PROFILE | Anthony Lopes: A difficult year for one of Ligue 1’s best goalkeepers

This is taken from the GFFN 100, our leading 150-page FREE publication ranking the best 100 players in France, see the full list and read every profile right here.

One has to feel for Anthony Lopes, plain and simple. A lifelong fan of the club and resident of the city, he has turned out for Lyon more than four hundred times since displacing Rémy Vercoutre during the back end of the 2013/14 season, but over the last few seasons, since the team’s fairy-tale run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2020, he has had a rather hard go of it, both for his club and for Portugal, for whom he qualifies through his father.

Despite several promising players breaking through in the form of Maxence Caqueret, Castello Lukeba, and others, Lyon have spun their wheels domestically, failing to link a cohesive attack with anything approaching defensive solidity. Previous coach Peter Bosz’s penchant for attacking football largely worked in the final third, but it often left the team loose at the back, and Lopes was frequently called into action to pull off the spectacular, which he has managed to do with some regularity, but he conceded 45 goals last season as the team failed to qualify for European football, the second-worst figure of his career.

But this should not be read as an indictment of Lopes – he also averaged the joint-most saves of his career in Ligue 1 last season. He suffered through a constant churn of both tactics and personnel in the back line ahead of him, with a philosophy that favoured a more attacking approach seeing experienced right-back Léo Dubois supplanted by Malo Gusto and the precocious Lukeba contending with a raft of different partners owing to injuries and a lack of form. This often left Lopes to pick up the slack, keeping Lyon in matches, albeit not to the degree of regularity to which he may have been accustomed in prior campaigns.

It must also be noted, that, as superb a shot-stopper as Lopes is, his distribution, aerial ability and command of his box still leave a bit to be desired, and, with Lyon looking a bit more frail defensively this season, this has affected his placing in this year’s list.

Eric Devin | GFFN

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