Why Lyon will be a tough but beatable opponent for AS Monaco


AS Monaco and Olympique Lyon are preparing to face each other in what is unmistakably the Ligue 1 round match this weekend.

In a game that sees tied fifth Monaco take on ninth Lyon, there is no doubt that this should be an exciting clash between two exciting teams. Ahead of this captivating match, we are focusing on three talking points around Lyon ahead of the match.

Bosz’s philosophy takes hold

Despite a rocky start under new manager Peter Bosz, who hasn’t seen them win any of their first three league games, Les Gones have been improving since then. By winning their two Europa League matches, in addition to taking victories against Nantes, Strasbourg and Troyes, there has certainly been a pick-up in performance lately.

Although they have only made their last two games against Lorient and Saint-Etienne, a lot of positivity can be extracted from the strength with which they have come forward. With Bosz’s desire to implement his high octane, attack-oriented philosophy into his team, how quickly he managed to get his ideas adopted by his team has been impressive. “I do the game strategy in relation to the qualities of the players. You have to see which ones are available. But we are not changing our philosophy, which is to play offensive, ”he said recently.

Considering the fact that the matches went quickly and swiftly due to their participation in the Europa League, which minimized his time on the training ground, which makes Lyon’s strong start even more remarkable.

Benefiting from so many weapons to deploy in his favorite 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, the likes of Lucas Paqueta, Karl Toko Ekambi, Xherdan Shaqiri, Houssem Aouar, Islam Slimani, Moussa Dembele and Rayan Cherki ensured they have vital quality and depth in the final third.

Always keen to build from the back, this gave them a solid platform to progress on the pitch. Adept at creating overload, attracting adversaries, and achieving positional superiority, adversaries have certainly struggled to prevent them from bypassing their pressing structures.

Having the third highest average possession in Ligue 1 (57.9%) and second place for PPDA Against, it accentuates their skill with the ball.

Such a huge threat due to the fact that they have players with a range of speed, creativity, smart moves and dribbling prowess, Lyon are a real handful for any team.

To start with their creation of assists and opportunities, and the fact that they rank first in the league for shots (123), first for assists (47), second for expected goals (15, 87), tied with Monaco for assists (107), third for passes in the final third (513), fourth for progressive passes (640) and fourth for touches inside the penalty area ( 161) illustrates their threat.

Placing third for progressive runs (182) and fourth for most dribbles (300) amplifies the grip they had to contend with.

Defensive instability

Even though they’ve made waves offensively, they’re definitely still a work in progress defensively. Already conceding 13 goals, giving up the second highest number of shots (120) and having the third highest expected goals score (15.01), Bosz’s desire to play a high line and aggressively press the top has them. frequently exposed.

A particular problem they sometimes face is that they tend to maintain a high line but do not exert adequate pressure on the ball holder, giving the man in possession too much time to weigh his options and choose passes.

Although he came back to haunt them frequently, their high pressing nevertheless created excellent openings for them to retrieve the high ball. The numbers confirm this as well, as they come fourth for PPDA (passes allowed per defensive action at 9.45) and third for intensity of challenge.

An area that Bosz continues to refine and polish, Niko Kovac and his team will do their due diligence to take advantage of Lyon’s struggles in this compartment.

Lucas Paqueta the dangerous man

Lyon’s gifted Brazilian international Paqueta has been on fire this season, with him playing in confidence and style on the verge of scoring four goals and providing an assist.

A master with the ball at his feet, his close control, his elite first touch and his frenzied dribbling to beat or knock off the markers were a pleasure to watch. Able to move away from danger with tight turns, and outsmart opponents with smooth changes of pace and direction, feints, shimmies, nutmeg and jumps, his aptitude in this regard has been an asset major.

In addition to separating from the markers, the way he caught multiple markers and shot fouls in the forward areas added to his efficiency.

Such an ingenious passer who can unlock defenses in an instant with magic balls, engage in quick combination play to split back lines, hit penetrating line break passes or artfully change the angle of attack, the 24-year-old is a constant source of momentum attack.

Tying all of this to his movement, Paqueta deftly finds space between lines, chooses his moments to get behind, falls deep to form overloads, and knows when to back attacks in large areas.

Paqueta’s heat map this season

Comparing him to players of his position in the top five European leagues, and the fact that he ranks in the top three percent for progressive passes (6.42 p90), the top three percent for goals and Combined expected assists (0.70 p90), the top nine percent for expected assists (0.28 p90) and figure in the top 23% for shots (2.59 p90) underlines his class.

Accompanying the above with his hard defensive work, which sees him pressing intensely, applying his challenges with force and counter-pressure with ferocity, it increases his value. In the top one percent for tackles (2.29 p90) and the top five percent for pressure (22.26 p90), this punctuates his aptitude in this phase of the game.

Undoubtedly a man to whom Monaco will have to be very careful, if they can silence him and limit his involvement, it will be a huge bonus in their quest for victory in a match that will be played on thin margins.

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