Lyon fended off swirling transfer rumours to open up a provisional three-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a convincing 2-0 win at Valenciennes on Friday.
Gueida Fofana scored his first goal in the French top flight before Bafetimbi Gomis netted his 12th of the season to return Remi Garde's side to the top of the table.
Schalke target Michel Bastos was omitted from Lyon's squad, while Lisandro Lopez -- rumoured to be on his way to Juventus -- was a late withdrawal reportedly due to illness.
Despite the absence of two of their key performers, the visitors went in front after just eight minutes at Stade du Hainaut as Fofana arrowed a crisp low strike past Nicolas Penneteau from 25 yards.
Penneteau then repelled two stinging strikes from Gomis to keep Valenciennes within touching distance but the home keeper was unable to thwart Gomis for a third time as he doubled Lyon's advantage on 28 minutes.
Alexandre Lacazette combined well Anthony Reveillere on the right flank before firing in a low cross that Gomis steered into the roof of the net via the hand of Penneteau.
Title-favourites Paris Saint-Germain could regain first place on Sunday if they beat Lille, while third-place Marseille can draw to within a point of the leaders with a victory at Rennes on Saturday.