Two giants of the French game enduring vastly differing fortunes in the 2021-22 season prepare for battle at the Groupama Stadium on Sunday as Lyon lock horns with Paris Saint-Germain.
The visitors currently sit 13 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table, while Peter Bosz’s men are down in 13th following a troubled start to the campaign.
Having failed to adequately replace Memphis Depay over the summer, Lyon sure are paying the price, with Bosz’s side currently closer to the relegation zone than they are to the top three after a dismal opening to proceedings in 2021-22.
Les Gones had it nearly all their own way in the Europa League as they comfortably progressed continentally, but asserting their dominance in Ligue 1 has been a struggle, and relegation-threatened Metz held Lyon to a 1-1 draw before the break as Castello Lukeba’s effort was cancelled out by Boubacar Traore.
Lyon ended a topsy-turvy 2021 by posting four successive draws in all competitions – including each of their last three in the French top flight – and Bosz’s side enter 2022 in the bottom half of the rankings, although they are just five points behind Monaco in sixth.
However, it is clear that Lyon will need to spark an immediate turnaround in order to challenge for continental competition and save Bosz’s bacon, although president Jean-Michel Aulas has affirmed that the head coach will remain in charge for at least another month or two.
One win from their last six in Ligue 1 is truly abysmal for a club of Lyon’s stature, though, but they have scored in all of their home games so far this season and have lost just once in that time, so PSG’s task on Sunday will not be a walk in the park.
A wide-scale coronavirus outbreak was certainly not on the agenda for Mauricio Pochettino at the start of 2022, but a rotated PSG outfit still had no trouble seeing off Vannes OC in the Coupe de France on Monday courtesy of a 4-0 success.
Having now confirmed that he will not be on his way to Real Madrid in January, Kylian Mbappe stole the show with an 18-minute hat-trick in the second half after Presnel Kimpembe had put Les Parisiens 1-0 to the good, but attention now turns to wrestling their rightful Ligue 1 crown back off Lille.
The festive spirit in PSG’s ranks may have been dampened by three draws from four in the month of December, but Pochettino’s men are now unbeaten in 10 league games and are comfortably 13 points clear of Nice and Marseille at the summit.
For all of their dominance at the Parc des Princes, Les Parisiens have struggled to stamp their authority on rival turf – winning just two of their last six away from home in Ligue 1 – but a tally of 21 points on the road is still the best record in the division ahead of Sunday’s game.
PSG also had to rely on a 93rd-minute Mauro Icardi winner to see off Lyon 2-1 at home back in September, but the capital side are on a three-game winning streak on Lyon’s turf across all tournaments – notching up 10 goals in that hot streak.
Lyon Ligue 1 form:
Lyon form (all competitions):
Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form:
Paris Saint-Germain form (all competitions):
We say: Lyon 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
Should the highly-influential Paqueta not be passed fit for this clash, Lyon’s 100% goalscoring home record could come to an end against a PSG side boasting most of their big names in defence.
Les Parisiens can survive without most of their COVID-affected crop and warmed up for this contest in ideal fashion in the Coupe de France, so we expect the leaders to march to a convincing triumph as the pressure piles on Bosz’s shoulders.