Lyon travel to Strasbourg on Sunday in desperate need of a win in order to kick-start their season, having taken only seven points from their opening six Ligue 1 fixtures. They are winless since the opening day rout of Dijon.
Strasbourg could be ideal opponents in that respect, as they are in even worse form, having lost five of their six Ligue 1 matches so far and Lyon won 2-1 away at the Stade de la Meinau in the equivalent fixture last season.
Lyon coach Rudi Garcia knows that his job could be on the line if he fails to get a quick improvement from his team and he’ll hope that the chance to call upon a trio of his new signings for the first time will make a difference.
The three players who were signed just before the close of the summer transfer window could all feature for the first time in Strasbourg. Brazilian attacking midfielder Lucas Paquetá could inject some much needed creativity into the team and defenders Mattia De Sciglio and Djamel Benlamri will also be available to bolster the options at the back.
However, a cluster of Covid-19 cases at the club could play havoc with Garcia’s preparations for the match. Maxence Caqueret, Anthony Lopes, Leo Dubois and Julian Pollersbeck have all reportedly tested positive. That presents a potential goalkeeping crisis as Lopes and Pollersbeck are the only two senior ‘keepers at the club.
If neither of them is available then Togolese international goalkeeper Malcolm Barcola may have to be called up from the reserves. Caqueret looks likely to miss out and the match may come too soon for Dubois as well. Young left-back Melvin Bard is also absent, having picked up a calf injury on international duty with the French U21 squad and Bruno Guimarães is suspended for receiving three yellow cards in the previous six matches.
Most of the absentees will be back by the following weekend, but this short-term selection crisis has undeniably come at a bad time for Garcia given the pressure to turn things around on the pitch. The international break means that he has had precious little time to work with his new signings and it will be a patched up team that takes to the field in Strasbourg. Lyon should still have enough quality to beat the Alsatians, but the same could have been said about most of their opponents thus far this season.