Masculins / OL - VAFC

Continue to good run

Published on 22 November 2013 at 8:00 PM
OL are back on track ahead of this weekend's clash with relegation-threatened Valenciennes, themselves on the back of two positive results... The seven-time French champions, starts a marathon run of nine matches in 29 days on Saturday...

The incredible derby win over Saint-Etienne has given OL a massive boost. The images of collective joy that followed Jimmy Briand's thrilling winner still bring goose bumps and also optimism for the future. Against Saint-Etienne, OL recorded a second consecutive win in the league for the first time since Weeks 1 and 2, and climbed above their derby rivals into seventh place.

The joy of that last Ligue 1 outing was followed by the national team break. The club's internationals returned with, or without, a smile on their faces depending on their results. Vercoutre took advantage of the break to have another friendly match with the reserves while Rémi Garde completed his training badges. Everyone was soon back at Tola Vologe to prepare for this match against 18th placed VAFC, the first in a series of 9 matches in 29 days ahead of the winter break. There's the Ligue 1 championship where the club must continue to pick up points to climb back up the table... A last-16 clash in the Coupe de la Ligue… and two Europa League matches with the club's qualification on the line. A marathon of matches before the festive season!

Les Valenciennois have other things to worry about. Not involved in European football and already eliminated from the Coupe de la Ligue, the club are desperate for points to climb out of the relegation zone. A series of seven consecutive defeats placed VAFC well behind the eight-ball and ultimately cost coach Sanchez his place on the bench. Things have improved a bit since then, but only marginally, with six points in five games, but only one defeat and they are still deep in trouble. VAFC are without defender Rose, a name to be added to the list of summer departures. The second worst attack away from home with five goals scored in two matches out of six, will be taking on one of the best home defences with OL conceding just three goals at home...

OL have the chance to record a third straight win in Ligue 1, something they haven't done up until now this season. OL have the chance to win their first match after an international break, another thing they haven't done this season. To do it, Rémi Garde will almost certainly stick with his new 4-4-2 formation that he has used for the last three Ligue 1 matches. Clément Grenier is out suspended, so Yoann Gourcuff should be given the playmaking role. Rémy Vercoutre will be back between the posts for the first time, seven months after his injury.  

This first match of the new series must set OL on the right track ahead of the visit of Betis on Thursday in the Europa League, before another huge clash, away to Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes.  Let's hope Gonalons and Co. can record this first win of this series, a third in a row, against a Valenciennes side themselves looking for a third game without defeat...

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