Lyon made a smart and efficient game last week away at Montpellier (won 2-0). It was surprising to see Lyon so organized and solid in defense, especially since they used to concede at least once per game. Absolutely all defensive players made an excellent game, and opponents waited in vain for Lyon to make a defensive mistake.
Important creative midfielders Valbuena and Grenier are still only on the bench, but Lyon don’t have any problems in pushing the game forward and creating scoring opportunities.
Forward Fekir returned last round after a long injury, played for only 5 minutes, barely touched the ball, but he can definitely help Lyon in the final rounds.
Confident performance from Nice last round against Rennes, and they fully deserved to take all points (Nice won 3-0). Just like Lyon, Nice improved suddenly in the defensive phase, and were extremely solid against one of the most dangerous teams in the tournament.
Central midfielder Mendy was a wall by himself, defender Baysse hasn’t missed a single intervention, and keeper Cardinale made some amazing saves.
Nice are also involved in the battle for a Champions League position, and if they can keep up the same confident defensive display, they have real chances to win an historic qualification.
Taking in account recent performances and the stakes of the game, the focus may be on the defensive phase. Until now Lyon were always pushy and aggressive, especially on home ground, and it will be interesting to see them change strategy. Hosts have a clear advantage, but still, odds should be a bit more balanced.
UPDATE: No surprises in the squads
Lyon: A.Lopes, Gorgelin – Bedimo, J.Morel, Yanga-Mbiwa, Umtiti, B.Koné, Jallet, Rafael – Gonalons, Ferri, Darder, Tolisso, Grenier, Valbuena – Ghezzal, Lacazette, Cornet, Fekir
Nice: Hassen, Cardinale – G.Lloris, Baysse, Pied, Le Marchand, Ricardo Pereira, Genevois – Seri, Ben Arfa Hult, Walter, Wallyson, N.Mendy, Koziello – Ben Arfa, Plea, A.Mendy, Germain, Caddy