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A bunch of Premier League rejects are now the Champions League’s great entertainers

Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traore and Jason Denayer are part of a Lyon side keeping the neutrals happy

The Premier League isn’t always a safe haven for everyone.

Now we’re not – I repeat not – hinting that Ligue 1 has any semblance to this ‘Farmers’ League’ everyone seems to disparage it with, but the French top flight has been a nice home to rehabilitate flops from England in recent years.

And Lyon is proving to be a prime location.


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Entertainment package

AFP
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Entertainment package

In the Champions League this season the French giants have endeavoured to be one big beautiful mess of unpredictable fun.

They’ve gone to Man City and WON, come back from two goals down to salvage a point against Shakhtar and then thrown away a lead to draw 3-3 at Hoffenheim.

Basically you’re getting your money’s worth.

Blocking out the haters

AFP
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Blocking out the haters

That’s five points, seven goals and a win over the pre-tournament favourites all in the bag at the group’s halfway mark.

And their firepower has been inspired by a number of familiar faces to English fans.

Memphis Depay’s Man United career was a shambles, defined by that attempted headed back pass at Stoke. Still to this day, I can’t comprehend what was going through his mind.

‘I’ve made a huge mistake’

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‘I’ve made a huge mistake’

But in a new role the Dutchman is flying and a man reborn, scoring 22 times last season and three already this.

He’s ably supported in attack by an man starting to make a real splash on the continent and who Chelsea fans are sure to regret leaving so soon.

Bertrand Traore is developing into one of the most direct, effective wide forwards in Europe after escaping the suffocating Chelsea loan club.

He has 17 goals in 35 Ligue 1 games for Lyon and six in all competitions this season.

Remember him, Chelsea fans?

AP:Associated Press
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Remember him, Chelsea fans?

With former Celtic and Fulham man Moussa Dembele and the creative genius of Nabil Fekir in support Lyon are set up to score goals, goals and more bloody goals.

Behind them?

It’s only former Man City and Sunderland centre-back Jason Denayer, who is now a regular at the heart of their defence.

A long way away from the Sunderland doom and gloom

EPA
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A long way away from the Sunderland doom and gloom

Just two years ago the Belgian was part of the Black Cats’ sinking ship, but now he’s playing Champions League football and back in the international picture.

When you add former Man United full back Rafael and Newcastle stopper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa into the mix, it’s a Premier League flop frenzy.

Just proof, like English youngsters are finding in Bundesliga, that there’s more to life than the ‘best league in the world’.


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