There may have been a few smiles etched on the faces of those in Lyon colours, as they unexpectedly beat Valencia 2-0 at the Mestalla in the Champions League. It does not change the fact that they finished rock bottom of their group, heaping further disappointment in what has already been a testing season.
Now off the back of a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain and a 2-1 loss away at Gazalec Ajaccio, they are without a win in six Ligue 1 matches, as Lyon and manager Hubert Fournier face what many are calling a crisis.
While PSG have been runaway leaders in the league, the positions behind them have been very interchangeable. Lyon, who at one point occupied second have now dropped to ninth, but they do remain only five points off a Champions League position.
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This is in stark contrast to last season, where their swashbuckling brand of football saw them push their Parisian rivals to the final weeks of the season in the race for the title. Having kept most of their key players, many thought this young team would push on this year.
It could be said that Lyon’s season was derailed as early as September in a friendly between France and Portugal. Last season’s young player of the year Nabil Fekier was making his first start for Les Blues, before he went down with a knee injury that would rule him out for most of the season.
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The injury shifted further responsibility onto the shoulders of striker Alexandre Lacazette, who very much like his team has not lived up to last season’s hype. Aside from a stunning hat-trick against St. Etienne, he has struggled for goals, which resulted in an omission from the latest France squad.
Job on the line
As a result of their less than acceptable form this season, Fournier has come under immense scrutiny and pressure in recent weeks.
He has done his best to sidestep questions on his future, though his own players have felt the need to jump to his defence, with Jordan Ferri telling L’Equipe: “We’re behind our coach. Last year, it went well and we were happy. Here it goes less well, it is not because of this that we must release the coach.”
Before the PSG match it had been rumoured that Fournier has two matches to save his job. Well those two matches have passed now and both results were not favourable for the Frenchman, so it could only be a matter of time before he is released from his position.
Last season’s exploits may have banked him some time, but the question is how much?
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