November 2014 – Starting To Slip.
Heading into November, the season was going to plan, perfectly. Still unbeaten, top of both the league and our Europa League group, we couldn’t have asked for more. But this month, we had much bigger tests ahead of ourselves and we would really have to step up our performances. A huge match against Paris Saint Germain, in particular, would show to me where my players are at.
Our month kicked off with a home clash against AS Monaco
in the league. Despite the fact our opponents have been struggling this season, and are currently lingering in mid table positions, this was a game which would put our players to the test due to the quality of the oppositions line-up. Or so that’s what I would have thought, heading into the game, it proved to be otherwise though as we ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Yoann Gourcuff
and Milan Bisevac
grabbed the goals, heaping more misery on the visitors.
We followed this game up with another home match, this time against CFR Cluj
, in the Europa League. Surprisingly we did struggle to break down the Romanian outfit with their goalkeeper and defence doing a remarkable job of keeping the score down. We did take the lead through Tom Ince
in the end, but were pinned back and utterly shocked when the away side, nicked a goal against us. The game did finish as a draw, a very displeasing result, in a match we should have done a lot better in.
In our next game, we were to play FC Metz
returning to Ligue 1 football. Yet again, however, we didn’t turn in a performance I have come to expect from these players and after the 90 minutes we could only scrape a 1-0 win. Jimmy Briand
found the winner, in the second half, but once again was left disappointed with my men.
The final league game of the month was by far the most important. It was 1st vs 2nd, we were playing the big boys, Paris Saint Germain.
In all honest, I wasn’t overly confident heading into the game considering our recent performances and my fears were proved correct as we were wiped away by Laurent Blanc’s side. Ibra caused us all sorts of problems getting himself on the scoresheet twice in a 3-1 victory for PSG, with Alexandre Lacazette
getting our consolation goal. It was our first loss of the season, and a devastating one at that.
The final game of the month came in the Europa League, with a home match against Slovan Liberec
. This was much more like the Lyon I had become so used to seeing, as we put in a very good attacking display full of fast flowing football. Defender Carlos Zambrano
hit a brace, while Tom Ince
and Yoann Gourcuff
got the other goals in a routine 4-0 victory, but considering the quality of our opponents a score line of this margin was the very least I was expecting.
Our loss to Paris Saint Germain does mean that they jump us and go into 1st
place in the league, while we slip down to 2nd
. Nonetheless, we do still have the upper hand on our rivals, as we trail by just two points but with a game in hand. So, if we do win the game in hand we will reclaim our spot at the top of the table. Meanwhile, we are still top of our Europa League and have guaranteed qualification to the knockout round too, which is very good indeed.
It has been a rather lacklustre month in terms of performances at the club over November, so it was tough to pick a Player of the Month, but in the end I have decided to go with Yoann Gourcuff
. He has put in some very consistent displays in midfield recently, also chipping in with a couple of goals and assists too.
This month hasn’t been the most pleasing to watch, but looking back it wasn’t too bad in the end, with us being able to pick up three wins still. Unfortunately, our unbeaten run has come to an end though after a very poor display, against a PSG side who were a class above us. We just haven’t been at our best recently, and look a far cry from the side that was stomping on sides, right at the start of the campaign. We need to get back to our old ways quickly, or this minor blip in form could get that much worse and our form could really start to plummet.