Messi-Neymar, phenomenal duo found
Technically, they are above. When they add great physical form and edge to their game, Neymar and Lionel Messi become sparkling. The two former Barcelonans made their agreement speak at the start of the meeting in a high-flying combination. The first served the second who opened the scoring with a perfectly precise left recovery (5th). In his slightly remote central position, Messi proved elusive on the lawn of Groupama Stadium and posed a constant threat to the Lyon defense with no less than 7 shots fired for 5 on target. The Argentinian is on 4 goals after 8 L1 games against 6 throughout last season. He also already has 7 assists like the Brazilian who however dropped a notch in the second half.
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If Messi and the Parisians did not score more despite their total of 8 shots on target, it is because they faced an ultra-reactive goalkeeper. Anthony Lopes quickly lost to Messi but then made six big saves to keep OL in the game. If he bit into Messi’s feint at the start of the second half, Castello Lukeba took over by saving on his line (46th). For the rest, the last rampart of Les Gones defeated Neymar at close range (72nd) then Messi twice, the last of which by exceptionally pushing back his free kick which went under the bar (90th + 1).
Thiago Mendes as boss
The positioning in central defense of the training midfielder has been talking about for many months. His performance against PSG gave a lot of credit to the choice of Peter Bosz. Thiago Mendes released a copy full of responsiveness and authority to contain the Parisian offensives. Omnipresent in and in front of his surface, he multiplied well-felt interventions and completely extinguished Kylian Mbappé by tackling or standing to counter his shots. Not always comfortable in this position, the Brazilian put doubts away for a few weeks.
Thiago Mendes places OL’s wall against Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, September 18, 2022
Credit: Getty Images
He had started his evening well by initiating the action leading to Messi’s goal with a stall on the left to stretch the opposing defense. Kylian Mbappé turned out to be much less inspired afterwards. He has too often chosen the individual option by wanting to bet on his speed. Faced with a Lyon defense which was able to quickly withdraw, he never knew how to find the necessary spaces and constantly came up against Thiago Mendes. He thus forgot twice Achraf Hakimi, alone in the zone of truth (40th and 75th). When the French stubbornly plays alone instead of first relying on his partners to create gaps, he becomes much more predictable.
Lyon not realistic enough
Peter Bosz had set up a daring 4-4-2 and prepared a plan. His men did not count their efforts to apply it as well as possible. To enhance all this, they should also have seized their opportunities to hurt the opponent. Alexandre Lacazette fought like a lion all over the field from the first to the last second but also set a bad example by missing the target and equalizing on his head at close range (21st). His attacking partners did no better. Tetê did not weigh at all, Karl Toko-Ekambi did not make the right choices and Moussa Dembélé displayed too many technical clumsiness on his rare opportunities. In the end, Lyon only managed 3 of their 12 shots. Not enough to shake the Parisian ogre.
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