fine leader; supersonic striker Koné, pit bull Balmont, the solid Kanté, the elegant Ederson, left-footer Hellebuyck and the aerially dominant Lloris all combine youth and talent. OGCN is now a formidably tough nut to crack. After all, don’t they have a record of 7 matches undefeated and an ironclad defence?

[IMG42657#R]OL, still among Europe’s finest, lead the pack on the French domestic scene. Sure, their recent trip to Normandy ended in defeat. But it was an unimportant loss, Nancy still trailing OL by 4 points. The same Nancy that OL must face in a week’s time to end the year. So how do they make the transition, while awaiting the trip to Lorrain from a game in Glasgow on Wednesday to playing on Saturday afternoon in Lyon? By making the most of their immense experience; by riding the wave of Champions League qualification; by looking to reward their fans; by demonstrating once again their unquenchable thirst for victory; and by making the most of some fresh legs being rotated into the squad by Alain Perrin, who nonetheless declared in his press conference: “there will be no squad rotation”.

So victory is expected. OL can wrap up the title of the autumn champions; they can also maintain or even increase their lead at the top of the table; and go into the break with a taste of success from their last home match of 2007. It would be their 16th win of the calendar year at Gerland. And it would be a magnificent way to wrap up a magnificent week.