Jeff Reine-Adélaïde

Jeff Reine-Adélaïde signed for Lyon from Angers for €25 million in August 2019, but in the three years since then, he has only made twelve starts in Ligue 1 for the club. The story of his time so far in Lyon has been one of regular set-backs and frustrations, but it’s easy to forget that he’s still only twenty-four and should have his best years ahead of him if he can finally find fitness and consistency.

He arrived from Angers amidst much fanfare as Lyon’s marquee signing of a transfer window in which they had lost the heart of their midfield in Tanguy Ndombele and Nabil Fekir. The weight of expectation was, therefore, heavy on his shoulders as fans looked to him to mitigate the departure of those two club legends. Adding to that pressure was the size of his transfer fee, which remains Lyon’s record outlay to this day.

Needless to say, things didn’t turn out as he might have hoped. He started brightly enough, scoring and assisting some important goals, but in December 2019 disaster struck when he tore the cruciate ligament in his right knee in the first half of a match against Rennes, just minutes after teammate Memphis Depay had suffered the same injury. Reine-Adélaïde was out for eight months and didn’t feature again until August 2020, when he was able to contribute from the bench in the final three games of Lyon’s run to the semi finals of the Covid-19 delayed Champions League.

However, his return to fitness didn’t herald a fresh start at Lyon and he soon grew frustrated at a lack of playing time in the early part of the new season. Speaking publicly of his desire for a future away from the club caused a bit of a backlash against him amongst some of the Lyon faithful, and when he moved to Nice on loan with an option to buy on deadline day in October 2020, many assumed that he had played his last game for the club.

Reine-Adélaïde’s career finally seemed to be getting back on track on the Côte d’Azur when history repeated itself. In an eerie echo of his injury at Lyon, he again tore a cruciate ligament in his fifteenth Ligue 1 appearance of the season to curtail a promising start at a new club. This time it was in his left knee and the damage happened in added time at the end of a defeat at Monaco in early February 2021. Faced with another long period of rehabilitation, it was no surprise when Nice decided not to retain his services at the end of his loan.

This time ‘JRA’ was out of action for a whole calendar year, making a tentative return in the Lyon reserves in National 2 in February 2022, before returning to first team action as a late substitute in a 4-1 win at Lorient in March. A few more substitute appearances and one start followed as he felt his way back into the reckoning during the final weeks of the season. Now, with a full pre-season under his belt, perhaps he’s finally ready to make his mark in Lyon.

Born in Champigny-sur-Marne in the Île-de-France, Reine-Adélaïde was on the books of Lens as a youth player, but never made a first team appearance for them before Arsène Wenger plucked him away to Arsenal in 2016. His playing time for the Gunners was restricted to a handful of cup appearances before he was loaned out to Angers for the second half of the 2017-18 season. He impressed enough there to earn a permanent move the following summer and flourished during his full season at the club, evidently catching the eye of the Lyon recruitment team.

Reine-Adélaïde has represented the French national team at every age group level since the Under-16s and was named in the team of the tournament when they won the European U17 Championships in 2015. He earned 21 caps for the Under-21s, captaining them on several occasions, and had been due to play at the 2021 UEFA European Under-21 Championship before his second ACL injury brought his U21 career to a premature end.

A tall, rangy, midfielder with pace and an effortless mastery of the ball, as well as an eye for goal or a killer pass, Jeff Reine-Adélaïde has the skill set to make it at the top level of European football if he can avoid any more bad luck on the injury front. After everything that he’s been through, he deserves some good fortune, an hopefully the best is yet to come.

Date of Birth: 17/01/1998
Place of Birth: Champigny-sur-Marne
Nationality: French
Joined OL: 14/08/2019

Previous teams:
Lens (2014-15)
Arsenal (2015-18)
Angers (2018-19)

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Lyon 4-1 Troyes: OL maintain winning start to Ligue 1 season

Olympique Lyonnais made it two wins from two at the start of the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season with a comfortable victory against Troyes at the Groupama Stadium.

The visitors handed Lyon a dream start when their veteran captain, Adil Rami, played a sloppy back-pass straight to Alexandre Lacazette in the third minute and Lyon’s captain gleefully accepted the gift, firing coolly past Gallon in the Troyes goal from close range.

Lyon dominated possession and were encamped in the Troyes half for the next ten minutes as the team from the Aube département displayed such as lack of attacking ambition that it seemed as though they had only come to try and keep the score down.

