After Saturday’s 1-1 draw away to OGC Nice, Nancy sit 17th in Ligue 1 with 27pts from 27 games, only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. The game at the Stade du Ray was a chance for both teams to lift themselves from the foot of the league to the relative safety of mid table. After Nancy took all 3 points from last weekends game against Lyon and Nice triumphed over Bordeaux, confidence was running high as the two teams looked to continue their run with another win to put some distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Leading scorer Daniel Niculae fired Nancy into the lead early in the first half to put the away side 1-0 up, and it took 24 minutes for the hosts to find a reply, but they did just that in the form of Franck Dja Djedje, who hit the back of the net just past the half hour mark, to get his team back in the game before half time. The second half saw few chances created, both teams looked comfortable on the ball but lacked any real quality in the final third.
Already with an assist to his name, 24 year old Frenchman Anthony Mounier looked lively, operating mainly down the left flank, he caused the Nancy defence all sorts or problems but often found himself isolated with no support from the rest of the midfield that seemed to get a nose bleed if they strayed too high up the pitch. Both teams will go home thinking they should have won – and they could have – but in the end a draw was a fair result for the struggling pair.
Nancy’s next game sees them welcome title contenders Montpellier to Stade Marcel Picot, in what will be a tough fixture against one of the best teams in France. Rene Girard will be looking to keep the pressure on big spenders and league front runners PSG and would consider anything other than a win, unacceptable.
Les Chardons have arguably one of the hardest run ins in the league. In their remaining 11 games, they still have to play the current top 4 of PSG, Montpellier, Lille and St Etienne, as well as difficult fixtures at home to Girondins de Bordeaux and away to an albeit, quite frankly poor, Olympique Marseille.
With only 4pts separating 11th from 18th, it would be impossible to predict how many points will secure safety, and in my opinion, you’re only ‘safe’ if you are one of the top 9 teams. Any team from 10th downward could all be relegated in what is the tightest, most competitive season in years.
The next few games are vital for Nancy. If they manage to get a result against high flying Montpellier, and win away to Stade Brestois before welcoming Les Parisiens to Stade Marcel Picot, then they might just find themselves teetering above the drop zone, rather than languishing in it’s depths. A run of good form going into the final few weeks of the season would do wonders for Les Chardons, with the bottom half of the league as tight as it is, picking up points from teams around them is vital, and with games against struggling trio Dijon, Ajacco and Sochaux all to come, Nancy have a real chance at survival in the top tier of French football.