Close to relegation last season, Lorient made a thunderous start to the year. With five wins in seven games already, can the Breton club claim anything other than a place in the soft underbelly over the next few months?
Lorient has been untenable since the start of the season.
By throwing Christophe Plissier, who managed to raise and maintain Lorient, two seasons in a row, in Ligue 1, Loc Fry took a huge risk. But the president of the Breton club, who has learned to jostle to become one of the most influential men in the business since taking power in 2009, knows better than anyone the value of his men. And by launching Rgis Le Bris, at the head of the youth teams for ten years, the manager had a hollow nose.
Lorient, the best team on transitions
Rarely has Lorient displayed such character since the departure of Christian Gourcuff in 2014. Long renowned for producing a good game, the Breton team has a new style with the 46-year-old manager: to bend but not to break, to submit. .. and explode against. Since the beginning of the season, the FCL is the team that is the most wait-and-see before triggering a pressing in the low position. On average, opponents complete 21 passes before losing possession of the ball. In parallel, Lorient is one of the curies who explode the fastest to project themselves forward with just under 10 assists before getting the ball taken… or scored.
Among the teams, which like Lorient, are most often dominated in the use of the ball, we find Reims, Clermont, Brest, Monaco, Troyes, Auxerre, Strasbourg, Nantes and Montpellier. All have a negative goal difference, with the exception of MHSC, well helped by their card against SB29 (0-7). In this pack, only Lorient, who has scored more than conceded, stands out, thanks to a balance perfectly found by his coach: a defensive base solid enough to resist the opposing assaults and offensive players efficient enough to make the difference on any phase of the game.
Mvogo makes the difference
Compared to the past season, Yann Mvogo brings much more than Matthieu Dreyer and Paul Nardi. With 26 saves, the Swiss international is the third most employed goalkeeper behind Alexander Nbel (36) and Mory Diaw (33). In addition to being impressive on his line, the former PSV player allows Lorient to support his game in transition thanks to a remarkable hand game. For example, on the last two goals against Olympique Lyonnais (3-1) on Wednesday, the Swiss quickly found their attacking partners to take advantage of the high positioning of the opposing defenders. What’s the point of going through the defense or the middle when you can hit your attackers in less than two seconds?
Among the defenders, we also have something new. In the centre, Julien Laporte forms a complementary pair with Montassar Talbi. The two control laps are the players to have made the most clearances since the start of the season in Ligue 1 (44 for the Frenchman, 39 for the Tunisian). It is no coincidence that Lorient dominates the fair play ranking with only 10 yellow cards (0 red). Proof that Le Bris has complete confidence in his defence, none of the players on the line of four has missed a single minute this season, while Gdon Kalulu has two assists in his last two outings.
An offensive sector that recites its score
If the defensive players in the midfield, namely Laurent Abergel and Bonke Innocent, do the job without going beyond their primary functions, Enzo Le Fe, he is on the screen. Defensive duels, interceptions, passes forward, progress with the ball, dribbling, shooting, the metronome from Lorient is one of the most influential players in the French championship in his sector with Marco Verratti and Youssouf Fofana. Unlike the Parisian and the Mongasque, he manages to be dangerous on set pieces, like his goal from a free kick to launch his team against Les Gones.
The Lyonnais will also remember the two hake attackers Dango Ouattara and Terem Moffi. The Burkinab (3 goals, 4 assists) and the Nigerian (5 goals) have been walking on water since the start of the exercise and have put all the defenses through an ordeal thanks to their complementarity. Despite the departure of Armand Laurient, the solutions remain numerous with Ibrahima Kon (2 goals) and Yoann Caithline, author of the second goal against Nantes (3-2). An offensive sector armed enough to hurt many teams … and allow Lorient to believe in something other than maintenance?
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