Coupe de France 16emes : AS Monaco v Olympique Lyonnais
“YOU’RE HERE, THERE’S NOTHING I FEAR,” sang Celine Dion as Memphis Depay’s stoppage time winner against Paris Saint-Germain became the latest piece of football drama to be underscored by the theme song to “Titanic”.
Olympique Lyonnais’ hearts will go on to Stade Louis II midweek but will their heads be there too, after the emotionally-charged victory against the Parisians? In a sense perhaps this Coupe de France Round of 32 tie against Monaco is just the game that Les Gones need, as they cannot afford to lose any of their focus if they want to progress.
In contrast the reigning Ligue 1 champions had a relatively more straightforward affair dispatching FC Metz at home 3-1, and they haven’t tasted defeat domestically since the end of November. With the extra day’s rest the scales do favour the home side and if they need any motivation there’s always that last minute defeat at Parc OL to avenge from the last time the pair met.
It won’t be a cake walk for Monaco though as Lyon have multiple goal threats in the forms of Mariano Díaz, Houssem Aouar, Memphis Depay and of course the irrepressible Nabil Fekir. Leonardo Jardim’s team though are pretty handy on the goal front too and though Falcao is their runaway top scorer there have been contributions from all areas of the pitch.
|Radamel Falcao||16||Nabil Fekir||16|
|Keita Baldé||5||Mariano Díaz||13|
|Guido Carrillo||4||Memphis Depay||9|
|Rony Lopes||3||Houssem Aouar||4|
|Adama Traoré||3||Bertrand Traoré||3|
*Stats from Ligue1.com
In truth there’s not much to separate the two sides: they’ve both scored and conceded the same number of goals in Ligue 1; where they do differ is that Lyon have a core group of players who are adept at finding the back of the net whilst Monaco share the goal scoring and creative burden throughout the team.
|Goal Breakdown (Ligue 1)|
*Stats from Ligue1.com
An interesting subplot is whether former Lyon player Rachid Ghezzal will play a telling role in the tie. He’s been in and out of the first team picture recently, starting three of the last six matches, although he did score an excellent goal in the last game against Metz. His free transfer to the principality club hasn’t been an unmitigated success and he has yet to find the form of two seasons ago at OL when Bruno Génésio first took the head coach position. Still football has a funny way of creating a story and who would bet against Ghezzal once again confirming the “curse of the ex-player”?
That all being said it is a shame that Monaco and Lyon are meeting as early as they are in the Coupe de France. With the league PSG’s to lose this competition is one of the few realistic prospects either club have of winning silverware this season.
This is still the stand-out tie of the Coupe de France Round of 32. Lyon have the best away record in Ligue 1 so Monaco cannot rely on home comfort to see them through, but what Jardim and company have in their favour is that their opponents may be emotionally and physically drained given their exertions against PSG. It could be just enough for the principality side to negotiate a passage through to the next round.