Reims v Lyon – Stade Auguste- Delaune AT 19:45 GMT LIVE AT BT Sport
There’s no better time to be playing Lyon. Les Gones might have scratchily booked their place in the Champions League knockout stages last week but the seven-time French champions are in crisis on and off the field.
Despite the big-money summer sales of Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy, OL were expected to be PSG’s major challengers for top honours in Ligue 1. Club legend Juninho Pernabucano returned as sporting director, appointing Sylvinho as head coach to plenty of fanfare as an optimistic new dawn broke over the club.
However, Sylvinho was axed after just 141 bewildering days in charge. Rudi Garcia was parachuted into the hot-seat, however, supporters and ultra groups rebelled against the move given his recent failure at fierce rivals Marseille. A vitriolic atmosphere has developed around Parc OL, intensified by dour football.
Lyon’s injury strife
Anger has already spilled over between players and fans, whilst results have also been below-par. To make matters worse, Lyon suffered double heartache last weekend when losing both Memphis Depay, and big summer signing, Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, to ruptured ACLs in the same encounter against Rennes.
Depay’s season-ending injury is bound to have a devastating effect. The Dutch maverick has been on fire lately, scoring 14 goals in 17 games, rising to the role of captain and producing performances worthy of his younger reputation as a potential world beater. His importance was again underlined on Sunday.
Depay went off at half-time as a sterile Les Gones side were beaten 1-0 at home by Rennes. Without his spark, it’s impossible to see how OL can push and progress with questions now being asked upon why two fitness coaches – Antonin Da Fonseca and Dimitri Farbos – were demoted upon Garcia’s arrival.
Reims no easy meat
So how will Lyon fare when travelling to one of Europe’s most well-drilled teams in Reims? Under David Guion’s watch, the Champagne club have won promotion and consolidated with their renowned robust and ultra-organised approach frustrating opposition attacks and making Les Rouges et Blancs difficult to beat.
Only returning to this level at the beginning of last term, Reims have been exceptional at their atmospheric Stade Auguste Delaune base (W11-D12-L5) with the likes of PSG, Lille, Marseille, Lyon and Monaco all failing to depart with maximum points. And the Les Rouges et Blancs have impressed again this term.
Exclude all-conquering champions PSG and no Ligue 1 side gives up as few goalscoring opportunities as Reims. Stade sit second in the rankings for Expected Goals (xG) against, xG from open play conceded, as well as shots allowed from inside the penalty area. Guion’s group are mightily tough to breakdown.
With that in mind, it makes total sense to keep the home side onside with a +0.25 start on the Asian Handicap line available at a kind 1.71. We’ll make money should Reims avoid defeat against Lyon on Saturday night.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Reims +0.25 at 1.710
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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