A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.
The Ligue 1 table has a slightly more familiar look to it ahead of the 10th round of matches, after victories for all the big teams last weekend.
Paris Saint-Germain climbed to third with an impressive 2-0 win at Toulouse on Saturday. Mevlüt Erding claimed only his second goal of the season to seal the win, finishing a neat move involving a typically ornate flick from Nenê and an astute through-ball by Ludovic Giuly. Paris are above Marseille on goal difference after the champions edged Nancy 1-0, with Loïc Rémy claiming his first OM goal – and taking a swipe at Damien Gregorini’s face in the process – to cover up an unconvincing display from Didier Deschamps’s side.
Bordeaux are now seventh thanks to a 1-0 win at Auxerre. Anthony Modeste claimed the game’s only goal, but the major talking point of the weekend was the dismissal of new France captain Alou Diarra for reacting to a yellow card from referee Wilfried Bien by shoving him in the chest. He has been provisionally suspended until November 10, when the Professional Football League (LFP) will announce their decision on his punishment.
The game of the round was unquestionably Lyon’s 3-1 win at home to Lille on Sunday night. Lisandro López claimed a brace for the hosts, with Yoann Gourcuff netting his first goal in Lyon’s colours and Moussa Sow replying with a spectacular overhead kick. OL are up to 14th, four points short of third place, and Claude Puel’s crunch meeting with Jean-Michel Aulas on October 28 suddenly looks a much less daunting prospect.
Rennes held onto top spot despite drawing 0-0 at second-bottom Lens, while second-placed Saint-Etienne fell to a 2-1 defeat at Nice after losing Gonzalo Bergessio to a harsh red card in the 22nd minute. Arles-Avignon claimed their first point of the season in a 0-0 draw at Brest, but they’re still bottom (and still going down).
Goal of the week: Anthony Mounier (Nice 2-1 Saint-Etienne):
Player of the week: Lisandro López (Lyon, pictured)
After a miserable start to the season, Lyon are currently on a run of four straight wins in all competitions, but they didn’t look like a fully functioning team until Lisandro awoke from his slumber this week to claim three goals in two games. He was full of menace against Lille, putting OL ahead in the third minute with a powerful drive from outside the box and sealing victory with a 56th-minute penalty. He could have had a hat-trick against Benfica in the Champions League (see below), but after Achilles and thigh injuries, problems with his weight and rumours of discord with Puel, the reigning Ligue 1 Player of the Year is beginning to look like a €28 million striker again.
Quote of the week
“Sometimes when you’re in the car, someone does something to you and you have a reaction that lasts two seconds, which you regret on the third second. The only problem is that there was the first and the second. That’s what happened to him.”
– Laurent Blanc deploys another slightly tortured transport-related metaphor, as he speaks out in support of Alou Diarra
Stat of the week (courtesy of OptaJean)
Gourcuff’s goal for Lyon against Lille put an end to a 945-minute personal goal drought in Ligue 1.
8: Dimitri Payet (Saint-Etienne)
5: Youssef El-Arabi (Caen), Moussa Sow (Lille)
4: Gervinho (Lille), Olivier Giroud (Montpellier), Nenê (PSG), Benoît Pedretti (Auxerre)
4: Marvin Martin (Sochaux), Anthony Mounier (Nice), Jaroslav Plašil (Bordeaux)
3: Jimmy Briand (Lyon), Roy Contout (Auxerre), Ludovic Giuly (PSG), Jérôme Leroy (Rennes)
Week 10 fixtures
Saturday: Nancy v Lorient, Bordeaux v Brest, Lens v Nice, Saint-Etienne v Caen, Monaco v Valenciennes, Rennes v Montpellier, Sochaux v Toulouse; Sunday: PSG v Auxerre, Arles-Avignon v Lyon, Lille v Marseille
Marseille belatedly got their Champions League campaign in gear with a 1-0 win at home to MŠK Žilina on Tuesday that puts them three points behind second-placed Spartak Moscow in Group F (Chelsea’s group), but Auxerre’s ambitions of playing European football in the spring were seriously compromised after they went down 2-1 at Ajax in a game that featured three red cards.
Lyon looked like something approaching the force of old in an assured 2-0 win at home to Portuguese champions Benfica on Wednesday. Jimmy Briand broke the deadlock with a header mid-way through the first half and then set up Lisandro for the second in the 51st minute, after Argentine starlet Nicolás Gaitán had been sent off for the visitors two minutes before the interval. Lyon lead Schalke by three points in Group B and are on the brink of reaching the last 16 for the eighth season in a row.
A goal three minutes from time by substitute Clément Chantôme earned PSG a 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League on Thursday, after Nuri Şahin had put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half. It was the first time PSG had conceded a goal in eight matches but it enabled them to preserve their lead over Sevilla in Group J. Lille beat Levski Sofia 1-0 and are five points behind Sporting in second place in Group C.