Another great weekend of football in Ligue 1, with a bumper 33 goals scored over the 10 matches – great for all Ligue 1-ophiles looking to spread the good word about the Championnat.
Matchday 8 saw some great matches, and was a good week for, amongst others, Lille who grabbed their first win since the opening day, Reims who continued their excellent recent form, Lorient and Bordeaux who remain unbeaten and Saint-Etienne whose 4 goal blitz in the opening 25 minutes buried struggling Nancy. Evian confirmed their status as Montpellier’s bogey team with an excellent away win which saw them climb out of the relegation zone, and Le much-hyped Classique lived up to expectations – for the first half anyway – as the points were shared.
Match of the week must surely go to Lorient vs Lille, an action-packed match between two teams intent on attack. A couple of nicely taken goals, woodwork hit several times, great saves, sitters missed, some bad refereeing, torrential rain to add to the ambiance and allow for some great sliding tackles – the match had everything but a winner, although neither team deserved to lose (NB. Even the most one-eyed Lyon fan would say that these highlights are an unfair reflection, which miss many of Lorient’s chances).
Player of the week – despite the best efforts of Gignac and Ibrahimovic – must be Evian’s hat-trick hero Saber Khilfa. His three beautifully taken goals gave the team from Annecy a rare win and saw him narrowly beat Montpellier’s Daniel Congré to win Evian’s man of the match award.
Talking of Congré, mistake of the week goes to the man who was the hero a fortnight ago. An awful mistake by Toulouse goalkeeper Ali Ahamada, practically throwing the ball into his own net from Sanchez’s speculative free kick, saw Valenciennes take a two goal lead (see video, 0:40 in). The inevitable Ben Yedder, and then Regattin in injury-time, saved their keeper’s blushes.
Save of the week was competitive this week. Costil for Rennes and Penneteau for Valenciennes both made great saves, and Vercoutre and Audiard made several good stops between them in the Lorient-Lyon match. But this week’s award goes to Troyes keeper (and Lilian’s cousin) Yohann Thuram-Ulien (see video below, 1:50 in). With the score at 2-2 and his team reduced to 9 men, he made a great penalty save from Anthony Modeste, which looked to have won his lanterne rouge team a precious point, before Maoulida broke Troyes hearts with a winner for Bastia 2 minutes from time.
As for goals of the week, with 33 goals to choose from, there were several great finishes – Ryan Mendes’s half volley to open his Ligue 1 account for Lille, and Eden Ben Basat’s cute run and chip for Brest are both worthy of mention, while Gomis and Aliadière were at the end of two great team moves for the goals in the Lorient-Lyon match. However, this week we’re going to go for two goals in joint second, and two goals in joint first.
Joint second are Khilfa’s second and third for Evian against Montpellier. One saw him collect a loose header from Yanga-Mbiwa on the left of the area, cut inside Congré and unleash an unstoppable shot into the top right hand corner. The next came when he took possession on the halfway line, beat Congré for pure speed, drew Jourdren then calmly slotted the ball into the roof of the net.
As for joint first … you wait all weekend for goals of the week and then two come in two minutes! It is of course Ibrahimovic’s quick-fire double against Marseille at the Stade Velodrome. The first was one of his trademark taekwondo kick/flick/backheels, somehow hit with such power that it flew just over Mandanda’s head. The second was one of his trademark free kicks from 30 yards, hit with power and swerve and giving the keeper no chance, despite him again getting agonisingly close. He is Zlatan!