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At the Groupama Stadium on Friday night, Lyon will play host to newly-promoted Ajaccio to kick off the Ligue 1 season in 2022-23.
During a poor 2021–22 campaign, Les Gones missed out on qualifying for Europe, while their opponents were making their nine-year exile from the first division official.
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Lyon vs Ajaccio Tips and Prediction
Peter Bosz his team are under extreme pressure to significantly improve on their performances from 2021–2022 because they have less than a year left on their current contract with Lyon.
The seven-time French champions’ inconsistent play marred the previous season, and when West Ham United overpowered and outfought them in the Europa League quarterfinals, Lyon won’t be playing any continental football this year.
The fact that Lyon lost to Anderlecht and Willem II in preseason without scoring a goal and giving up a total of eight goals was rather embarrassing, and there were reportedly concerns about Bosz’s tactics among the Gones playing ranks.
In their final two friendlies, Lyon defeated Feyenoord 2-0 and drew 2-2 with Inter Milan thanks in part to the return of Alexandre Lacazette, who was immediately given the captain’s armband upon his arrival from Arsenal. Last season, Lyon finished the 2021–22 Ligue 1 season with four wins from their final four home matches, scoring three goals in each game and totaling a staggering 17 in the process.
Olivier Pantaloni eventually succeeded in his mission to bring Ajaccio back to the promised land of Ligue 1 after eight seasons, two third-place results (one in the shortened 2019–20 season), and a couple of relegation scares when they finished second to Toulouse in Ligue 2 last year.
Amazingly, the visitors to the Groupama Stadium this week achieved automatic promotion with only 39 goals scored at the proper end of the field to show for it – by far the fewest in the top six – but a strong defense allowed just 19 goals in their own penalty area, which was the fewest in the league.
As L’ours prepare for their first season back in the top flight since being demoted in the 2013–14 campaign and Pantaloni previously achieved a 16th-place finish in the top flight before returning for his third stint in 2014, one would anticipate high-scoring goal fests to be off the menu when Ajaccio are in town.
The 55-year-old, who scored frequently for Ajaccio during his playing career, has strengthened the defense by bringing in Montpellier HSC’s Clement Vidal and Thomas Mangani, two players with valuable Ligue 1 experience.
Ajaccio drew 1-1 with Ligue 1 opponents in Lorient during preseason play, and they most recently played Lyon in the Coupe de France in March 2021, losing handily 5-1 to Les Gones.
We do not anticipate any surprises at the Groupama Stadium, but one can only begin to fathom the whispers of unhappiness that will become clear if Lyon fails to start the first day with a decisive win.
Pantaloni has a lot of seasoned players who are familiar with the top flight and has experience managing at the highest level, but their tenacious defense from 2021–22 will mean nothing against a revitalized Lyon crop, and their goal-scoring issues won’t be resolved overnight either.