Masculins / OL - Lorient D-1

Time for the traditional rebound?

Published on 22 January 2008 at 6:55 PM
The art of the rebound, the ability to bounce back, a talent unto itself, held so dear by Gérard Houllier and eagerly anticipated at the Stade Gerland this Wednesday…. After to pale defeats, Lyon will be looking for a return to form and all three points when they host Lorient…
Two huge upsets in five days is more than enough! Time to sweep away the excuses, however valid and dive back into the championship race, far from over, on a winning note. OL’s lead at the top looks nothing like that of the preceding two seasons – a three point buffer still 17 matches from the end. Bordeaux have moved threatening into second. They are breathing hard on Lyon, although the champions aren’t reaching for the panic button just yet. If Lyon can rediscover all its virtue and talent, nothing will stop them making it seven crowns in a row. But the time is now to solve all the problems experienced in the last 180 minutes of football. An end to the bad luck, a return of the injured players, a profitable January transfer window…

And while we wait for everything to return to order, here come Les Merlus. The Brittany players are not the biggest fish to fry in France, but they have enough bones to make them very tough to digest. The strike duo Saïfi-Vahirua has scored nearly 70 per cent of the team’s goals. The Tahitian especially likes playing against OL. He’s scored seven goals against the champions in spells with Nantes, Nice and now Lorient! The midfielder Abriel doesn’t miss much – he hasn’t missed a minute of Ligue 1 this season! Indeed with last season added on he’s played 5,310 consecutive minutes of top flight football. And then there’s Audard between the posts, and more than capable of defending his goal. Apart from fie conceded in one game against Auxerre, Lorient’s defence has held firm. Coached by the perfectionist Professor Gourcuff. A team prepared to play good football. A team with great spirit. It is the team the least penalised in the land.

[IMG42342#R]The mental approach, the determination, the aggressiveness, desire, teamwork…? Those are the ingredients that OL was largely lacking against Le Mans and Lens. Add to that list finishing, of course. Awaiting the final additions of the transfer market, Alain Perrin has barely a squad of 18 to choose from. He is still without the indispensable presence of Juninho and Govou. He’ll have to choose the right starting XI, knowing that OL are playing their third match in eight days and that the derby against Saint-Etienne awaits this weekend. Changes or no changes? Clerc could come in for Réveillère. Will Delgado start? Fred? Keep the same midfield? The players that need a break will have to wait…

The only aim against les Merlus: rebound and win. It’s this ability to bounce back which has characterised recent OL sides. Old habits die hard…

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