Fabulous Feret Finishes Off Rennes #FFWTOTW
This weekend was more about movement at the bottom of the table than at the top, and at the end of all of that, we have a new lanterne rouge.
Metz are now the team propping up the rest of Ligue 1 after going down 2-0 at the Gerland to league leaders Lyon, who are now four points clear at the top. There was another goal for Lacazette, putting away a penalty to make it 21 goals in 22 matches. But he went off immediately after scoring, with a hamstring twinge – a concern for les Gônes with Monaco and PSG up next. As for Metz, 2-0 at the Gerland is not the worst result ever, particularly after playing over an hour with 10 men (arguably an Umtiti foul at the end of the first half was more worthy of a red than Milan’s). But Metz nevertheless drop three places.
That is thanks to the positive results picked up by Lens, Evian and Caen. Lens are second-bottom and level on points with Metz after a 0-0 draw at Reims. Lens had their chances and may see the match as a big opportunity lost, but will be happy enough to have ended a run of three defeats. Evian move out of the drop zone after a 1-0 home win over Toulouse, Thomasson’s winner making it two goals and an assist in the last three matches. The win sees les Roses leapfrog the team from la ville rose in the table, with Toulouse now only a point and a place outside the bottom three.
Although still in the bottom three, the most impressive winners of the weekend were Caen, who went to Rennes and left with a fantastic 4-1 victory – amazingly their second straight win by that score. Still no league win for Rennes since 3 December, when their victory over Nice was their third straight and everything looked rosy. Strange.
For those clutching at straws (me, basically), things are still tight at the bottom, with only three points separating the bottom seven. Level on points with Evian with a two-point gap from the drop zone are Lorient and Bastia. Lorient went down 3-2 to Guingamp in an eventful match à rebondissements, as they say across the Channel. Two more goals for Guingamp’s Claudio Beauvue, including a panenka – the guy is oozing confidence at the moment. Bastia drew 0-0 at home to Bordeaux in a match which promised much in the first half, before petering out. Only one win in eight in all competitions and only six goals scored in that period for the great Willy Sagnol and his new, improved, attack-minded Bordeaux…
So, Bordeaux slip out of the top six to be replaced by Montpellier, who continued their excellent form with a 4-0 hammering of Nantes. La Paillade are unbeaten in six in Ligue 1, winning their last three. They are still a little way away from the top five, however, with Monaco 4 points clear of Rolland Courbis’ men, after a relatively straightforward 1-0 win at Lille. That’s 11 clean sheets in 12 for Jardim’s men, including their last seven, and les Dogues rarely looked like threatening to end that run.
Monaco are now only one point behind fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, after they went down 1-0 to PSG in the weekend’s big game. In a match in which both teams’ defences dominated and neither team looked likely to score, the match was decided by a very controversial penalty, given for a supposed Clement handball and scored by Zlatan, who should have been sent off for a filthy rake down Hamouma’s leg later in the game.
That latest sketchy PSG win puts them level on points and goal difference with Marseille, who went down 2-1 at Nice. Three straight wins for Claude Puel’s men, who have quietly moved up to eighth. As for Bielsa’s boys, they have now failed to win away from home in Ligue 1 since 4 October. Not league-winning form and, despite El Loco’s claim that his team were unlucky to lose, the side has clearly lost their zip of earlier in the campaign. A big few weeks coming up, as their season could still go either way.
Player of the week, for a spectacular three assists and one goal as he came back to haunt his former employers, is the fantastic Julien Feret. Making up the week’s XI are:
Goal of the Week
In third place is Corentin Tolisso’s match-clincher for Lyon. Gourcuff held the ball up well, drawing four defenders, so that when he cut the ball back to Tolisso a good 25 yards out he had the space and time to take a touch and steady himself before hitting a sweet low shot that flew just inside the post, past Carrasso.
Runner up is Florian Thauvin’s consolation goal for Marseille. A brilliant diagonal ball from just inside the Nice half from Imbula fell to the winger, who chested past Hassen before hooking the ball in from a tight angle. An all-too-rare display of the winger’s ability.
Clear winner this week, and up there with Fortes and Palmieri as a goal of the season contender, is Damien Da Silva’s blinder for Caen. A peach of a Feret pass helped Da Silva spring the Rennes offside trap on the left. His first touch was a cute flick of his heel to bring the ball under control. His second was a blistering left foot shot across Costil into the far top corner. Not bad for a defender – scoring his first Ligue 1 goal – with his weaker foot!
Tune in to @FrenchFtWeekly and @FFW_Live next week for coverage of Matchday 23, which begins with PSG vs Rennes, continues with a nailed-on goal-fest as Nantes host Lille, and ends with a sexy-looking Monaco vs Lyon.