Lyon vs PSG: Les Parisiens wary of recently resurgent opponent

Psg
www.theguardian.com

PSG will hope to keep pace with Monaco and Nice as travel to take on Lyon at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday evening.

Although Les Parisiens cruised to the Ligue 1 title last term, PSG have not found things so easy this time around. Nice, who finished in fourth, arguably has taken everyone by surprise, whilst Monaco have started off quite brightly as well. From a neutral perspective, of course, this makes for a much more interesting title race. From PSG’s perspective, however, it means they will have to work a bit harder if they want to make it a fifth straight title this May.

Currently under the guidance of Unai Emery, PSG have presently secured their spot in the Champions League around of 16. Some critics will point to the fact that the Ligue 1 champs had an “easy” group – and they are right. The only real challenger in a quartet containing Arsenal, Basel, and Eastern European outfit Ludogorets is, well, Arsenal. And predictably, it’s a battle between the Gunners and Les Parisiens for top spot.

Domestically, they come into this game having secured a 2-0 win over Nantes. Angel Di Maria finally ended his barren spell in front of goal, but it came at a price as he suffered another injury. The ex-Real Madrid and Manchester United man has not had the same kind of impact he did last term, and overall, this PSG side does not appear to instill the same kind of fear as they used to. Edinson Cavani has been in excellent form and presently leads the Ligue 1 scoring charts.

But there are still questions about Emery’s side – whether they can challenge for the title again and more ambitiously, the Champions League. Of course, the race for the domestic crown is a marathon, not a sprint, and PSG will be seeking to take one step closer towards the winners’ podium by beating Lyon. However, their record at their opponents’ home ground is poor: they have won just one in their past 11 attempts, and that was back in 2013 when they won the league title.

Lyon are also the side who snapped their 36-game unbeaten streak by defeating them 2-1 at this same ground last season. Although Bruno Genesio’s men started off on wobbly footing, they have since rebounded in style. Les Gones come into this game having won three on the trot, and that number rises to four if one includes their hard-fought Champions League win midweek. Given Alexandre Lacazette’s importance, it’s no coincidence that Lyon’s return to form has coincided with his recovery after a long spell on the sidelines due to injury.

Will Lyon’s home record again propel them to victory? Or will PSG overcome their hoodoo at this famed French footballing ground?

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.