However, Lyon couldn’t turn their early pressure into any more goals and the visitors gradually worked their way into the game. Their efforts were rewarded in the thirty-sixth minute when Baldé broke down the right flank and into the box where he was tripped by a mistimed challenge from Tagliafico. Florian Tardieu stepped up to equalise from the spot.

Lyon had been pretty flat and lacking invention for much of the first period following their early charge, so perhaps they got a rollicking from Peter Bosz at half time. Whatever the catalyst, they came out all guns blazing after the interval and restored their lead within a minute when Tetê found Tagliafico free inside the box and the Argentinian redeemed himself with a neat finish.

Three minutes later, the game looked done and dusted as Gallon could only parry a shot from Paqueta, which looped up into the air and down onto the head of Tetê, who nodded in from point blank range. From that point on, it was mainly one-way traffic, but the final goal didn’t come until fifteen minutes from time when Tetê crowned his performance with a nice solo run and shot to beat Gallon at the near post.

There was a lively cameo from Rayan Cherki, on as a substitute for the last few minutes, and he cannoned a shot against the crossbar in injury time, but couldn’t add to Lyon’s advantage. All in all, despite a brief blip during the first half, it was a very satisfying performance from Lyon and bodes well for the season ahead.

Castello Lukeba

Castello Lukeba was the revelation of the 2021-22 season for Olympique Lyonnais. His sudden emergence from the academy was a rare bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming campaign for the club.

He began the season as an unknown eighteen year old without a single first team appearance to his name, but impressed in pre-season friendlies and was thrust into the team for the opening Ligue 1 match against Brest. He partnered the Brazilian Marcelo in central defence and looked assured in a 1-1 draw.

Tall, strong, quick and fearless, he cuts an imposing figure on the pitch and plays with a maturity beyond his tender years. He slotted effortlessly into the heart of the Lyon defence and adapted to senior football as though he’d been playing it all his life. He went on to make 24 starts in Ligue 1 that season, scoring two goals, and looks set to be a mainstay of the Lyon defence for years to come.

Born in Lyon, Lukeba joined the OL academy aged just 9 and has progressed through the ranks at the club, picking up French representative caps at U17, U20 and U21 levels along the way. He certainly has the potential to make the step up to the full French national team one day, and it may not be long until some of the biggest clubs in Europe start making enquiries about his availability.

For now, he just needs to keep working hard and make sure that he continues on his current trajectory at Lyon. A solid second season would confirm that he wasn’t just a flash in the pan last time around, and really is a budding star of the future.

Date of Birth: 17/12/2002
Place of Birth: Lyon
Nationality: French
Joined OL: 2011

Previous teams:
Saint-Genis Laval

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Malo Gusto

Malo Gusto is an energetic right-back who came through the youth team ranks at Lyon’s academy and broke into the first team squad in early 2021, aged just seventeen. His debut came as a late substitute in an emphatic 5-0 derby win away at arch-rivals Saint-Etienne under manager Rudi Garcia.

He was to make one more brief substitute appearance in that 2020-21 season under Garcia before Peter Bosz arrived at the club in the summer and placed his confidence in the youngster, giving him his first start in the opening game of the next season, a 1-1 draw against Brest. Plenty more playing time was to follow, as Malo Gusto quickly established himself as a regular in the team.

The departure of France international right-back Leo Dubois in the summer of 2022 showed the confidence that the club now has in Malo Gusto’s ability to make the position his own for the foreseeable future despite his tender years. He’s now the undisputed first choice right-back at the club and is rated as one of the top young talents in French football.

He has already become a key member of the France Under-21 team, having represented his country at various age groups since Under-16 level, and a full international call-up may not be far away if he continues to progress at the current rate.

Malo Gusto is very much a local boy, having been born in the Lyon suburb of Décines-Charpieu, where the club chose to build their new home, the Groupama Stadium, in the early 2010’s. He joined the famed Olympique Lyonnais academy at Under-14 level and has been with the club ever since.

In his early performances Malo Gusto immediately caught the eye for his high work rate down the right flank. What he lacked in experience, he more than made up for in energy and enthusiasm. He’s full of running and capable of contributing at both ends of the park with repeated lung-busting forays up and down the touchline.

As he matures, his game will doubtless become a bit more refined. He’s still raw, and has room for improvement defensively and positionally, but he can only benefit from the playing time he’s being granted at such a young age.

