West Ham: the middle, the new Lyon puzzle


Aouar and Paqueta (Photo by PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP)

Jostled in the midfield on Sunday in Strasbourg, OL advance against West Ham full of uncertainties. Affected in Alsace, Houssem Aouar and Tanguy Ndombele are still uncertain for Thursday.

To fart Bosch would have done very well without so much hassle in this week of preparation for Europe. Already in perpetual trial and error to find the right balanceOL in order to perform both on the national and continental scene, the Dutch coach must also deal with physical glitches. So many injuries that affect the same sector of play, the midfield. For two weeks, OL have had to learn to live without Maxence Caqueret and the three games against Angers, West Ham and Strasbourg have shown that it is not easy. The real lung of this Lyon team, the midfielder is sorely lacking in Bosz who does not have a similar profile in his workforce.

“Ndombele had a very good first match and everyone was on fire saying to themselves ‘that’s it, Ndombele is back, the doublet with Caqueret’ and we realize that the only one who is essential in this environment, it’s Maxentius declared Nicolas Puydebois, Monday in As long as there will be Gones. Since his injury, we realize that it is he who is essential to this team by his performance, his attitude, his volume of play. Technically, it is less flamboyant than an Ndombele but he allows us to scratch balloons between.”

Paquetá, a viable solution?

Only one being is missing and everything is depopulated and OL have the bitter experience of it with Caqueret, still on the side for at least two weeks. Peter Bosz has therefore had to tinker for three games with sometimes a Thiago Mendes – Aouar doublet, sometimes the French midfielder associated with Ndombele, loaned by Tottenham, as was the case in Strasbourg on Sunday. Faced with 3-5-2 Strasbourg, the two midfielders took a real storm in the face, asphyxiated by the opposing intensity.

In the control of the ball, there is clearly nothing to say but in the defensive effort and the impact, it is something else. Only, on Thursday, Bosz will have to rack his brains again because this draw in Alsace was also synonymous with a break in the midfield with A’s outings on injury.wow and Ndombele. On the eve of the return quarter against West Ham, they are still uncertain even if hope seems to be reborn to see them in the group. But Wednesday, the options are sorely lacking in this sector as an English team looms whose environment is one of the strengths.

“With Soucek, West Ham clearly have an underrated player. The Czech takes less light than Rice but he is just as important as OL with Caqueret, note Roshane Thomasan English colleague for The Athletic. He has a bigger ability to project himself forward than his captain and he has a very big showdown.”

Optimism for Aouar, a little less for Ndombele

24 hours before the game against the Hammers, it’s now a race against time between Rhône and Saône in order to get everyone back on their feet. But it is clear thatAouar and Ndombele, if they are part of the group, will not be 100%. Why not try to back Lucas Paquetá in this case? The idea has already made its way towards the end of the match in Strasbourg with the entry into play of Faivre and the injury of Aouar. This change also corresponded to the best Lyon face in this meeting.

“I really liked seeing Faivre in the lead and Paquetá in 8. There is a real connection between them and that allows the Brazilian to be a little more in front of the game in this backward position, confirms Tom Marion, an English journalist based in the region. In addition, he is never the last to make the effort, you just have to know if he is in a condition to make them for 90 minutes in this position and against a physical team against West Ham.

Much less decisive for weeks, the Brazilian midfielder has been forcing things lately but needs to be in the oven and in the mill to be able to exist. This position as midfielder, which he has already held in the past at A.C. Milan, can allow him to have this expense while ensuring technical quality in the Lyon area. It remains to be seen who will accompany him… Thiago Mendes, deemed fit but who can (must) help out in defense, or another? We know that Malo Gusto was trained in this midfield position before shifting to the right side. But given the importance of this quarter-final, is Peter Bosz really ready to take this risk?


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