Lyon’s last chance at redemption in 2013

thesoccerIt is not too late for Lyon to salvage the season, but it is unlikely for them to secure another European championship berth. The best case scenario is to make the group stage once again in 2014 for Europa League, which makes it particularly important to extract the most from their current presence in the competition. So far things are going according to the plan and even though the French side trails Betis by two points, they have a good chance to advance and even win the group.

Three goals in four games is hardly a result that Lyon can be proud of, especially after playing for several years in the most prestigious European competition. Compared to their performance in the Champions League, this year’s display is hardly impressive and if they fail to reach the next stage, they shouldn’t expect any lenience from media, fans and management. Blaming the long list of injuries doesn’t work either, despite the fact that they are struggling to cope with many absentees.

What they should be building on is a potent offensive, with all three strikers ready to go and this is exactly the tactic that the hosts should use tonight. By fielding Gomiz, Lacazette and Briand from the very beginning, Lyon should be capable to exercise enough pressure on Betis’ defense to crack and recent results speak for themselves. The Spanish side conceded a total of eight goals in less than a week while scoring a single goal, after Barcelona and Seville unleashed a 90 min. siege.

The visitors are confident about their chances to survive the group stage and they have all the reasons to be optimistic, as they lead the group with eight points. Add to this the fact that they will face Rijeka at home in the last round, a team that is yet to win a game in Europa League and it is easy to understand why they would gladly settle for a draw in France. At the beginning of the month, they won the game against Guimaraes, a defeat that probably sealed the fate of the Portuguese side. More on this topic, can be found at http://www.thesoccer-blog.com/must-win-game-guimaraes-europa-league/.

Nobody can blame them for starting with a 5-4-1 formation after the recent humiliating defeats, but this could open a window of opportunity for Lyon. The odds for a home victory are staggering at 2.25 with top bookmakers, so punters who don’t mind taking additional chances for the sake of nice payouts should place this wager. Lyon’s defenses leave a lot to be desired but if they play the offensive card properly, they might not need stellar goalkeeping or an impeccable backline display.