Experiences such as the controversial penalty that Neymar conned out of the referee in a PSG-OL clash at the Parc de Princes in September 2021, when the devious Brazilian appeared to wrestle Malo Gusto to the ground, should prove highly formative and help him develop the nous he needs to cope with such situations in the future.

Date of Birth: 19/05/2003
Place of Birth: Décines-Charpieu
Nationality: French
Joined OL: 2016

Previous teams:
AS Villefontaine
FC Bourgoin-Jallieu

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Henrique Silva Milagres

Henrique is a Brazilian left-back, who signed for Olympique Lyonnais in summer 2021, aged 27. He arrived on a free transfer from Vasco da Gama, in his native Rio de Janeiro, with whom he had spent his entire career since joining them as a schoolboy. He signed a three year contract with Lyon, tying him to the club until summer 2024.

He had a solid, if unspectacular career with Vasco, making almost two hundred appearances for the club following his debut in 2013, and scoring only one goal, in a Copa do Brasil match away at Goias in 2020. He has yet to represent Brazil at international level, but he did make a couple of appearances for their Under-20 team. His only career honours to date are a pair of Carioca state championship titles picked up with Vasco in 2015 and 2016.

Henrique was rarely used by manager Peter Bosz during the first few months of his time with Lyon, but he broke into the first team after Christmas 2021 and was a regular feature in the starting line-up in the second half of the season. He went on to make 18 Ligue 1 appearances in all, including twelve as a starter and six off the bench.

He was competing with Emerson for playing time during the 2021-22 season, and may have expected to finally get the chance to cement his place in the team when the Italian international’s loan deal came to an end and he returned to his parent club, Chelsea, in the summer.

However, the club went out and signed Argentina international left-back Nicolás Tagliafico from Ajax during that same transfer window and, with Henrique suspended for the opening match of the 2022-23 campaign, the Argentine got an immediate chance to stake a claim for a first team slot.

It looks as though Henrique may have to spend yet more time as an understudy this season. Perhaps Bosz doesn’t quite have full confidence in him as a starter, but he’s shown that he can be a more than competent back-up or reserve option on the left side of defence and is a useful squad player to have around.

Date of Birth: 25/04/1994
Place of Birth: Rio de Janeiro
Nationality: Brazilian
Joined OL: 01/07/2021

Previous teams:
Vasco da Gama (2003-21)

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Lorient v Lyon postponed

Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash between Lorient and Olympique Lyonnais has been postponed at short notice due to the poor state of the pitch at Lorient’s Stade du Moustoir. The match, which had been due to kick off at 13:00 local time on Sunday (14/08/2022) was due to be part of the second round of fixtures in the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season. It will now have to be played at a later date, adding to the fixture congestion that is already being caused by the mid-season World Cup in Qatar in November and December.

This means that there are no fixtures for any of Lyon’s representative teams this weekend. The men are next due to take to the field for their round three fixture against Troyes at the Groupama Stadium on Friday the 19th of August. The reserves don’t start their Championnat National 2 Group C until the following day (Saturday 20/08/2022) when they travel to the Stade Louis Hon to face Fréjus Saint-Raphaël, and the women’s team don’t start their league campaign for another month. They did, however, beat Saint-Étienne 1-0 in a friendly on Thursday with a goal from Eugénie Le Sommer in the thirty third minute.

Winning start for Lyon

Olympique Lyonnais got their Ligue 1 season off to a winning start with a 2-1 win over newly promoted Ajaccio at the Groupama Stadium on Friday evening.

Coach Peter Bosz, whose services were retained following an indifferent first season at the helm, was able to name three of his new signings in the starting line-up in the shape of left-back Nicolás Tagliafico, midfielder Johann Lepenant and striker Alexandre Lacazette.

He set up his team in a 4-3-3 formation, with Lopes in goal, a back four of Malo Gusto, Thiago Mendes, Castelo Lukeba and Tagliafico, Pacqueta and Aouar alongside Lepenant in midfield and Tetê and Toko Ekambi flanking Lacazette in attack.

Lyon got off to a fine start and it was their signing from the tail end of last season, Tetê, who broke the deadlock in the twelfth minute when he struck the ball past Leroy in the Ajaccio goal after a smart lay-off by Lacazette. Tetê was at the centre of the early action and he won a penalty just ten minutes later when he was on the receiving end of a clumsy challenge by Avinel.

