Olympique Lyonnais

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Season Guide
2022/2023

Olympique Lyonnais

In


Johann Lepenant (mid) (Caen); Nicolas Tagliafico (def) (Ajax); Alexandre Lacazette (att) (Arsenal); Corentin Tolisso (mid) (Bayern); Remy Riou (gk) (Caen)

Out


Leo Dubois (sp)(def) (Galatasaray); Pape Cheikh (mid) (Aris); Malcolm Barcola (gk) (Tuzla); Habib Keita (mid) (Kortrijk); Jason Denayer (r)(def) (released)

There can be little doubt that Lyon were Ligue 1’s most disappointing side last season as they finished a lowly eighth in the standings – their worst finish for over 20 years. Head coach Peter Bosz has been given another season in which to continue his work, but the Dutchman can count himself lucky to have been given the opportunity. Over the summer, the club has been partly bought over by American investors they have been setbacks. It appeared Tyrell Malacia was heading to OL for a long period but he ultimately chose Manchester United. Instead, Nicolas Tagliafico has arrived from Ajax to fill a problem position. The only other player to arrive for a fee, meanwhile, is promising Caen youngster Johann Lepenant. Alexandre Lacazette has returned from Arsenal on a free transfer and should prove an excellent acquisition capable of scoring 15 goals in Ligue 1. Corentin Tolisso also returns from Bayern Munich, although he has been plagued with his customary injury issues in pre-season – something that OL will hope does not continue. Interestingly, Lacazette has already been charged with leading a revolt against Bosz, which does not offer much promise ahead of the new season. Nevertheless, it does appear that the squad has been strengthened, with only Leo Dubois departing from the first-team core on Lyon’s books. This is a group, though, that finished outside the European spots last term and did not seem to function particularly well together, with Bosz expressing his frustration at their inability to execute his tactics. A greater clear out might have been beneficial, particularly with Jerome Boateng taking up a big wage but failing to justify it. The leaders of the squad remain largely the same, with Anthony Lopes in goal pivotal and Moussa Dembele a fine attacking option. There are still doubts over the future of playmaker Lucas Paqueta, who is on paper Lyon’s best player, but who has failed to fire so far in 2022. If he stays and returns to his best, this would make a dramatic impact.

Target


Lyon must aim to return for Europe – and ideally push for the Champions League. They do not look capable of the latter target, though.

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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