Eight-in Lorient as les Merlus battle to a draw with Ajaccio
And then there was one. Matchday 10 in Ligue 1 saw Bordeaux fall to their first defeat of the season – 3-1 away to Bastia, leaving only one unbeaten team. That team is of course Paris Saint-Germain, although some would say that the term “team” is a little generous, as it was left to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, yet again, to grab the win at lanterne rouge Nancy.
Elsewhere, Montpellier finally took their first home win of the season, 3-1 against Nice, whilst Troyes won their first away point, an Absurdly good finish from Camus securing a draw at Reims in the Champagne derby. In the weekend’s other derby, Lille started to show some form, slowing Valenciennes’ progress with a 2-1 win. The much anticipated Olympico, meanwhile fell victim to the weather (with Jean-Michel Aulas trying to cause a storm of his own, criticising Marseille’s handling of the situation), while bad weather also accounted for Sochaux-Evian.
Toulouse, with their 3-1 win against Brest, have moved up to provisional second – and it’s good to hear that manager Alain Casanova listens to the French Football Weekly podcast, as he took Andrew and Jonathan’s advice and dispensed with his 4-1-4-1 for the week. Saint-Etienne’s seemingly routine win, 2-0 against Rennes, was not without its controversy: both goals were excellently taken but the first involved a Gradel handball in the build-up, and the second came from a free kick won through a Brandao dive. There was also a late and very harsh red card for Mevlut Erding.
It was a good weekend for Ligue 1 first-time scorers. The aforementioned Camus scored his first Ligue 1 goal, but he was not a Stranger in this respect: Mutu finally opened his account for Ajaccio, and is now well on the way to his prediction to score more than Zlatan… Aissa Mandi opened his account for Reims, while young Bastia starlet Florian Thauvin scored his first Ligue 1 goal, and then doubled his account 10 minutes later.
Another player to score his first was Lorient’s Wesley Lautoa, in what was undoubtedly the match of the weekend. The goal appeared to be a consolation as Lorient went in at half-time trailing 4-1 to Ajaccio, having conceded 10 goals in the last match and a half. However, a stirring second half come-back, led by goals from two Arsenal old-boys Jeremie Aliadiere and Gilles Sunu, secured a 4-4 draw, Sunu’s goal coming deep into injury time. Lorient are fast becoming everyone’s second favourite team – and when they learn to stop giving their opponents either a 2-man or a 3-goal advantage, they could really start doing some damage.
On to the week’s awards. Unfortunately there were no particularly embarrassing misses to highlight, so we are going to start this week with bad luck of the week, which goes to Nancy’s Benjamin Moukandjo. In only the second minute of the match, Moukandjo came up with a stunning piece of control to bring down a headed clearance, before unleashing a rasping shot which left Sirigu for dead but which rebounded back off the post (see video below, 0:10 in). When you’re luck’s not in…
Staying in Nancy, Moukandjo’s team-mate, Guy Roland Ndy Assembe wins save of the week, for an excellent stop from Kevin Gameiro (see video above, 0:35 in). Honourable mentions to Valenciennes’ Nicolas Penneteau for a great save from Florent Balmont, and also to Saint-Etienne’s Stephane Ruffier and Reims’ Kossi Agassa, who both had excellent goalkeeping performances.
For clanger of the week, we travel down from Lorraine to the Herault region and the Montpellier-Nice match. But Daniel Congre can breathe easy this week, as the award is a three-way Nice tie between Lloyd Palun for his poor back-pass to set up La Paillade’s first, and Joris Delle and Renato Civelli, whose lack of communication led to the latter heading into his own net for the third.
Finally, goal of the week. Some great contenders this week, including the Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Renaud Cohade finishes for Saint-Etienne (note also Aubameyang’s tribute to Les Verts’ legendary keeper Jeremie Janot, the striker donning a Spiderman mask to celebrate his goal), Sunu’s calm injury-time volley and Chakhir Belghazouani’s curled opener for Ajaccio. But this week’s podium is made up of:
Wahbi Kazri, usually a provider of goals for Bastia, with this free-kick (1:40 in), described by one tweeter as pornographic.
Wissam Ben Yedder, who returned to the Toulouse starting line-up in style, controlling a fabulous Abdennour pass, cutting inside one defender, feinting past another, and curling the ball into the far top corner.
First place goes to friend-of-the-site Eduardo, completing his brace for Ajaccio with an unstoppable shot to complete a flowing team move (1:10 in).
Tune in next week for a review of the next batch of matches, the pick of which are PSG vs Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux-Toulouse.