Week three of the Ligue 1 season saw 25 goals and almost as many red cards (OK, maybe not quite but another four sendings-off have brought the total for the season to an alarmingly high 15, many of which have been harsh to say the least). It also saw certain teams – and coaches – beginning to come under pressure and, with the transfer window closing before the next round of matches, some players potentially making their emotional goodbyes.
Last week we highlighted Michel Bastos’ stunning overhead kick for Lyon as possibly both goal of the season and his last goal for Lyon. It turns out that both claims may have been premature, with his blinder of a free kick, which secured a draw for Les Gônes away to Evian, reviving memories of Juninho in his prime and surely deserving of this week’s goal of the week. It remains to be seen whether this one will be his last goal, and whether it was also the last appearance for Hugo Lloris and Bafetimbi Gomis.
Another player who is likely to have played his last game for his club is Yann M’Vila who signed off in style, scoring the winner (with the large help of a deflection of Erding’s head) in the highest scoring match of the weekend, which saw Rennes beat early leaders Bastia 3-2, for their first win of the season. (If we’re going to give M’Vila the third goal, it is only fair to highlight Erding’s superb through-ball for Pitroipa’s goal).
Normally we would be moving on to save of the week, but in view of Mikael Landreau’s performance between the sticks for Lille, it is only right to make this goalkeeping performance of the week. With Lille fielding a slightly weakened side in anticipation of their crucial Champions League qualifier against Copenhagen in mid-week, the veteran keeper pulled off several superb saves – the highlight arguably a tip round the post after he had been wrong-footed and had all his weight going in the opposite direction – to help his side to a 2-2 draw at Nice. It will be interesting to see if this is enough to win him a place in Didier Deschamps’ latest France squad, to be announced this week.
The Nice-Lille match also saw the skill of the week, a beautifully worked 1-2 between another veteran – Camel Meriem – and Alexy Bosetti, setting Eric Bautheac free to power home and give himself a nice birthday present.
Highlights elsewhere included Reims’ emotional first top flight victory in 33 years, secured thanks to an injury-time own goal, which leaves Sochaux rooted to the bottom, and Saint-Etienne winning their first points of the season in style, smashing Brest with a brace from Aubameyang, while Marseille and Montpellier continue their surprise starts to the season, the Phocéens’ win away at the reigning champions seeing them top the table with a 100% record, while La Paillade remain winless. Although Gignac will take credit for his cut in and shot for the winner, Daniel Congré and Geoffrey Jourdren deserve to take a large chunk of (dis)credit for their comedy defending and goalkeeping. As for the season’s run-away champions PSG, they still await their first win, after being held to a goalless draw by Bordeaux. Maybe Ligue 1 is turning out to be competitive after all…