This could be a big weekend!
Focus on yourself, first and foremost, before looking to see how others are getting on... It's well known. Maxime Gonalons and Co. need to concentrate on their opponents Nice. But... when they take to the field at the Stade de Gerland, they will know that Nice have already beaten Marseille on Friday night. OL will be playing to open up a four-point lead atop the standings… They will also know the result between AS Monaco and Lille. But they will have to wait for the result of Sunday night's match between Saint-Etienne and Paris. There are a host of possibilities... But let's admit that things could look very nice indeed at 23:00 on Sunday evening. But that means getting the right result against Metz...
The promoted side from Metz made a great start to the season. Fifth after eight games, they defeated OL 2-1 in the first meeting this season, but have since slipped perilously close to the relegation zone, in fact they sit in 17th place ahead of 18th on goal difference alone. They have just the 19th attack in the league and the worst away record with just five points picked up on the road and only three goals scored... and that's not enough. Albert Cartier's side are currently without their African internationals (Mfa Mezui, Kashi, Doujouré, Sassi, Maiga)… And there are the injury concerns around Carrasso, Rocchi, Ben Youssef, Falcon… But there is certainly the potential to survive the drop with the experience of the likes of Malouda, Rocchi, N’Daw, Lejeune, Krivets… and the talented youngsters such as Bussmann, Ngbakoto, Sarr… There are advantages and disadvantages in having so many young players. The squad, the most sanctioned by L1's referees haven't won in the league since Week 12 (FC Metz 3-2 Stade Malherbe) and they have only picked up two points since then, including one in their last away match at Nantes in Week 20, 0-0. They have, however, just qualified for the last-16 of the Coupe de France after extra-time against Avranches.
The number of minutes in which Anthony Lopes hasn't conceded a goal in the league. The last opponent to score against OL was Barbosa
OL are taking huge strides forward. They have won their last six in a row after last weekend's victory over Lens. The attack is scoring freely, led by the irrepressible Lacazette… the team is playing attractive, flowing football… they have an iron clad defence (OL haven't conceded a goal in 386 minutes)… Everything is working for OL at the moment, loyal to the philosophy that has been in place for several months now... Nothing suggests that will change this Sunday, despite the Cup loss away to Nantes on Tuesday. Hubert Fournier will once again be without his African internationals (Bedimo, NJie, B.Koné, Zeffane, Yattara), and without Benzia, Grenier and Fofana. Bisevac should return and he should also have a few selection headaches, and why not even a place on the bench for the new player Maxwel Cornet who has just signed from... Metz.
This match may not be the biggest game of the season, despite the returns of Flo Malouda and de Robert Duverne to the Stade de Gerland, but the three points from a potential victory will help build that road back to European competition... It could be a big weekend for Olympique Lyonnais, especially since the side are out of the Cup now... There's only one road back to the continent...