December 2014 – A Very Merry Christmas.
After a slightly disappointing month in November, with questions raised from some of the fans, the festive period of December gave us the opportunity to hit back at the critics while trying to regain top spot in the league. It really was a pivotal period for the club and one which could possibly change the outcome of the season.
The month got underway with a league fixture away to Toulouse
. As our opponents, have shown other the course of the season, they are no pushovers and were in a very impressive 4th place, as we prepared to take them on. Thankfully though, we did manage to come away with all three points, a 2-1 win doing this. It took 64 minutes until there was an opener, Yoann Gourcuff
scoring to break the deadlock, but then after so long waiting for a goal, we had another straight after. Abel Aguilar
hooked the ball past the goalkeeper and into his own net, just a minute later, and with 10 minutes to go the hosts had a goal of their own, but by then it was too little, too late.
Our next game, was the only home game of the month, a Ligue 1 clash against Stade de Reims
. It took just 5 minutes for Clement Grenier
, and from then on out, the result never looked in doubt. We dominated proceedings and could have had plenty of goals, but in the end Alexandre Lacazette
was the man to round off the scoring, at only 2-0.
A trip in the league to Bordeaux
followed, making it our 3rd game of the week. It was a fairly even match, throughout with both sides playing some nice football and creating a lot of chances too. Both keepers were in fine form as well, keeping their respective side with a fighting chance in the game still. It took an own goal from Cheick Diabate
to put Les Gones in front on the stroke of half time and it looked like that would win them the game, heading into the 90th minute. But it proved not to be, as Julian Faubert
hit an equaliser late into stoppage time, to snatch a last gasp point for the home side.
We faced our final Europa League group stage game thereafter, up against Hajduk Split
, with qualification and 1st place already secured. Hajduk meanwhile, were guaranteed to finish bottom of the group no matter what, and so in that case it was a bit of a pointless game. The match itself was played out in this manner too, with none of the players putting much effort in, and instead the focus on the pitch was to stay fit. A own goal from Hajduk’s Mate Tomas
, to decide the game, sums up the game perfectly, lacklustre. Regardless, it was another win for Lyon, a win which will help further in boosting squad morale.
Next up, was our first foray into domestic up action, with a fixture in the Coupe de la Ligue against Valenciennes
. Naturally we controlled the game against the Ligue 2 opposition, with Alexandre Lacazette
firing a brace in the second half to give us a 2-0 lead. But, the hosts did show good resilience throughout and were rewarded for their effort with a goal late on, but couldn’t do enough to stop themselves slipping out of the competition at the expense of us progressing.
The final game of December, saw us take on FC Nantes
, in Ligue 1. Earlier on in the season, we walked over Les Canaris with a 5-0 home victory and once again we were dominant in this game, but not as dominant in the score line with a 3-1 win the final outcome. Tom Ince
bagged a brace in the space of 9 minutes with Alexandre Lacazette
chipping in with the other. Our opponents pulled one back from the penalty spot, but this was a mere consolation, as we rounded off an unbeaten month.
We may not have reclaimed top spot in the league, still sitting in 2nd
place, however we clearly have the upper hand on Paris Saint Germain. We trail the league leaders by just 3 points, but with two games in hand, we can have a 3 point lead over them ourselves if we are to win those two games.
As for the Europa League, the group stages have now been concluded, with us storming to 1st
place. We didn’t lose a single game, and were a whole 6 points above Slovan Liberec, who qualified along with us.
Player of the Month.
So after a return to more usual form, Alexandre Lacazette
collects the Player of the Month award, for December. The French striker hit home 4 goals in 6 games, answering the critics, after a poor month beforehand. He created opportunities for his team mates in addition to scoring goals, and was looking much more like the player he was at the start of the season, which is very encouraging.
Now that is more like it! 5 wins out of a possible 6 and an unbeaten run, was much more than what I expected to get out of this month heading into it, and is the perfect way to bounce back from the disappointment of November. The lads returned to playing slick, attacking football in all of the games, which got us results effectively and entertained the fans too. Every player put in a great effort and showed the critics up, that we are a very good team and our early season form was certainly not that of a fluke.