This Friday evening, at 9 pm, Olympique Lyonnais will start the 2022-2023 Ligue 1 season by hosting AC Ajaccio at the Groupama Stadium with many questions in mind. Deprived of Europe after a missed workout, the Gones and especially their coach, Peter Bosz, will be closely scrutinized. And for good reason: the Dutch tactician doesn’t have any leeway.
08/05/2022 – 21:00
This time, there are no more excuses. Miraculously keeping his position as coach a month and a half ago during the official presentation of John Textor, the new shareholder of Olympique Lyonnais, Peter Bosz started the 2022-2023 season without credit in his pocket. Last year’s disastrous results (eighth in Ligue 1, relegated from 32the final of the Coupe de France and humiliated in the quarter-finals of the Europa League) is still weighing on all Lyon’s heads – including that of Jean-Michel Aulas – and uncertainty hangs over the Dutch coach’s ability to lead a competitive workforce – on paper – in the upper echelons of France. So, at the dawn of facing Ajaccio and launching this new Ligue 1 exercise, Bosz has only one option at hand: to win.
The road to happiness or the descent into hell?
A goal that OL will definitely reach for the acceptance of the ACA but also for the rest of the season. During the official presentation of Textor, the latter insisted that OL will strengthen and aim high. “We want to win championships, Jean-Michel wants to return to the European scene and win. I also want to win the Champions League” , even the specified Textor. Words that, at first glance, seem insignificant but are finally accompanied by actions, even if the current owner of Botafogo has not yet expanded the transfer budget: Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, two internationals who trained at the club, returned, Tetê extended his stay on the banks of the Rhône, Johann Lepenant will cut his teeth at a big club while Nicolás Tagliafico comes to fill the void on the left channel. Add to this a contract extension from Maxence Caqueret and that – on the right path – from Rayan Cherki and you get a Peter Bosz finally satisfied with the tools given to him, except for a number 6 expected more from here at the end of the month, especially since the outstanding satisfactions of the previous season (Anthony Lopes, Castello Lukeba, Lucas Paquetá, Moussa Dembélé) will still be in place when the new season begins.
Enough to feed ambitions, including the main one: to find, at least, the podium in Ligue 1. “We know the expectations of the supporters, but they also have hopeBosz even admitted in the press conference last Wednesday. We feel it in the training sessions that are full. We will do everything to make it better. » If there is no competition in Europe, a “bargain” , the 58-year-old technician is able to deploy his very strong tactical system without pushing his players to fatigue, while relying on an interesting rotation of the squad, even if the departures (Paquetá, Dembélé , Boateng, Aouar) will remain possible through the end of the transfer window. To speed things up, OL has a favorable schedule because in the first six days, they host Ajaccio but also Troyes, Auxerre and Angers, while they travel to Lorient and Reims. “There are always surprises at the start of the championshiphowever would like to remind Bosz. If you look at our last season, we lost a lot of points against smaller clubs. I want the players to be 100% focused. » Especially since Lyon barely filled its main gap: the defensive sector.
The floor is on defense
Despite the explosion of Castello Lukeba, whose confirmation is expected this season, OL has always touched the mockery of defensive episodes last year. However, the moves in the back line haven’t scared the counters this summer. True, Léo Dubois packed his bags to join Galatasaray. The rest of Jérôme Boateng is still in the squad, Tagliafico and Malo Gusto aren’t all dangerous defensive insurance – the young right-back doesn’t even have a professional understudy – and Lukeba should be Thiago Mendes’ hinge partner , who went from unwanted to “rookie” central defender in less than a year, while waiting to check the level of Sinaly Diomandé after his long absence. In addition, the preparatory matches, whose irregular performances (four wins, one draw and three losses) can be partly explained in the context of the pre-season, have nevertheless given the spotlight (ten and seven pawns in eight games) in this weak sector since Bosz took over. . So this Friday, OL has every interest to start their feet against Ajaccio. Otherwise, the case could quickly worsen to the point that a repeat month of August could mark the end of Bosz’s season.
By Fabien Gelinat