This is the kind of match we like to approach for sure. The kind of meeting where it’s fashionable to know where we’re going. This is ideal for any team heading to the quarter-finals second leg of the European Cup. But Olympique Lyonnais won’t have that chance before their shock against West Ham this Thursday (note: 1-1 in the first leg). With at least seven players in the infirmary at the start of the week, Gones find themselves in limbo, lacking the key elements of defense and also at the heart of the game. They will still have to improvise.
If a wind of hope blew over the Rhône Wednesday afternoon, the worst could not be avoided. A few hours after the workout ended, the band’s announcement revealed two new absences, and not least: Lucas Paqueta and Anthony Lopes (victims of a severe blow to the right thigh on Sunday). Two executives, two leaders, who will be missing for this decisive meeting. If the Portuguese goalkeeper is going to leave a gap with his charisma when he should be replaced by Julian Pollersbeck (note: there are 4 games this season), the Brazilian playmaker’s Covid test positive pack puts him against Peter Bosz. challenge. Because the Dutch are losing one of their key players, although the Brazilian has been less efficient in recent weeks.
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Paqueta, the uncertainty that changes everything
However, there has been good news in the last few hours. Houssem Aouar and Tanguy Ndombélé – against Strasbourg this Sunday and were victims of muscle problems – were in training with a big belt for the former Spurs on the eve of this duel against the Hammers. Thiago Mendes, who was hit in the start and has since been a survivor, is also in the game and is doing well in the group. What can we say, although a final decision will not be made until Thursday, they will be able to participate in this match. On a doubt: real form for a date at this intensity level, and a risk of relapse that could mortgage their end of season if they aren’t 100%. But while they wait to learn more about their case, Lucas Paqueta’s package changes everything on the board.
Peter Bosz, who is not an important pawn on a chessboard that lacks stability and regularity this season, also finds himself with a nice puzzle to solve for his midfield. His midfielder, Maxence Caqueret, is already missing a key element, he had a knee surgery and is gone for another three weeks. “Maxence’s injury is giving us trouble“, he admitted last week before the first leg. And unsurprisingly, he hasn’t found a miraculous solution for the time being. But there, he’s also an orphan of his conductor. So how is he going to build his middle? Answers to a question with a few unknowns can throw things off balance.
Lucas Paqueta (OL) Lyon
Credit: Getty Images
Environment for rethinking
If Ndombélé can hold his ground well and don’t back out at the last minute, Thiago Mendes could still find his place next to him as a midfielder. However, that leaves Peter Bosz at the center of the defence, his relationship with Castelo Lukeba, who brings some stability behind him. Then we’ll have to trust either Jason Denayer, who plays for Strasbourg, or Jérôme Boateng, who is still far from his past level at Bayern Munich. At Groupama Stadium, which will not relieve many…
The concern here is that Lyon therefore needs to rethink their offensive animation, hoping that Paqueta is absent and Aouar is there. In all this confusion, for example, behind Moussa Dembélé or lower to refocus Romain Faire? -. “I took axis training. I am versatile and can adapt. I play where the coach puts me“, the former Brestois replied on Wednesday about his favorite position. A welcome versatility. Even if it seems like a leap into the unknown for OL. Another one this Thursday evening…
In the meantime, Peter Bosz must have a bit of a headache with this massive mechanic that awaits OL for one of the most important – if not the most important – games of the season. “of course it’s importantt”, the Dutch manager conceded for playing most of OL’s season in this Europa League.We can reach the semi-finals at home. There’s a different vibe, something special for the players, for everyone” A special evening that hearts would like to approach with more certainty.
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