Despite dropping their first Ligue 1 fixture of 2022 last weekend, 2-0 away to Monaco, Lyon still have an opportunity to extend their unbeaten run at Groupama Stadium to six consecutive matches in all competitions when hosting Nice on Saturday.
Les Gones are eighth in the table heading into this weekend with 34 points, three back of a European place next season, while Nice advanced to the semi-finals of the Coupe de France on Wednesday, defeating Marseille 4-1.
A poor opening 45 minutes at Stade Louis II last Saturday was all it took for Peter Bosz and his side to see their seven-game unbeaten streak in the league come to an end, as they made some critical errors versus Les Monegasques and could not recover from an early two-goal deficit.
By no means were they dominated in the Principality, winning a good number of their duels and having 64% possession, but they lacked precision in the final third when a chance fell their way.
They have been clinical at Groupama Stadium, scoring in each of their last 21 domestic encounters played there (41 goals), the longest current run of any top-flight side in this competition.
Eighth-place may not be where this club had envisioned they would be at this stage of the campaign, but this team have shown a lot of resiliency over the past few seasons, always seeming to bounce back from a tough outing, as they have not suffered consecutive defeats in the top flight since dropping back-to-back games in between September and October 2019, a streak which cost then-manager Sylvinho his job.
They have relied heavily on flow and creativity to get by, stringing together plenty of passes throughout the season, the third-most in Ligue 1, behind only PSG and Marseille.
Statistically speaking, there is no individual on the squad in the top 10 in terms of goals or assists in the league, but what they do have is plenty of quick-thinking players, who are capable of generating scoring opportunities, while also showing some versatility.
Les Aiglons suffered an early blow in their cup tie this week, as an own goal from Melvin Bard saw them trailing after three minutes of play, but as manager Christophe Galtier put it in his post-game interviews, the players reacted perfectly, scoring twice before the half-hour mark, and putting home another two in the second half.
The three-time Ligue 1 Manager of the Year will be looking for a similar performance from his side this weekend after falling at home to Clermont 1-0 in their previous league contest, a result which dropped them down to third in the table, a point behind Marseille.
Following that defeat, Galtier noted that the timing and passing of his players was not as precise as we are used to seeing, as this group incurred a rare setback, losing a domestic encounter for the first time since December 5, when they were beaten 3-0 by Strasbourg.
Since that loss, this team have rarely found themselves behind, but on the two occasions where that has happened, they have been able to fight their way back, defeating Lens in their final game of 2021 (2-1) and scoring four unanswered goals versus Les Olympiens.
Against Clermont, it appears as though Galtier did not play his typical side, perhaps in preparation for their midweek cup tie, but with a Champions League place within reach, some members of his squad could be playing on short rest in this encounter.
It is no surprise to see this team looking consistently sharp both on and off the ball, having shown a ton of poise and control away from home, conceding only once in their previous six road matches in all competitions.
Lyon Ligue 1 form:
Nice Ligue 1 form:
Nice form (all competitions):
We say: Lyon 1-1 Nice
Olympique Lyonnais have not been shut out of a competitive fixture since losing 2-0 to Monaco in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France last year, but they have only scored multiple goals in one of their previous six games played in all competitions.
Nice are coming off an impressive showing in midweek, and we expect to see plenty of determination from them in this encounter, although fatigue might be an issue for them at some point, and with both teams fighting hard to earn a place in Europe next season, we do not expect to see either side to concede many opportunities.