Bordeaux are tipped by many people to be the dark horses this season at getting into that elusive top-three and they are already consolidating that belief after a fantastic start to the season.
Holding Paris Saint-Germain to a goalless draw in the capital at the weekend has received appraisal all over France by shutting out the most expensive attacking contingent in the entire league. It was once again another performance worthy of acclaim. The negative aspect however is that the focus was predominantly on PSG’s failure to get all three points but it should not deter the achievement of Francis Gillot’s side.
They showed their capabilities at the back end of last season and the arrival of midfielder Ludovic Obraniak from Lille – a snip at €1m – proved to be a shrewd piece of business. He has consolidated himself in the team and formed a real understanding with striker Yoan Gouffran.
Gouffran has been playing as the lone striker of late but Gillot has been chopping and changing from a 4-4-1-1 to a 4-4-2, both proving to be just as effective as the other. Cheick Diabate has seen his playing time limited as a consequence but the competition for places is there for all to see. FCGB have strength in depth and that will stand them in good stead over the course of the season – despite not investing thus far in the summer window.
They have lost an influential player this week however in the form of skipper Michael Ciani who signed for Italian club Lazio for just €2m. The 28-year-old will be sorely missed by the club both on and off the pitch and his former coach paid a glowing tribute to him upon his departure.
Gillot said; “It’s a pity. Micka is a good player and a great man, and it’s always difficult to lose a player like him. The fact that Lazio wanted him proves his value. I love this guy and I wish him the best for his future career.”
Endearing words from a man who knew a thing or two at how to defend during his playing days at Lens. There is clearly a mutual feeling there with Ciani also taking the time to speak of his fondness about Bordeaux by saying; “I’m very happy to join Lazio but a little disappointed because I loved my old team and team-mates.”
Whether or not Ciani leaving will be detrimental to the team remains to be seen. They have lost a colossal defender but do have experienced players to fill the void such as Marc Planus and Florian Marange.
Last night Bordeaux’s amazing run continued as they booked their place in the UEFA Europa League Group Stage with an injury time victory over Serbian side Crvena Zvezda. After going a goal behind they found themselves in pole position after Henri Saivet’s header gave the home side a 2-1 lead with only 10 minutes to go. Disaster struck when after a goal-mouth scramble captain Nikola Mikic smashed the ball past Cedric Carrasso and broke Les Girondins hearts. Well for all of three minutes.
Rushing up the pitch Obriniak was fouled by the Crvena Zvezda ‘keeper and English referee Mark Clattenberg pointed to the spot. Talismanic Yoan Gouffran was calm and collected, Bajkovic went the right way but the penalty was just too good. This time is was the away sides fans that were heart-broken and Bordeaux had sealed their place in Friday’s Group Stage draw.
Francis Gillot’s side will now go into Sunday’s game against Nice with great confidence. An unbeaten run that stretches for 12 competative games, they now have every chance of making it three wins from four and will identify the Nice game as a golden opportunity to gain maximum points and jump into the top three. Whether or not the season is early or not is irrelevant, the team is continuing to build on their good form and if they can enter the international break on song then it will set them up nicely heading into the autumn.
They have proved already they are capable of competing with the best and there will be plenty more to come from Gillot’s side, as they look to live up to the heydays of just three years ago when they were the champions.