Olympique Lyonnais

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Season Guide
2021/2022

Olympique Lyonnais

In


Henrique (def) (Vasco); Damien Da Silva (def) (Rennes);

Out


Joachim Andersen (def) (Crystal Palace); Jean Lucas (sp)(mid) (Monaco); Melvin Bard (def) (Nice); Djamel Benlamri (def) (Qatar SC); Memphis Depay (k)(att) (Barcelona); Youssouf Kone (def) (Troyes), Yaya Soumare (att) (Dijon), Cenk Ozkacar (def) (Leuven) (all loans)

Lyon provided a surprisingly stiff challenge in Ligue 1 last season and spent much of the campaign in the title hunt before fading at the end. Nevertheless, qualification to the Europa League was a decent effort for OL, although not quite what they wanted at the start of the season. Head coach Rudi Garcia was never a popular figure among the fans of the club and departed in the summer, but more pertinent was the departure of Memphis Depay, who transferred to Barcelona on a free when his contract expired. He was an ‘X-factor’ in the Lyon side, although he did pad his statistics somewhat with penalties and goals against weaker sides. Nevertheless, he was an important player and one that OL will not be able to replace. Lyon have had something of an overhaul over the course of the summer, with Peter Bosz arriving to become head coach. It promises to be a tricky transition for Lyon, as Bosz arrives with very definite ideas of his playing style and reports suggest that some players have struggled to adapt to this in pre-season. Nevertheless, the coach spent some of his playing career in France and can speak the language, which should help the transition. Beyond Memphis, though, Lyon have not transformed their squad significantly. They have sold Joachim Andersen, Jean Lucas and Melvin Bard, but none of these players had a significant role last term, and indeed the first two spent a long period away on loan. Sporting director Juninho, meanwhile, is again trying to exploit his knowledge of the Brazilian market to pick up bargains, in this case left-back Henrique from Vasco da Gama. Meanwhile, veteran defender Damien Da Silva is the only other player to arrive. Lyon, therefore, start the season with much the same squad that they ended last term, with many of the same strengths and weaknesses. They were unpredictable last season against weaker opponents and that trend may well continue. Additionally, Lyon’s pre-season matches saw a plethora of goals at both ends of the park, suggesting there is much work to be done defensively. The squad, meanwhile, is not totally settled, with the suggestion that Houssem Aouar could depart, albeit after a somewhat disappointing 18 months. Key men promise to be Moussa Dembele, who returns from a loan with Atletico Madrid and must rediscover his form, Lucas Paqueta, who shone at the Copa America with Brazil, and centre-back Jason Denayer. Lyon, meanwhile, have regularly relied on their academy, but that will be magnified this season.

Target


Lyon will be aiming for the Champions League. A simple European finish, though, is more realistic with this group.

Season Review
2020/2021

№4: Olympique Lyonnais

Lyon missed out on Champions League qualification once again but enjoyed a stronger season as they finished fourth in Ligue 1 and were a genuine factor in the title race for a long period. Ultimately, though, it was not to be as the same old fallibilities when seemingly well placed haunted them in the closing weeks of the season. Indeed, Lyon will reflect on the 2-0 lead they had over Lille at home, which was a match they subsequently lost 3-2, and also on the final day against Nice, when they led 2-1 at home only to lose by the same scoreline, as missed opportunities. Had they won those six points, they would have tied with PSG – but the margins went against them once more. This was a team that was built around Memphis Depay, who contributed 20 goals and 12 assists to the cause, although sporting director Juninho was not impressed with the Dutchman’s dominance of the team. Indeed, there was a simmering feud between Juninho and head coach Rudi Garcia throughout the season over team matters, though it was only made public after the latter departed at the end of his deal. Having reached the Champions League semi-finals in August, Lyon, like PSG, started the season slowly, with just a single win in their first six games. Without European football as a distraction, though, they were able to bounce back more impressively, aided by Memphis but also Tino Kadewere, who started the season well, and Karl Toko Ekambi as they offered a dangerous attacking threat. If Houssem Aouar had a disappointing campaign in midfield, this was more than made up for by the contribution of Lucas Paqueta, who was particularly good after Christmas, which promises much for the future. Meanwhile, Bruno Guimaraes was again bright and Maxence Caqueret was impressive late in the season. Defensively, there are still doubts over Lyon, who have a tendency to defend well for long periods only to give away cheap goals. Goalkeeper Anthony Lopes is particularly prone to rushes of blood to the head, which can make up for the good work he does at other times. It is an issue that likely cost Lyon a top-three spot and arguably cost them the title. A new era will come at Parc OL next season, with Peter Bosz put in charge. There are doubts over Juninho’s competence as a sporting director, which have come increasingly into focus following the spat linked with Garcia’s departure.


Player of the Season: Memphis Depay

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