Olympique Lyonnais – Match Report vs Saint-Etienne 08/11/20

By Dom Corrigan – @DomC0801

Olympique Lyonnais ran out 2-1 winners over Claude Puel’s Saint-Etienne in the Derby Rhône-Alpes. Lyon played a 4-3-3 with Tino Kadwere rescuing the game with 2 second-half goals after Anthony Lopes’ first-half OG put Saint-Etienne ahead. Lyon struggled early on, with ASSE’s direct style and 2 striker system causing them early trouble but les Gones recovered well to come out victorious. 


  • A1 –  Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong, potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Maxence Caqueret

Player Profile

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 15/02/2000
  • Club: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Career: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Caqueret played on the right side of Lyon’s midfield 3 until he was substituted in the 86th minute. Caqueret was his typical all-action self, with the young Frenchman impressing both in and out of possession. Caqueret mistimed a tackle on Denis Bouanga in the lead-up to Saint-Etienne’s goal which will have frustrated him but he emerged as Lyon’s best midfielder on the night, outperforming the highly-rated duo of Houssem Aouar and Bruno Guimaraes. Caqueret showed good discipline as he was yellow carded in the 42nd minute and yet was still able to be an effective ball-winning presence wining tackles and not allowing Saint-Etienne’s midfielders any time on the ball as he showed his tenacious attitude by pressing every ASSE player near him and forcing a lot of mistakes in doing so. Caqueret was occasionally caught out of position when ASSE countered, with Adil Aouchiche especially able to get into the spaces behind Caqueret to good effect.

 In possession Caqueret was Lyon’s best midfielder by some distance as he was able to carry the ball forward, as well as dribbling past Saint-Etienne’s young midfield duo at ease. Caqueret’s passing was key to Lyon’s build-up as he would often drop between Sinaly Diomande and Leo Dubois to get through ASSE’s rigid 4-4-2 shape by curling passes out to Dubois or to Toko-Ekambi, Depay or Dembele between the lines or by carrying the ball through a Saint-Etienne press thanks to his remarkable body control and low centre of gravity. He can receive the ball in almost any situation and can turn bad passes into promising situations thanks to his agility and press-resistance. Caqueret is very hard to dispossess and seems to always place the ball just out of reach of defenders when in possession and his agility and quick burst of pace allows him to breeze past opponents who either foul him or let him go. He also got forward to good effect as the game became more stretched with the French u21 international capable of arriving late into the box to exploit the space at the edge of the area whilst still getting back and doing his defensive work thanks to his brilliant work-rate and stamina.

Overall, Caqueret is a very good athlete who makes up for his lack of size with tenacity and a brilliant work-rate. Caqueret is an accomplished dribbler and can advance the ball by either dribbling through midfield or picking out passes which we weights to perfection. He is remarkably press resistant and only really struggles with players occupying the spaces behind him in transition. Even in a game where he did perform to the highest standard, Caqueret stood out in a Lyon midfield in which he is probably the least well-known.

Rating – A1

Houssem Aouar

Player Profile

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 30/06/1998
  • Club: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Career: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Position: Attacking Midfield
  • Secondary Positions: Centre Midfield, Left Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Aouar really struggled to make an impact against Saint-Etienne with the French international only getting 30 touches in his 55 minutes on the pitch before picking up an injury in the 55th minute which reflected his night. Aouar struggled to find space between ASSE’s defence and midfield and only completed 2 passes into the final third. Aouar did not attempt a single dribble and was dispossessed 4 times as he drifted further and further to the left-hand side in search of space.

Playing almost directly against 17-year old Lucas Gourna-Douath, Aouar was unable to cause the teenager any problem and did a poor job of finding spaces that Gourna-Douath left behind him, with Aouar seemingly not aware of the space behind him as he stood watching the ball be passed around behind him. Aouar consistently looked to cut in onto his right foot when receiving and this allowed the Saint-Etienne midfield to become compact as Aouar took a few seconds too long to pass on nearly every occasion and this tendency to dwell on the ball is one of the more frustrating aspects of his game. He did link well with Maxwel Cornet down the left-wing a few times and his ability to weight his passes so they find teammates in stride was on show a lot late in the first half.  His miss late in the first-half when through 1-on-1 against Jessy Moulin summed up Aouar’s night though as his tame effort was easily saved by the ASSE keeper.

