Monday, December 05, 2005

Lyon rolls on

I sat through a painful 90 minutes this weekend, and no it was not the fact that Arsenal could not beat Bolton, but the fact that PSG looked like a JV team compared to Olympique Lyonnaise. Lyon easily defeated PSG 2-0 securing their spot at top of Ligue 1. What impressed me is the main reason why Lyon is favored to win its 5th straight domestic title as well as go far in the Champion's League - cohesion. Lyon looked like a team that has been together for a while, a team that has developed and maintained its rythm and system. While the team that Lyon has today is different that the one they had 4 years ago, the main pieces remain: Juninho running the midfield, Coupet in net, Govou using his speed to break down defenses, Diarra moping up the midfield etc. But they have demonstrated an ability to bring in players that play the system - the midfield of Tiago - Diarra - Juninho is the strongest in France and one of the strongest in Europe (to think that it used to have Essien instead of Tiago). Tiago has slipped in without missing a beat. The front line which can interchange Carew, Fred, Govou, Wiltord is scarey. With Malouda running one of the flanks, this attacking side is very dangerous. Lyon moved the ball with ease, never really being under threat from PSG.

While PSG, a team I think will become much better before the end of the year, seemed to be out of sync. Too many passes behind teammates, too many missed opportunities, too many players out of position (something the commentators notably pointed out). I think the midfield of Rothens - Dhorasso - Kalou can match the magic of Lyon, but it still needs time to develope. PSG also needs another striker to support Pauleta (maybe Cisse from Liverpool?). I think that PSG will end the season in 2nd or 3rd place, but I doubt whether or not they will get within reasonable striking distance from Lyon.

Who would have thought that Chelsea would have a harder fight for the Premiership than Lyon would have with Ligue 1.

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