Masculins / OL - ASSE

Dot the i's

Published on 19 April 2015 at 2:40 PM
There are the Derby stakes... There are the European places at stake... and for OL, the memory of their two most recent defeats...

"We got walked all over at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard… In a derby, it's always physical..." Captain Maxime Gonalons hasn't forgotten the 3-0 defeat last November... nor how they lost! It hurts even more with the seven time French champions coming off consecutive defeats against their near neighbours. There's no question of making it a hat-trick of losses - the last time that happened was back in 1982!

Above the feeling of revenge and the motivation of regional supremacy, there is also 'the most important thing': the three points to continue the fight in the 2014-15 season. OL head into the derby as league leaders with an eight-point advantage over Les Verts. Saint-Etienne are almost out of the race with Lyon, but they can still have their say about third place. The match is crucial for OL in their mano a mano with PSG for the title.

Les Verts, like OL, are focused on the championship. They are undefeated in seven matches and have picked up 15 points at an average of 2.14 per match - an excellent return. No need to talk about motivation ahead of this fierce rivalry. Will Christophe Galtier look to a similar formation to the victorious one of last season, with three at the back? We'll have to wait and see, but don't forget that Pogba and Sall are missing. Saint-Etienne are a solid team with a very compact defence, but they have struggled in attack. But they can still count on the likes of Gradel, Erding and Hamouma to look for goals. They are led by the impeccable Perrin as well as the excellent goalkeeper Ruffier.

You can't afford to overlook the physical dimension of a derby - crucial to succeed in this type of match - but you also have to keep a clear head…

OL played and won on Wednesday against Sporting Bastia. Grenier made his return and made the difference. Lacazette has the chance to overtake André Guy's record with a 26th goal of the season. Captain Gonalons should also return, and perhaps also Jallet. Hubert Fournier will have options. Everything is falling into place for the derby. You can't afford to overlook the physical dimension of a derby - crucial to succeed in this type of match - but you also have to keep a clear head…

Given the context, this 110th derby promises much. OL will play 24 hours PSG who travel to Nice after their midweek exertions in the Champions League against FC Barcelona. Maxime Gonalons and Co. will know what they have to do. It's a huge advantage. Now OL neet to dot the i's and cross the t's to continue their march towards an immense joy, knowing that the supporters will be as motivated as ever...

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