Overall, Aouar is undoubtedly supremely talented, with his technical proficiency on show when taking set pieces and his close control brilliant even when receiving poorly weighted passes, but real question marks have to be raised about his consistency. Aouar looked demotivated which is worrying in such a big game and his injury means he has had to pull-out despite his recent call-up to the French squad.

Rating – B1

Sinaly Diomandé 

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Ivorian
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 09/04/2001
  • Club: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Career: Guidars FC (Y), Olympique Lyonnais
  • Position: Centre Back
  • Secondary Positions: Right Back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Diomandé played as the right-sided centre back alongside Belgian international Jason Denayer. Diomandé is brilliant physically, with the Ivorian able to cover in behind Lyon’s defensive line and is always taking a step-off to anticipate a through-ball. Diomandé is brilliant in the air despite his 6’0 frame thanks to a great leap and won 10 of his 13 aerial duels. Diomandé started off the game on the back foot as ASSE’s decision to play with 2 strikers seemed to catch Lyon by surprise and Bouanga and Abi were able to cause the Lyon defence a lot of problems early on but Diomandé emerged as a calming presence midway through the first half and allowed Lyon to begin to push up the pitch.

Diomandé was caught being slightly conservative for Lopes’ OG with the Ivorian not getting across quickly enough to stop Bouanga’s shot that hit the keeper and went in from a tight angle. Diomandé is capable of brilliant last ditch defending and perfectly timed his challenges to block 3 shots from ASSE with his body control especially impressive as he avoids throwing himself into challenges to early. Diomandé is also a talented interceptor of passes, as he steps out of the defensive line on occasion to intercept passes across the pitch. This can however lead to him being dragged slightly out of his defensive line, which ASSE almost took advantage of a few times through Aouchiche or Bouanga, but Diomandé’s pace allows him to recover against most players. Diomandé is quite conservative in possession and underhit quite a few passes as well as never really attempting any incisive passes when options were available between the lines.

Diomandé was very good on such a big stage, and Lyon will feel vindicated by their decision to sell Marcal to Wolves and loan Joachim Andersen to Fulham after seeing the young Ivorian’s confident display.

Rating – A2

Bruno Guimarães

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 16/11/1997
  • Club: Olympique Lyonnais
  • Career: Audax, Athletico Paranaense, Olympique Lyonnais
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary Positions: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Guimarães played as the deepest and most central of Lyon’s midfield 3 but pulled to the left in build-up to allow Houssem Aouar to push forward. The Brazilian is impressive out of possession and has great positional discipline. He always checks his shoulders to attempt to block passes into players between the lines and is intelligent in the way he positions his body when players take him on.

He does a very good job of screening behind Aouar and Caqueret in transition and is effective when Lyon are pressing as he blocks passing lanes well. Guimarães finished the game with 2 interceptions, 3 tackles won and a shot block despite only playing 56 minutes. Lyon looked rather exposed in the last few minutes and probably could have done with Guimarães’ presence in front of their defence. In possession though Guimarães flattered to deceive. He too often opted for the easy pass and completed just 2 progressive passes during the game, with 0 passes into the final third. Guimarães does not seem to want to take players on and sometimes pushes into open space in front of him only to turn around and pass backwards. He has good close control and seems comfortable in possession with the Brazilian agile enough to receive the ball on the half-turn but he does not take enough risks.

Perhaps I just caught Guimarães on an off-day in possession but I felt he would be found wanting in a possession-based side where a DM needs to be capable of progressing the ball. Guimarães is a strong-disciplined player with good ball control. He is relatively press resistant and is very secure in possession however he can be quite risk averse which can stifle some attacking sequences. 

Rating – B2

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