Tottenham Hotspur vs. Olympique Lyonnais
Olympique Lyonnais curently sit 2nd in France`s Ligue 1 but Lyon lost 3-1 at home to 11th Place LOSC Lille when they could have closed the gap on PSG their current form is very inconsistent.
Probably the most well known player in the Lyon side to us is midfielder Steed Malbranque who played for Spurs and was then sold to Sunderland. Lisandro Lopez, will be one of the key players in Olympique Lyon's and is reported to be none to happy at Lyon after his failed move to Juventus where the deal fell through as Juve thought Lisandro too expensive.
AVB will know Lisandro when he played at Porto. Lissandro claims he no longer wants to play on the left. The problem is, Bafé Gomis and his strong physical presence with the back facing the goal is probably more useful to the team in that position than the diminutive Licha. And the few attempts the manager Rémi Garde tried to field 2 strikers simultanously didn`t prove too successful either. So frustration has been growing on both sides.
Lisandro actually failed to join Tottenham on the last day of this window. Lyon Chairman Jean-Michel Aulas refused the 6ME offer made by Spurs, which is said to have frustrated the Argentine, who was rejoicing at the idea of playing alongside his close mate Hugo Lloris in a major league. Lisandro reportedly expressed to his relatives his total refusal to extend at Lyon and hence his willingness to go for zero euro in a year. Levy please note!
Their Manager is Rémi Garde. Garde started his playing career at Lyon in 1982, helping the club achieve promotion to Ligue 1 in 1989. Recently he has been linked with being a successor to Arsène Wenger? He has only been a manager for just 18 months but he is now second favourite with the bookmakers to replace Wenger. Garde is largely unknown on these shores but he took over at Lyons in June 2011. It is what he has done since, as well as his links with Wenger and Arsenal, that have catapulted him into contention. Garde took control of a Lyons team which had lost its way in recent years after winning seven successive titles from 2001-2008. Claude Puel, the former Lyons manager, spent £125m over three years without success. Garde, who was on the coaching staff for several title-winning years but more recently was running the academy, stepped up with a brief to slash the budget, mainly by shifting non-performing "stars" and promoting youth. He has not only done that, he has also steered the team past big-spending Paris Saint-Germain and done it while cruising into the knockout stages of the Europa League. Lyons are in that competition because Garde just failed to secure a Champions League place last season, but his team did win the French Cup. Garde could have been Lyons manager earlier; he was offered the chance to replace the departing Gérard Houllier in 2007 but turned it down preferring to work with the youngsters.
Garde has been asking his team for consistency. Lyon have been in irregular from one match to the other in 2013, and Garde is asking for more of a performance from his players. The first half of their season the team had ta similar start to us producing very dull 0-0 at Gerland versus Evian-Thonon-Gaillard but with the poor performances have been accompanied by their exit from the Coupe de France in Epinal (3-3, 2-4 on penalties).
Lyon have also seen some of their best player move they have lost Monzon, Novillo, Sidy Koné and of course Michel Bastos and although Ghezzal has been the most obvious replacement for Bastos, the leavers may actually not be the biggest problem Lyon have to manage, now that the transfer window is closed. Arguably, it`s the players who stayed.
AVB has an interesting selection conundrum to solve as we have Lyon on Thursday night and then one week later at their place the Stade Gerland. Then we have West Ham on Monday the 25th February.
If AVB is sincere about the EL then we can only assume that he will put out his strongest side. Playing at home AVB will want to take a winning margin to Lyon and maybe be a bit more defensive in the second leg. So, the question is who will AVB play and, given that by the 25th February at West Ham, we may have both Kaboul and Defoe back does that give AVB more options.
Written by OyVeh Maria