March 26, 2023

Life without them is difficult: Alexandre Lacazette and Ludovic Blas serve as compasses and sometimes lifelines in Lyon and Nantes, opposed Friday (9:00 p.m.) at Groupama stadium in Ligue 1 before a reunion on April 5 in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France. France.

The entry into play of captain Lacazette (32) was decisive for OL last week in Lille with a double offering an unexpected draw (3-3) which maintains the hope of snatching fifth place, qualifying for the Europa League Conference.

Rennes, its current occupant, is seven lengths away but it is also necessary to overtake Nice, Lille and Lorient. The Coupe de France also gives hope to Lyon, tenth, to go to the Europa League.

Lacazette, back at OL after five years at Arsenal, scored his fifteenth and sixteenth league goals in Lille, to which are added the three he scored in the Cup.

The former Gunner, nicknamed “the General”, acts as a landmark without whom nothing happens, or almost. And his absence has weighed in recent weeks.

He was injured behind a thigh during the 2-1 victory at Lens on February 12.

– Hiding misery –

Without him, Olympique Lyonnais qualified for the Cup against Grenoble (L2, 2-1) before losing 2-1 against promoted Auxerre, winning at bottom side Angers (3-1) after a lackluster first period , and to be held in check at home by Lorient (0-0), a match that Laurent Blanc’s men could have won.

Cache-misery of the Lyon attack, Lacazette does not guarantee success, as illustrated by the defeats at home against Clermont (1-0) or Strasbourg (2-1), against whom the center forward reduced the penalty mark.

“When you have a very good player and a goalscorer in your group, when he’s there everything is fine and when he’s not there it’s a little worse because goals are the hardest thing to get. This is where we notice it,” insists Laurent Blanc.

A beacon therefore, like Ludovic Blas (25) with the Canaries, whose nest he wanted to leave last summer after a season with fifteen goals, including ten in the league and five in the Cup.

His departure to Lille was almost confirmed but he was forced to stay.

If the attacking midfielder had to overcome his disappointment, he remains on the standards of the 2021/22 financial year with six goals in Ligue 1, including four since the start of the year, and three in the Europa League.

Orphan of his former accomplice Randal Kolo Muani, who left for Frankfurt, the player under contract until 2024 must now find connections with Mostafa Mohamed or Andy Delort.

– “Do much better” –

With Blas, the statistics can sometimes contradict the visual impression. The former Guingampais, in fact, has always had this calm pace of player who seems to do everything with ease and with this apparent inability to hurt himself.

Except that life without Blas quickly becomes monotonous and the opposing goal almost unattainable for Nantes.

Shows him his personal ambitions, without hiding his areas of progress.

“Not to mention being decisive, I have to be more in the penultimate pass, weigh even more on the team’s game. I have fewer chances, I have to get them differently,” said recently the FCN strategist, who cherishes the hope of one day joining the France team.

“I try to work for it, it’s a goal, but I think I’m still far from that level. I’m aware of my qualities, but I know I can do much better,” he said.

Lacazette, probably gave up this idea after sixteen selections (3 goals) including the last in November 2017 against Germany (2-2) with yet a double in the key.

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