x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Lyon's class of 2009 is not the best

The Olympique Marseille assistant coach Guy Stephan thinks Lyon have been going downhill since the team's 2004/05 vintage.

The Olympique Marseille assistant coach Guy Stephan thinks Lyon have been going downhill since the team's 2004/05 vintage. Stephan, who had a spell as coach at the Stade Gerland in the mid-1990s, is confident OM can beat their title rivals tonight after claiming Les Gones have regressed in recent years. "They are still a good team," he told Marseille's website, "but they don't have the quality nor the power of the 2004/05 team."

That Lyon side won 22 of their 38 Ligue 1 games and finished 12 points clear of closest challengers Lille. "They do have good players though," he added. "To beat Liverpool [at Anfield in the Champions League] is not a feat every team are capable of. They will be difficult opponents but we can take them on and beat them." Marseille, who spent big in the summer in the hope of ending a 16-year title wait, are seventh in the table, five points and five places behind Lyon.

In Spain, Sevilla should welcome back two key players in striker Fredi Kanoute and midfielder Adriano as they seek a second successive win in the Primera Liga against Villarreal. Kanoute has been struggling with a calf problem, while the Brazilian has been absent since suffering a thigh injury in the Champions League win away to Stuttgart on October 20. Last week's 2-0 success against Xerez saw Sevilla return to the form which had seen them pick up five successive league wins prior to taking just one point from games against Deportivo La Coruna and Espanyol.

But Villarreal's French defen-der Julien Escude told Marca: "[Villarreal] have had two very good results, they are scoring goals and now they are at their level. Their season started badly, but now they have such confidence that the game will be very difficult and complicated." * With agencies Lyon v Marseille, KO midnight, Aljazeera Sport 1