the empire of the Lyon environment against PSG

The Brazilian Lucas Paqueta, midfielder, has impressed since his arrival in Lyon.

The good health of a football team often goes through the center. What is called the midfielder in the term. Winner of only one of their first six games of the season (the first, against Dijon), Olympique Lyonnais (OL) has been doing better for almost two months. Four consecutive victories, six victories in their last seven outings, the Lyonnais appear, Sunday at 9 p.m., against the leader of the championship, Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG), in a form they had not known since an eternity in Ligue 1.

This recovery, initially gradual, has become spectacular since two meetings, with the victories against Reims (3-0), at the end of November, and Metz (3-1), at the beginning of December. Noticed by Europe during the “Final 8” of the Champions League in August in Portugal, the Lyon midfielder is the base of this new dynamic.

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In Lisbon, the talent of the middle three, Bruno Guimaraes, Houssem Aouar and Maxence Caqueret, had allowed the establishment of a rapid transition game able to topple Manchester City in the quarter-finals and pose some problems in the first period in the semi-finals to the future winner of the competition, Bayern Munich.

Then patatras, at the start of the season, Rudi Garcia’s players struggled again, unable to find a solution against low-block teams on the ground – the opposite of prestigious opponents in the Champions League.

The caricature of these shortcomings was expressed during the reception of an Olympique de Marseille wait as never before, on October 4 during the sixth day. The Lyonnais did not manage to beat a team gathered in its half of the field for ninety minutes (1-1).

“During the Final 8, Lyon, which has always been a team that played the game, betrayed its principles a little. They had decided to wait and regroup behind. We had to digest that during the resumption in Ligue 1 and we did not find the dominant Lyon that we appreciate ”, observes Benoît Cauet, ex-midfielder of PSG and Inter Milan.

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Consultant for Canal +, the former midfielder of Rennes and Nantes, Jocelyn Gourvennec, knows the Lyon club well, since the club management had invited him to a job interview when it was necessary to replace Sylvinho, Brazilian coach thanked last season. It was ultimately Rudi Garcia who was chosen.

The Breton technician points to a decisive meeting in the first half of the Lyon season: “Lyon struggled to win. The shift occurred against the Monegasques ” October 25 (4-1 victory). ” Garcia decided to play the transition. He relies on a strong midfielder who notably has this ability to use the rapid transition. “

For Gourvennec, the best teams are “Able to do both”, both to maneuver against formations positioned in defense with low blocks and to play quickly forward. “You have to be able to be able to make twenty-five passes before scoring a goal as well as to make only three before finding yourself in goal situation. Lyon is getting closer to that, a notch below clubs like Manchester City, Liverpool or PSG ”, he adds.

Recruited on September 30 from AC Milan, midfielder Lucas Paqueta greatly participated in this mini-revolution. In delicacy in Lombardy, this Brazilian spotted by the sports director of PSG, Leonardo, found in Lyon the environment to revive. During the derby against Saint-Etienne, he helped to reverse (from 1-0 for the Greens to 2-1 for OL), or against Metz a week ago, Paqueta is unanimous.

Houssem Aouar is part of this Lyon midfielder, complementary and efficient.

“He balances enormously the game of Aouar. I’m glad Juni [Juninho, directeur sportif de l’OL] looked for Paqueta, he wears number 12 like Juni when he arrived, that’s a sign. Since Fekir left, we needed a player like that, who sees before receiving the ball ”, delivered Sonny Anderson, the former Lyon goléador, to the local media Inside Gones.

Asked about it, Benoît Cauet, connoisseur of Italian Serie A, appreciates its specificity. “He’s an all-terrain midfielder. He has generosity, determination and a large running volume, notes the former Inter Milan. The more the match comes to an end, the more he is able to make a difference. ” Jocelyn Gourvennec attributes an additional quality to it: “It’s very, very hard to take the ball away from him because he has impressive ball protection. When you have to play under pressure from the opponent, this is ideal. “

Transparent for a year after his arrival from Lille, Thiago Mendes, another Brazilian, also finds his best level. Barely since the recovery, after a sparkling debut in February, the third midfielder auriverde, Bruno Guimaraes, is again in legs. If we add to its three Brazilian players (each recruited for more than 20 million euros) the two midfielders from Lyon – Houssem Aouart and Maxence Caqueret – OL therefore has five high-level and complementary players.

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“It allows you to be super aggressive, to win the balls higher up the field and to throw in front of players who go fast. Lyon is being built through its environment, which can be a basis for finding better results, Cauet hopes. All of these midfielders know how to invent things with the ball. The real freedom for these kinds of players is to give them the opportunity to create passes and goal actions together. “

Against PSG, which seems to have put aside its difficulties at the start of the season, thanks in particular to the return of the best midfielder in Ligue 1, the Italian Marco Verratti, OL will need a trio, in their midfield. -game, in great shape. “In Ligue 1, technically, there is no better than Verratti and Rafinha [dernière recrue du PSG] even if the Lyonnais are getting closer. On the other hand athletically, the first comes back from injury and the second is less comfortable when the level of intensity climbs “, judge Gourvennec.

To hope to gain the upper hand in this sector of play over PSG, Rudi Garcia should align Thiago Mendes behind Houssem Aouar and Lucas Paqueta. With the possibility of bringing in, during the match, Guimaraes or Caqueret. “Rudi Garcia likes to win the battle of the midfield, sometimes to the point of making individual markings on the opposing midfielder”, explains Gourvennec. In Lyon to confirm its transformation into a middle empire.


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