Lacazette, newly installed as club captain by Peter Bosz, stepped up and confidently fired the ball home from the spot to double Lyon’s advantage and record his first goal of his second spell at the club.

Lyon seemed to be in complete control but only four minutes later there was a characteristic moment of madness from goalkeeper Anthony Lopes as he rushed off his line to collect a through ball but clashed violently with the oncoming El Idrissy to earn himself a straight red card.

Lopes has plenty of previous for leaving a boot, or hip, or elbow on an oncoming forward and his reputation did him no favours on this occasion, although he caught the ball cleanly enough and, in fairness, it was hard to tell from the replays if there was any intent on his part to injure his opponent or even if he could have avoided a collision.

However, Lyon found themselves down to ten men and another new signing, substitute goalkeeper Rémy Riou, was summoned from the bench to face the penalty from Mangani. He was unable to keep it out and the lead was halved.

Shortly after that, Ajaccio’s former Saint-Etienne midfielder Romain Hamouma was cautioned by the referee and on the stroke of half-time he picked up a second yellow card for a somewhat dubious elbow on Lucas Paqueta and was dismissed, much to the delight of the home crowd.

The second period was much less eventful and, although there were chances for both teams, the scoreline remained unchanged and Lyon could celebrate a 2-1 victory that briefly put them at the top of the nascent Ligue 1 table prior to the remainder of the opening round of fixtures later that weekend.

It’s too early to tell how this season will go, but it’s a promising sign that Lyon didn’t capitulate when faced with the adversity of going down to ten men and conceding a goal in quick succession. I feel as though this is the kind of scenario in which they would have crumbled last season and ended up dropping points, so I’m going to take this performance and result as an early positive sign.

Sainsbury’s TtD Côtes De Provence Rosé

  • Wine: Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Côtes De Provence Rosé
  • Country: France
  • Region: Provence
  • Year: 2020
  • Grapes: unspecified blend
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Bottle top: cork
  • Price: £10.0
  • Purchased: Sainsbury’s (23/06/2022)
  • Rating: four out of five

Tasting Notes

This pale Côtes De Provence Rosé wine is part of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range, so expectations were high. We’re big fans of rosés from this region, so it had a lot to live up to, which is perhaps why I was a little underwhelmed by it. It’s nice, but it doesn’t quite measure up to some of the best rosés from Provence. It has a very delicate flavour and weak aroma, which don’t do an awful lot for the taste buds. It’s very drinkable, but there’s better out there, so I can’t award it the maximum score. However, it is nonetheless a very decent wine.

Christian Patat Pecorino

  • Wine: Christian Patat Pecorino
  • Country: Italy
  • Region: Abruzzo
  • Year: 2020
  • Grapes: Pecorino
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Bottle top: cork
  • Price: £9.99
  • Purchased: delivered by Naked Wines
  • Rating: three out of five

Tasting Notes

I’d only previously heard of Pecorino as an Italian hard ewe’s cheese, but apparently it’s a grape variety too. It’s a light-skinned white grape most commonly used in the Italian Marche and Abruzzo regions and it’s from Abruzzo that this wine hails. More specifically, it’s from the Terre di Chieti IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica). The IGT is the third tier of wine classification in Italy, behind DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) and DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), but above VdT (Vino da Tavola).

The label describes this wine as “bursting with refreshing citrus fruits, balanced with a smooth, rich texture” and its suggested accompaniments are a picnic, salads or seafoods. It was refreshing enough, although I have to say that I found it to be a bit bland compared to other Naked Wines offerings. It was nice, but nothing special, and there are plenty of nicer whites out there.

Wine Route Chardonnay

  • Wine: Wine Route Chardonnay
  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Valdepeñas
  • Year: 2021
  • Grapes: Chardonnay
  • ABV: 12%
  • Bottle top: screw cap
  • Price: £7.00
  • Purchased: Tesco
  • Rating: two out of five

Tasting Notes

This is a distinctly average white wine. It’s part of the meal deal offering from Tesco, so we’ve had it a couple of times and I thought it was OK the first time around, but I really didn’t like it much the second time we tried it. Maybe it depends what you accompany it with and the other tastes on your palate. The label describes it as having ‘a crisp, dry character and flavours of zesty lemon and passion fruit‘, but I found it to be a very harsh flavour on my most recent tasting and I don’t think I’ll be coming back to it again.