The following piece is an extract from this week’s The Ligue 1 Review. To read the entire piece, click here.
Lyon face a grudge match against Juventus tonight at the Parc OL, with Champions League progress more or less in the balance. As such, Bruno Genesio opted to rest Alexandre Lacazette and Rafael from the start, the pair having just returned from a month out on Friday against Nice.
The youngster Jordy Gaspar, last seen getting torched by Sevilla, started at right wing-back and Nabil Fekir operated as the nominal striker, with Corentin Tolisso moved forward from midfield to play behind him.
Tolisso had quite the nightmare, losing track of Paul Baysse for Nice’s opener and generally struggling to connect with Fekir, but the real questions should be asked of manager Genesio.
After a comprehensive performance in the Rhone Derby a fortnight ago, with Tolisso at right wing-back, it was a surprise to see such radical changes, especially with Rachid Ghezzal having turned in a good performance in the derby.
After last season’s inglorious exit, there was no doubt that more emphasis be placed on the Champions’ League, but playing a weakened side against the league leaders, even away from home, causes some obvious issues to be raised.
A win, or even a good performance, would have done wonders for a team that has been uneven in the league. In taking a punt against Nice, Lyon now face Juventus having lost three of their last four matches.
The team’s injury crisis does create a degree of extenuating circumstances, but the effect on a youngish team’s psyche is potentially damaging.
If Lyon can rebound by avoiding defeat on Tuesday, Genesio’s decisions will be vindicated, but for the moment, his rotation and use of Gaspar looks a bit suspect.