What a contrast to the last time we played Olympique Lyonnais in the league. Both sides were gunning for the title but Les Gones were two points ahead of us at the top of the table. We came from behind in that game back in February to earn a valiant point where we were up against an inspired Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal. It was such a massive result in the long run as we then went on to win the title, along with the two domestic cups.
This time around, Lyon find themselves in sixth place and 19 points off us. Can you call it a fall from grace? Well, in all honesty the gulf between ourselves and the likes of Lyon, Monaco and Marseille has been eye opening to say the least. Our closest challengers are a club that finished third in Ligue 2 last season. That is by no means any disrespect to Angers; what they are doing is a fairy-tale. But, it just reaffirms that the usual suspects at the top of the league are far too inconsistent.
Our team is a complete one and the addition of Angel di Maria has taken us to another level. He has come under criticism in some parts of the French press. They believe he should be offering more for the money we paid for him. Nevertheless, he is still one of the worlds finest talents that has only made this Parisian team a stronger one.
There is no point in sugarcoating it; we have the backing to buy the likes of Di Maria where as the other clubs in France are entrusting their youth systems. Lyon are the best example for that in recent times. From the days of Remi Garde up until now with Hubert Fourier in charge. OL though have been suffering from the absence of Nabil Fekir who was ruled out for the season back in September whilst on international duty with France. The Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season for 2014/15 did his cruciate ligaments in his knee. He started the season where he left the last one with four goals but the injury he sustained was a hammer blow to the team. Lyon President Jean-Michel Aulas even blamed the injury on his club’s poor Champions League campaign by telling L’Equipe; “I can guarantee you that with Nabil we would be in the top three in the league and that we would have six more points in the Champions League.”
They invested wisely in the summer and retained last season’s top scorer in Alexandre Lacazette but it has been a campaign to forget for them thus far.
As for ourselves we can welcome Marco Verratti back to the group having been named in the squad for tonight. The little Italian has been missing for over a month since he picked up an ankle injury against Real Madrid. Javier Pastore was on the cusp of a return too but just misses out. It is likely he will feature in the week against Saint-Etienne.