Ligue 1: OL or the art of scuttling, a habit that comes (too) far to be corrected?


Almost three days and it still stings at OL. Two goals in advance in Nice, second provisional place in pocket, ten minutes to play, then the Bouglione circus. A home scuttling that Lyon supporters feel they have seen a thousand times since Pep Genesio, via Rudi Garcia, Sylvinho, and the youngest, Peter Bosz. A little taste of coming back to it which could not leave the Excel team indifferent to 20 minutes. A good hour to review all of Lyon’s results since the 2016-2017 season, and some heavy stuff at the finish:

In five seasons, 39 OL matches in C1 + L1 + national cups have swung one way or the other since the 80th minute, a huge figure for a team supposed to master most of its opponents. Of these 39 turnovers in the broad sense (an equalizer for or against Lyon is taken into account), 22 did not smile on the teammates of Houssem Aouar. Or 57% of points lost at the very end of the match, including some irresistible nuggets that we have to remember:

– The very first time : OL-Bordeaux, August 19, 2017. An incredible lob from Fekir, a red card for Darder, 3-1 in the 88th minute… 3-3 at the final whistle after a close match from Malcom.

– Confirmation: Monaco-OL in January 2018, 0-2 in the 30th minute, Monaco reduced to ten… 3-2 on a Rony Lopes pawn three minutes from the end. Clap clap.

– The double: Hoffenheim in a pool match in the fall of 2018. German equalization in the 92nd round trip.

– The beautiful series: Signed Sylvinho in the fall of 2019. Amiens-OL? Bodmer equalized in the 91st. OL-PSG? Neymar’s goal in the 87th. Brest OL? Court equalization in the 85th. The Derby? Defeat on a goal from Beric in the 90th.

– The masterpiece: How can we forget the title match against Lille last season? 2-0 in the 30th, 2-3 on a last against Yilmaz in the 85th.

There, the neutral follower said to himself that it happens to everyone, and that OL also overturned matches that got off to a bad start at the end (Depay at the Vélodrome, Cherki at Louis II). Certainly. But when you play for the L1 podium every year, when you have a workforce better than 90% of the competition, you might think that the idea is to win as many points as possible in the last quarter of an hour, not the reverse.

“So we go out”

Let’s compare to see with the Lille de Galtier, the one who played at the top of the table from the 2018-2019 season. Counting this not-so-fantastic start to the season, 19 Losc matches turned into money time. Thirteen times, these meetings were shifted to the north side, i.e. only 32% of points lost in the end!

The Lille lighting confirms the disastrous bias of the Lyonnais from the 80th minute, which we quickly put on the back of a mentally weak group, for a few years. This is the explanation given by most supporters and even by Léo Dubois, hot, after Nice:

I do not understand. In the first half, we were a thousand times better than them. Then we turn off. It’s recurring. I thought we had passed a level but it is not the case. Technically, we were above them on the pitch. We just went crazy. We have to look at what happened, control our emotions and grow mentally”.

Digging a little deeper, however, these repeated scenarios find much more rational explanations, which should make JMA and Juninho worry a bit about the future.

A team without tactical discipline

A 20 minutes, we have often made fun of Lyon’s DNA – “it sucks but at least we vibrate” – which offered us its share of beautiful European evenings. A big mess theorized by Genesio himself one evening when the game fell on the right side: “I don’t know if my team is capable of playing a match where we will be content to control, to defend well. We have a playful team, which likes to attack when it has the ball, which sometimes likes to disorganize to attack well ”.

Except during the big posters which push him to a saving self-discipline, OL of the Genesio years was built on a not always readable arrangement of its different individuals, combining a certain offensive panache with a disorganization guilty of the loss of the ball. . No technician who succeeded him has managed to bring defensive stability to a team which sometimes evolves, to caricature, like Bayern with the ball, and like Montceau-les-Mines without. A defect in the collective structure which weighs particularly at the end of the match, when the players draw physically:

– Sylvinho tried to make them a boring team to play, to no avail.

– Rudi Garcia has bet on offensive transitions at full speed (we’ll come back to this).

– Peter Bosz believes he has arrived at Barça (we will also come back to this).

Too clumsy attackers

Beyond his largely avoidable dismissal, Kadewere’s game couldn’t sum up Lyon’s long-term weaknesses better: forwards not talented enough to sustain the pattern of play. The Zimbabwean missed two huge chances that would have changed everything, if you consider that a three-goal lead, even for OL, that’s enough.

Two failures that recall the end of last season, when Lyon let the podium slip away with lost head-to-heads. Toko Ekambi, touched by a personal drama, thus ended the season with the worstexpected objectives Europe or not far, according to the Understat site, with 14 goals scored for 18 which should have been. According to this specific criterion, OL should have finished the season with 3 points more, champion ahead of PSG and Monaco, while Lille outperformed at an unprecedented level (15 points more than expected given the content of the matches).

OL should have been champions if they had been more efficient last year. – Screenshot / Understat

Already in 2018-2019, OL were the only team in the lead car not to navigate in terms ofexpected objectives, both marked and cashed. A statistical reality which should have led the staff to choose another tactical approach for the end of the season, even if it is a whole art of defensive culture which has been lacking for too long to hold the 2-0 against Lille at home. formidable tool.

Coaches unable to close shop

It is the above factors that, by force, create mental fragility in the workforce and not the other way around. Raymond Domenech, who does not just talk nonsense, summed it up on the L’Equipe channel after the derby:

The Lyonnais play, they attack, that’s good. But they don’t make a difference. Sometimes, they find themselves in difficulty by leaving boulevards to the adversary. Every time the ball goes to the other side, they leave someone free. There are spaces everywhere, on the right, on the left. It is complicated ! These defensive problems are not new, but OL must move on.”

Does this something correspond to what Peter Bosz wants to bring? The Lyon coach’s speech was eagerly awaited after Nice. Would he take the defeat for himself, as the circumstances demanded? No, the Lyon coach publicly criticized Emerson, after asking him to play the whole match, and defending his choice to leave Kadewere out until the tragedy, an option which had already almost cost a lot in the Europa League against at Sparta Prague. .

Barbe-Bosz is not happy.
Barbe-Bosz is not happy. – Screenshot / Asterix

His second cold intervention, Monday evening, did not reassure more:

I didn’t think this team could play like that. This gives me a lot of confidence for the future. We see a team that plays together, that presses high, with a lot of space in the back, that plays good football”.

It’s nice on paper, and sometimes even on the pitch, but does Peter Bosz really know where he fell? These eight points lost in stoppage time since the start of the season have not fallen from the sky, and OL will not have a three-goal lead every Saturday to rest easy. On Sunday, the former Leverkusen coach succumbed to the famous change of panic (a fifth defender to finish) that the Lyon supporters abhorred in Genesio and Garcia, as if he had not yet understood the extent of the work. We wish him good luck.


Comments are closed.