For a team that has problems at creativity Lyon’s midweek performance in Europa League was pretty impressive (won 4-1 over Plzen).
It was a game in which they used most regulars (except creative midfielders Grenier and Gourcuff who are injured), a game in which Lyon surprisingly created many dangerous opportunities and converted most of them. Of course the opponent was a comfortable one and allowed Lyon to impose the rythm.
But against Monaco it will be an entire different story, especially since Malbranque will join Grenier and Gourcuff on the sidelines. This will significantly reduce the already diminished creative power. In front of an organized opponent like Monaco, it will be almost impossible to apply constant pressure without inventive players.
Monaco won over Sochaux last round without pushing too hard (ended 2-1). Their reliance on Rodriguez is increasing as round goes by. The other offensive players lack imagination and aren’t able to make any kind of difference. Rodriguez is the only initiating actions and delivering assists. Only on the flanks, once in a while, we may see an action started by young fullbacks Kurzawa or Fabinho.
If opponents properly man mark Rodriguez, Monaco can be annihilated. And Lyon certainly have the weapons to achieve that. Their lack of creativity has absolutely nothing to do with the defensive potential, which is very impressive.
There are no new injuries for Monaco so they should be able to field the same team as last round.
For sure this will be a difficult encounter. Not only for the players involved but also for everyone watching the game. Neither side will be willing to take any risks and instead will concentrate on containing the opponent.
UPDATE: For Lyon only Gourcuff is fit for action. Monaco welcome back central defender Abdennour who was injured since transferring-in.
Lyon: A.Lopes, Vercoutre – M.Dabo, M.Lopes, Bisevac, B.Koné, Umtiti, Bedimo – Fofana, Gonalons, Gourcuff, Tolisso, Mvuemba, Ferri – Briand, Lacazette, B.Gomis, N’Jie
Monaco: Se.Romero, Subasic, Roma – R.Carvalho, Fabinho, Abidal, Isimat-Mirin, Kurzawa, Raggi, Abdennour – Dirar, Kondogbia, Moutinho, Obbadi, Ocampos, J.Rodriguez, Pi – Germain, A.Martial, E.Rivière, Berbatov