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Walking Memphis? Lyon expecting star back against Nice

Publish on 20/11/2019 at 11h00

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Memphis Depay was subbed off at half-time of the Netherlands' 5-0 win over Estonia on Tuesday, but Olympique Lyonnais are confident of having their star man back when they host OGC Nice on Saturday evening.

Olympique Lyonnais - OGC Nice

Memphis has been in stunning form for Les Gones this season, tallying seven goals and an assist in 10 games despite his club's travails, which saw them replace coach Sylvinho with Rudi Garcia in October.

OL begin the day in 14th, one point and place worse off than visiting Nice, their three-game winning run in all competitions snapped before the international break with Garcia's former employers Olympique de Marseille running out 2-1 victors.

Precaution

Memphis missed that game with a thigh complaint, but returned for the Netherlands in the recent international break as they secured their passage to the UEFA Euro 2020 finals next summer. Eighteen-year-old debutant Myron Boadu replaced Memphis against Estonia, but only as a precaution.

"[My thigh's] ok, but it can still get better," explained the 25-year-old, who is in his fourth season with Lyon following his 2017 move from Manchester United. "At one point I could feel the pain slowly coming back and I preferred not to take any chances. There are still important games to come with my club."

Garcia will have to shuffle his deck elsewhere, however. Houssem Aouar pulled his hamstring against Marseille and is almost certain to sit out of the Nice game, as well as the clash with Zenit Saint Petersburg in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

Injury list

Memphis's international teammate Kenny Tete (knock) and fellow full-back Marçal (thigh) are also doubts, so Léo Dubois and Youssouf Koné are expected to continue at right- and left-back respectively.

Both teams could pull into the top half of the table on Saturday night with victory, something Nice might be rather optimistic of achieving have won both of their meetings with Lyon in the league last season.

Unlike Garcia, Patrick Vieira will be without his star man, however. Algeria defender-turned winger Youcef Atal has picked up five yellow cards in 10 Ligue 1 Conforama games this season, and will sit this one out due to suspension.

Encouraging signs

Atal assisted Pierre Lees-Melou's goal in the 1-1 draw with Girondins de Bordeaux before the international break, a result Vieira was happy with despite allowing two points to slip.

"We were never in danger apart from [Jimmy Briand's] penalty, " he said. "Bordeaux were only better than us in terms of possession. Yes, we played on the counter, but we have to consider our opponents' quality. We're getting better and it's encouraging. I was very happy with the players' state of mind, and also that the fans pushed us until the final minutes."

The Nice squad were on hand to open the city's third tram route on Tuesday. Apart from Atal and Alexis Claude Maurice, who has a calf complaint, Vieira has a full-strength squad with which to plot his side's course back up the table.


Possible line-ups

Lyon: Lopes; Dubois, Andersen, Denayer, Koné; Reine-Adélaïde, Tousart, Mendes; Traoré, Dembélé, Memphis

Nice: Benitez; Burner, Hérelle, Dante, Sarr; Tameze, Cyprien, Lees-Melou; Ganago, Dolberg, Lusamba