Lyon continue to prove post-Lacazette doubters wrong

This week’s Ligue 1 focus looks at how the emergence of Nabil Fekir as the goalscorer-in-chief for outside title hopefuls Olympique Lyonnais has ensured the club have not encountered a post-Lacazette hangover in front of goal.

Many a Lyon supporter would have been justified for coming into the 2017/18 with a sense of trepidation, having said goodbye to the club’s star striker Alexander Lacazette.

A local boy, Lacazette joined Lyon in 2003 at the age of 12, rising his way up through the ranks of the academy to become the lynchpin of his childhood club before eventually departing to seek a new opportunity at Premier League giants Arsenal.

However, the departure of the talismanic centre forward, who netted 100 league goals during his seven years at the Les Gones, has seen compatriot and fellow academy product Nabil Fekir emerge from his shadow – His fine form across the 2017/18 campaign quickly cementing his position as the fans’ new hero and quite rightly attracting the attentions of some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Technically gifted, with both an eye for a goal and the ability to create opportunities for those around him, Nabil Fekir is arguably one of the hottest properties in world football.

Having spent much of his career in a supporting role for Lacazette, Fekir has staked his claim as goalscorer-in-chief for the French side, netting a more than respectable 16 goals in 19 performances in Ligue 1 – a return that has helped him to 79 points for the season, 24 points more than any of his teammates.

In contrast, his fellow countryman has failed to live up to the lofty expectations that derive from his £46.5m price tag.

Whilst Lacazette’s all-round play and application signify a striker keen to deliver at his new home, his return in front of goal has thus far not lived up to the heights of his time in his homeland, scoring nine league goals in 24 appearances for the Gunners.

Fekir’s exquisite goal scoring form has seen Lyon drive up the table, the heroics of their last gasp 2-1 victory over league leaders Paris Saint-Germain seeing them capture the second place spot – eight points behind the side from the capital.

Whilst his exploits are unlikely to be sufficient for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes team to realistically mount a serious challenge for the Ligue 1 title when considering the resources available at the disposal of PSG, the side will be hopeful that he can fire them to a return to the Champions League for the 2018/19 campaign.

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