Ligue 1 “Game of the Week” – Matchday 7
|Ligue 1 – Week 7
Saturday, September 26, 2009 – 2:55 – Setanta
Olympique Lyonnais announced yesterday that they will be without their star attacking midfielder Lisandro Lopez when they take on Toulouse on Saturday. While he did play the whole 90 minutes against PSG last week, Lisandro, who has been the best player so far in Ligue 1 and won the Player of the Month back in August, is still suffering from a groin injury. While the Ligue 1 site says that Lisandro will miss one game, local Lyon paper Lyon Capitale say that he will miss the next two games. The second game that he will miss will the a Champions League match against Hungarian side Debrecen, a team Lyon should easily defeat.
Lyon will also be missing star midfielder Michel Bastos to an ankle injury.
Newly recovering striker Sidney Govou will be teaming up with Bafetimbi Gomis to lead the Lyon attack against a Toulouse side that are looking to get their team back on track.
After a slow start to the season, Toulouse have put together a couple of impressive wins. Their first was in Europa League play, as they defeated Partizan Belgrade away. And last weekend they defeated Le Mans at home by a score of 2-0.
While Lyon has been a dominate team this year, could Toulouse possibly pull off the upset at Stade Gerland? I say yes.
I know, it is a crazy prediction (and I am a Toulouse supporter), but hear me out.
Toulouse is currently lying in 9th place in the Ligue 1 standing, which is respectable considering they haven’t had the best start so far. The main reason for this poor start seems to be that Andre-Pierre Gignac has been shut down. Last year’s leading scorer has only scored one goal so far this season. While he has played quite well, he has still yet to show the scoring touch that he possessed last season.
So, if Toulouse’s opponents are shutting down their main scoring threat, why is Toulouse moving up the Ligue 1 table and not down?
Simple, their midfield.
With the exception of the ‘top three’ and PSG, Toulouse might have one of the most explosive offensive midfields in Ligue 1. Youngster Moussa Sissoko has shown so far this year that he has what it takes to score, netting two goals so far this season.
Etienne Capoue and Daniel Braaten have both been excellent set-up guys for the team. Capoue, usually playing left of center, and Braaten, who plays the right wing, bring up the ball with speed and accuracy. Their favorite scoring target has, so far this year, been Sissoko, though they do distribute the ball quite well.
Etienne Didot might be one of the most underrated players in Ligue 1. This offensive-minded midfielder might just be the secret weapon for Toulouse. While he might not exactly be Lisandro Lopez, his playing style is similar. He is a very fluid player that can play anywhere on the pitch, and is just as much of a threat to score as he is to set up a goal.
But because Gignac is the guy that scored a ton of goals last year, he is the one that they shut down. Opposing teams fail to remember that Toulouse has other attacking options, and not all of them are named Gignac.
Toulouse can win this week if their midfield plays like they have the last few weeks. Still, if Lyon clamps down on their midfield, this might be the game that Gignac could finally see his scoring touch. Mind you that he has had the chances this year to score, but he has just had a little bad luck.
Lyon look like the clear favorites to win this game, even without Lisandro. But if Lyon isn’t concentrating 100%, Toulouse just might be the team that can take a suprising three points out of Stade Gerland