Rumours will continue to link Lyon’s Alexandre Lacazette with a move to the Premier League, the Manchester Evening News suggests he is a target for Manchester City, and ESPN FC discusses a move to Liverpool, but as long as the striker continues to score, the French club will happily continue to fend off speculation.
Lyon were the first team out of Ligue 1’s top four to play this weekend and it was a chance for Les Gones to extend their lead at the top and put pressure on Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Saint-Etienne.
Nothing but a win was expected, despite playing away against Lens at the Stade de la Licorne, and Hubert Fournier’s side went about their business very professionally, with Lacazette scoring his 20th goal of the season, extending his scoring run to five-in-a-row.
20 - @LacazetteAlex is the first player to score 20 goals after 21 matchdays in Ligue 1 since Carlos Bianchi in 1977/78. Historic.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) January 17, 2015
Lyon took the lead after 21 minutes when right-back Christophe Jallet made advances down the flank, released Nabil Fekir and the 21-year-old’s cross was turned into his own net by Jean-Philippe Gbamin.
Lens would finish the weekend in 19th place, and the one thing you don’t want to be doing when you are in the relegation zone is gifting the top sides easy goals.
Another simple error gave Lyon the chance to go 2-0 up, just five minutes later. Young right-back Boubacar Sylla put out his arm when trying to deal with a cross to the back post. The ball hit his arm and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot.
Lacazette stepped up, and with the smallest of run ups, he tucked the ball to the goalkeeper’s right, Rudy Riou going the wrong way.
Despite Lens having a number of early chances, the game was over as a contest. Having played Lens in the last round of the Coupe de France and allowed them to come back into the game in the same position, Lyon played out the remainder of the game fairly comfortably.
The win put Lyon clear at the top of Ligue 1, but with PSG and Marseille both winning on Sunday, they lead by a single point after 21 games.
The future of Lacazette is key to Lyon’s title chances, but the more he continues to score, the higher and higher any valuation of the France international is going to climb.
If he can add a Ligue 1 title to his résumé, Lyon may be able to hold on to him for another 18 months even if big-name clubs come calling.