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OL-Lens: New year, same ambitions (9 p.m. on Canal + Sport)

Published on 05 January 2021 at 6:00 AM
OL - Lens : Nouvelle année, mêmes ambitions (21h sur Canal + Sport)
This Wednesday at 9 p.m., OL host Racing Club de Lens on Matchday 18 in Ligue 1 Uber Eats. For this first match of 2021, Lyon's players will be keen to extend their superb form from the end of 2020 and thus protect their status as league leader.

The context

How good it feels to spend the holidays warm, and comfortably seated in top position! Just two weeks ago, the Lyon players gave us a superb gift by taking control of Ligue 1 Uber Eats thanks to a big win against Nantes (3-0). It was an almost unimaginable gift at the beginning of October when they were still hanging against a Marseille team outnumbered for much of the match at the Groupama Stadium. But the transfer window closed its doors and the turning point came in Strasbourg with an important victory (2-3). The Lyon machine was launched, and it has recorded 29 points out of 33 possible and extended its unbeaten run to 14 matches. Hopefully this break was only an opportunity to recharge the team's batteries to get back to the cruising speed that characterized the end of 2020.

 

The challenge

The Autumn Champion is back in business. This Wednesday evening, they well start what they hope is a most exciting 2021 with a visit from Lens to the Groupama Stadium, which will unfortunately still be empty. OL, a hunter of the top teams since the start of the league, have become the prey to catch. In this context, the challenge is now obvious: to avoid missteps in order to continue to keep ahead  of their competitors who are also playing very well. Lille, who have the same number of points but a worse goal difference, and Paris, only a point further back, have the bit between their teeth. While the two have a comfortable return with matches against Angers and Saint-Etienne respectively, the Lyonnais will have to start 2021 well  to beat a northern side which has been one of the league's surprise teams.

 

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The opponent

What better way for a promoted side to start than to beat the defending champion on Matchday 2? This resounding win against PSG (1-0) obviously launched the season in an unexpected way for Racing Club de Lens, absent from the top division for the last five seasons. Thanks to this performance in September, Franck Haise's team have made their way into the first half of the table without  leaving it since. Currently seventh with game in hand, the Lensois have taken a big lead in the race for survival but have also developed a taste for rubbing shoulders with competitors of a completely different caliber. Paris, Bordeaux, Saint-Etienne, Rennes and Monaco have already paid the price -- it is up to OL not to take the meeting with this very surprising promoted side lightly.

 

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