LIGUE 1 – Lacazette-Tolisso: the sirens of Lyon’s nostalgia

Back to the future in the Rhône. Since their last touches of the ball together in the Lyon jersey, five years have passed, in a different way, for the two new OL recruits, Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso. Five years at Arsenal for the tricolor striker and five years with Bayern Munich for the world champion midfielder.

A period that did not necessarily confirm the enormous potential that we could lend to the first, and frustrating for the second, often hampered by injuries over the past four seasons. At Arsenal first of all, Alexandre Lacazette arrived with impressive stats after his last season at Olympique Lyonnais (28 goals and 3 assists in 30 games in 2016-2017). But the confirmation did not actually take place.

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Contrasting results abroad

For his first season in the Premier League, the former Gone scored only half of the goals he had been able to score in Ligue 1 the previous season for two additional matches played. But Lacazette’s offensive performance has really dropped this year. With still 30 matches on the clock, the French international has found the net only four times, despite 7 assists.

On the side of his friend Corentin Tolisso, the results are not necessarily reassuring either. World champion in 2018, the midfielder struggled to establish himself in the Munich midfield (he is not the only one) and was notably hampered by numerous injuries. His last, contracted in April, ironically even allowed him to return to OL because, without playing the end of the season, Tolisso was therefore unable to attract offers from major European clubs.

With less than 50 matches in the legs during the last four seasons, Tolisso, who has only played 15 matches this year, at least has the opportunity to breathe a little now. OL’s non-qualification in the Champions League will allow them to play only one match per week and thus avoid injuries, even if one of their calves has already prevented them from playing the matches of pre-season.

Back to basics

The return to the fold could therefore be beneficial to the two former glories of Lyon. By signing until 2027, Corentin Tolisso has ensured security in a club he knows from the field to the stands, while Alexandre Lacazette has returned free of any contract to relaunch, until 2025, in a championship who has seen it shine in the past.

It is sure that the return of Alex played a role

Moreover, the two men, friends in life, would not necessarily be reunited if one had not pleaded in favor of the other. “‘Alex’ has written to me as much in a month as he has in the last five years”, Tolisso had fun at a press conference. Of course, Alex’s return played a role. He’s a friend to me. The fact that we also did great things with OL previously, that was an added advantage in my choice.”

Together, the two Gones spent 4 seasons in the Lyon jersey for an untitled but honorable record: twice French vice-champions (2015, 2016), finalists in the Coupe de la Ligue (2014), twice finalists in the Trophy champions (2015, 2016) and semi-finalists of the Europa League (2017).

Find the OL DNA

Their return revives the nostalgia of prosperous years even if unfinished. While Olympique Lyonnais failed to qualify for the European Cups this season, Jean-Michel Aulas had a very specific idea when recalling these two players: “We must return to the values ​​of the club, return to an OL identity, take whatever it takes to rebuild a conquering state of mind. We want OL DNA to be the watchword of the future.”

This identity will therefore be part of a game plan proposed by Peter Bosz, a 4-2-3-1 in which Corentin Tolisso should find himself alongside Maxence Caqueret, while the tip of the attack will be occupied by Alexandre Lacazette . The advantage with Tolisso being that he is a player of such versatility that, if his physique leaves him some freedom, he could be replaced in any position in the midfield. A major asset for a workforce now orphaned by Tanguy Ndombélé and Bruno Guimaraes.

As for Alexandre Lacazette, already a scorer in pre-season matches, Lyon’s nostalgia could give him wings in a championship of a lower level than that of the Premier League, where contacts are notably rougher. From there to repeating their performances of yesteryear, nothing is less certain, but the transfer window is not over and, if OL decides to also strengthen their rearguard, then the relay of the midfield and the point of the attack could only benefit.

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