Lyon under Dutch coach Peter Bosz use a 1-4-2-3-1 formation which however changes into different variants at different phases of the match with frequent and smooth transitions into 1-4-3-3. Lyon’s play is fast and combinational and the players are given a lot of freedom to move around the pitch.
Although it is difficult to see a specific structure in Bosz’s phase of ball possession during the preparation of the attack Lyon places their side defenders (Gusto, Emerson) very high, who move up to the line of central midfielders forcing their partners from the wings (Ekambi, Paqueta) to move into strikers positions or inside. In this phase they thus take on a 1-2-4-4 shape.
The two central defensive midfielders (rotating Caqueret, Mendes, Ndombele or Da Silva) are then supposed to stay back and provide deeper passing options, while once the team has lost the ball they hold their positions and cover the space at the back preventing opponents from penetrating the center. In the offensive third both central midfielders must take an active part in the playmaking with the task of passing the ball on very fast or finding players in free space.
After losing possession Lyon always looks for pressure. The players closest to the ball try to recover it immediately, while the rest of the team closes open channels and tries to limit the number of passing options in this zone. They press aggressively in the flanks also with the wingers playing close to the opposing defenders. The central defenders are positioned very high in advance of the rivals’ forwards. Against rivals who play the ball deep they apply active and very aggressive pressing on the central defenders with active participation of all forwards.
When the game moves to the centre both central midfielders move as if they were tied with a rope, in fact their movement consists of transitions from vertical to horizontal. Thus, in the pressing phase Lyon has two central lines while in the defensive phase in their own half the central line becomes one, eliminating the possibility of the opponent playing between the lines. In their own half of the pitch the midfielders line up horizontally and form a 1-4-4-2 formation.
After recovering the ball Lyon look for immediate vertical passes into wide areas or to the striker. When that fails they construct actions from the two central defenders (Lukeba, Boateng) while the wing-backs move forward and the central midfielders make a move towards the back to help playmaking the ball.