European teams are now in preseason with the Women’s International Champions Cup representing a chance to see the different champions in early action. This game contested between Olympique Lyon and Atletico Madrid showed us a glimpse of what we can expect from the two champions this season. The season starts for Lyon on August 24th against Olympique Marseille so this tournament represents a final chance to see how the new tactical changes can fit in.
Lineup & Squad
Both managers used this game to bed in their new signings and see how they performed for their new teams. New Lyon manager Jean-Luc Vasseur gave starts to both Nikita Parris and Alex Greenwood while Jose Luis Sanchez started Toni Duggan but kept Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and Kylie Strom on the bench.
Lyon lined up in a 4-4-2 formation looking to play an entertaining, attacking brand of football. Atletico Madrid looked to play a more narrow 4-1-2-1-2 system pairing Duggan with Ludmila da Silva. Ada Hegerberg partnered Eugenie Le Sommer who looked to play around the Norwegian striker.
Olympique Lyon (4-4-2): Bouhaddi; Bronze, Renard, Mbock, Greenwood; Parris, Henry, Marozsan, Majri; Hegerberg, Le Sommer
Atletico Madrid (4-1-2-1-2): Gallardo; Aleixandri, Tounkara, Linari, Montero; Torrecilla; Meseguer, Sosa; Sampedro; Duggan, Ludmila
This match was an opportunity for the new managers to test out a different formation and under former manager Reynald Pedros, Lyon preferred a 4-2-3-1 system but Vasseur has immediately employed a 4-4-2 which they used a mere 17% last season.
Tactical Analysis – Atletico Madrid’s game plan
Atletico Madrid employed a 4-1-2-1-2 and concentrated their play centrally. Their diamond midfield was meant to create numerical superiority against the two Lyon central midfielders and force support to arrive from elsewhere. Angela Sosa was critical in Atletico Madrid’s midfield being their main creative instigator. She initially started at left midfield but Greenwood and Majri’s lethal combination overran Laia Aleixandri time and time again. An early substitution from Sanchez saw new signing Strom come in at left-back and switched Sosa to the right to support the young full-back Aleixandri. This change saw her get on the ball a lot more and dictate the pace of the game. Their attacking strategy derived from a high press starting with the two centre-forwards.