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.
As France baked in unseasonably warm spring temperatures, Lille and Marseille both fluffed their lines to allow Lyon a glimpse of the title and permit Paris Saint-Germain to re-ignite their Champions League ambitions.
Lille stumbled in unexpected fashion, going down 1-0 at improving Monaco after Adil Rami’s woeful back-pass allowed Park Chu-Young to break the deadlock in the 12th minute. The visitors’ cause was not helped eight minutes before half-time when Gervinho saw red for charging at Adriano following an untidy tackle from the Monaco defender and Lille’s attempts to break down their hosts’ well-drilled back four in the second half proved uncharacteristically toothless.
Second-placed Marseille would have closed to within a point of the leaders if they had beaten Toulouse but they had to settle for a point after André-Pierre Gignac’s 85th-minute equaliser earned a 2-2 draw at Stade Vélodrome. The former Toulouse player did not celebrate but he did fire a telling glare at the home fans in the Virage Nord.
Flagging Rennes, fourth, have now gone four games without a win after a 2-0 loss at Brest but there was good news on Tuesday when coach Frédéric Antonetti penned a two-year contract extension. Fifth-placed PSG closed to within four points of the Champions League places by winning 2-1 at Caen, while Lyon were the only other side in the top five to win, putting a tense week behind them to prevail 3-0 at home to Lens and climb to third.
Lens are now seven points from safety and appear destined for Ligue 2, but Monaco’s win over Lille took them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Auxerre, who have lost influential captain Benoît Pedretti for the rest of the season due to an adductor muscle injury. Arles-Avignon drew 0-0 at Bordeaux but will be relegated if they lose at home to Valenciennes on Sunday.
Ligue 1 results
Saturday: Auxerre 2-2 Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux 0-0 Arles-Avignon, Caen 1-2 PSG, Lorient 1-1 Sochaux, Monaco 1-0 Lille, Valenciennes 1-1 Nancy, Brest 2-0 Rennes; Sunday: Marseille 2-2 Toulouse, Montpellier 1-1 Nice, Lyon 3-0 Lens
Goal of the week: Nolan Roux (Brest 2-0 Rennes):
Player of the week: Nolan Roux (Brest)
Before Saturday’s defeat of Rennes, Brest had picked up just seven points from a possible 30 since the turn of the year. That Nolan Roux missed this precise period through injury can hardly have been coincidental and the 23-year-old striker marked his second start of 2011 with a sensational 35-yard rocket (see above) to set Alex Dupont’s side on course for victory against their Brittany rivals. Prior to his injuries (a fractured metatarsal followed by a thigh problem), Roux had set himself a target of 10 goals for the season. With eight games to play he is four goals short. In any case, with Roux back in the side, Brest look far less likely to get drawn into relegation danger.
Quote of the week
“I believe that M6 could live without les Girondins but I don’t believe that les Girondins could currently live without M6. The results aren’t coming and the style isn’t coming. Eighth place is not satisfactory. We have the fourth biggest budget in France, so it’s not right that we’re in this position today… Some [players] have prioritised their individual careers over the career of the group. And I’m absolutely convinced of that.”
– Nicolas de Tavernost, president of Bordeaux’s majority shareholders M6, lays down the law after a dismal 0-0 draw at home to lanterne rouge Arles-Avignon leaves the 2009 champions in eighth place
Stat of the week (courtesy of OptaJean)
There have already been more draws this season in Ligue 1 (102) than during the whole of the 2009-10 campaign (97).
20: Moussa Sow (Lille)
16: Kévin Gameiro (Lorient)
15: Youssef El-Arabi (Caen)
14: Lisandro López (Lyon)
13: Nenê (PSG), Grégory Pujol (Valenciennes)
12: Gervinho (Lille)
11: Brown Ideye (Sochaux), Modibo Maïga (Sochaux), Park Chu-Young (Monaco)
10: Bafétimbi Gomis (Lyon), Anthony Modeste (Bordeaux), Dimitri Payet (Saint-Etienne), Loïc Rémy (Marseille)
9: Olivier Giroud (Montpellier)
8: Gaël Danic (Valenciennes), Bruno Grougi (Brest), Guillaume Hoarau (PSG)
11: Marvin Martin (Sochaux)
9: Gervinho (Lille), Anthony Mounier (Nice), Jaroslav Plašil (Bordeaux)
7: Morgan Amalfitano (Lorient), Eden Hazard (Lille)
6: Ludovic Giuly (PSG), Bruno Grougi (Brest), Jérôme Leroy (Rennes), Nenê (PSG)
Week 31 fixtures
Saturday: Lens v Brest, Nice v Monaco, Rennes v Lorient, Saint-Etienne v Nancy, Sochaux v Caen, Toulouse v Auxerre, Lille v Bordeaux; Sunday: Arles-Avignon v Valenciennes, Montpellier v Marseille, PSG v Lyon