PSG 2-0 Lyon | Two own goals give PSG the win


Two teams aiming for similar result during the end of the season faced each other in the Gameweek 6 of Ligue 1 2017/18 season. With just 4 points separating the two teams after the end of 6 games, these two teams were the only teams left undefeated along with Bordeaux. However with Paris Saint Germain playing in the game against Lyon at Parc des Princes, one would’ve expected a comfortable home win for the title favourites.

Spending over 200m in the summer, PSG were the only team in the league to boast a 100% start to the season by not dropping points. A win or a draw would’ve kept the most successful Ligue 1 club in the 21st century in touching distance with PSG.

Line ups

PSG 2-0 Lyon | 1

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PSG (4-2-3-1/4-2-1-3) | Manager: Unai Emery

16.Areola– 32.Alves, 2.Silva, 3.Kimpembe, 20.Kurzawa – 8.Motta, 25.Rabiot – 23.Draxler – 29.Mbappe, 9.Cavani, 10.Neymar

Lyon (4-2-3-1) | Manager: Bruno Genesio

1.Lopes – 23.Tete, 6. Marcelo, 15.Morel, 22.Mendy – 29.Tousart, 28.NDombele – 10.Traore, 18.Fekir, 11.Depay – 9.Mariano

The home manager opted for the 4-2-3-1 system in which Areola started in goal as Alves, Silva, Kimpembe and Kurzawa were deployed as the back four. In the centre, Motta and Rabiot played as the double pivots where Draxler played ahead of the two just behind the striker Cavani. The two new acquisitions Neymar and Mbappe started in the wide areas on either side of Cavani.

Bruno Genesio sent his side in a much similar structure but on a different game plan. Lyon were sent out to see less amount of the ball and defend. Lopes was deployed in between the sticks while a back four of Tete, Marcelo, Morel and Mendy guarded his goal. In the midfield, the double pivot started. Tousart and NDombele were deployed behind an attacking trio of Traore, Fekir and Depay. A lone striker in Mariano was asked to pounce on the mistakes made by PSG.

In attack, PSG had variety of options going forward. Known for the 4-2-4 structure in the recent past, Unai Emery has never had the heart to lose out on the idea. PSG attacked in 4-2-4 giving them more width in the final third. However they were overpowered in the central areas. This meant that one of Neymar, Mbappe and Draxler would drop deep and occupy in between the lines to receive the ball and move upfront.

These movements were seen especially from Neymar as he would drop deep to interchange passes with Rabiot and carry the ball upfront.

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Lyon on the other hand, responded with a compact defensive 4-4-2-0 which was pretty narrow and concentrated in the centre. The wide players from PSG were often able to advance due to the lack of numbers resulting in 2v1s with the advancing full back. However the shape of PSG meant that they always had the risk of leaving space in turnovers.

As it can be seen from the above image, a turnover can allow the Lyon wingers to occupy the space between the full backs and centre backs. This was adeptly done by Depay and Traore. In this system, both the wide players would drop back to join the double pivot while Fekir in the centre would be joined by Mariano.

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As it can be seen from the above image, Lyon have set themselves up in a 4-4-2 responding to the attack of the Paris team. Depay has been the key going forward as most of the attack came through the left while Traore who was lively would often move into the centre drifting into the space.

PSG 2-0 Lyon | 4

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The above image shows Lyon generated almost half of their attack through their left flank as NDombele and Mendy were quick and pretty effective on the counters alongside Memphis Depay. Depay was the outlet of the team in most instances which comparatively had very low amount of possession. The image below shows the overall average position of the players in the game and the combination of the trio in the left flank.

PSG 2-0 Lyon | 5

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In most instances PSG defended in a 4-2-3-1 when Lyon had the ball up the field. Both Neymar and Mbappe would drop back to join Draxler while Cavani would be the lone striker up top to pounce on the mistakes. In the image below we can identify how PSG defended in response to Lyon’s possession and movements on the ball.

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We can identify that both the wingers have occupied spaces outside the full backs, the result of adopting the 4-2-4, however the back four of PSG were solid that they were able to see out the attack. Lyon made 10 attempts from open play and it was quite amazing considering that PSG bossed possession 70-30%.

Given that PSG would see most of the ball and would definitely break the build up, Lyon depended on the individual skills of their players rather than collective displays. They created a good number of goal scoring opportunities through individual skill through the likes of NDombele, Depay and Traore.

For PSG, the movements off the ball were quite telling as Mbappe and Neymar were often able to make runs and find space between the lines. With Neymar moving to the centre, his marker was eventually dragged with him creating the lane for the advancing full back to run into. In the second half, Neymar started on the right and Mbappe on the left as they switched flanks.

Neymar’s movements pulled the winger into the middle and Alves was able to advance in the space now created by Neymar. The below image shows the same as Neymar evacuates the space which is to be occupied by the advancing full back.

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The full backs played a huge role on the night and it was visible from the movements of Kurzawa who occupied relatively high positioning compared to his full back partner. Kurzawa often provided the numerical overloads in the left as PSG were able to create more number of chances through that side.

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This image shows how Kurzawa played alongside Neymar and Cavani high up the pitch. This often gave the likes of Motta and Rabiot the option of playing a long ball to the wide areas when they were pressed in the middle.

PSG 2-0 Lyon | 9

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The narrowness of the 4-4-2 adopted by Lyon helped PSG to attack down the wings and Kurzawa was adept at bombing up forward whenever he found space. He was the outlet in most cases for the home team as most of the attacks came through that flank.


Starting initially in a 4-2-3-1, PSG often saw its wide players Neymar and Mbappe taking up relatively high positions which allowed them to attack them through overloads in the flanks. However Lyon were playing equally good in the first half as they were able to capitalize on the counters though the finishing let them down. With their sixth win of the season in 7 games, PSG extended their great start to the season.