Hatem Ben Arfa Magic Helps Nice Stun Saint-Etienne
Week 8 of the Ligue 1 season was definitely one to remember: 34 goals, red cards, three away wins and only one draw.
It all started at Reims on Friday when David N’Gog bounced back from missing a penalty to score the only goal of the game in Stade de Reims 1-0 win over Lille – three points that continues their great start and left them in fourth at the end of the weekend.
Paris Saint-Germain had to come from a goal down to eventually waltz past Nantes at the Stade de la Beaujoire. The slow start will be a cause for concern for Laurent Blanc going into the Champions League.
Bordeaux bounced back from their 6-1 defeat to Nice by surprising everyone by beating Lyon 3-1 at home. Wahbi Khazri was inspired with a goal and two assists.
Caen moved up to sixth with a 2-0 win over lowly Gazelec and Rennes needed a 71st minute goal from Fallou Diagne to win a point at home to Troyes.
On Sunday, Angers continued to impress and stuck the knife into Marseille, beating Michel’s side 2-1 with a disciplined defensive performance at the Stade Velodrome.
At the Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier won their first game of the season, beating 10-men Lorient 2-1. Monaco’s defensive woes continued as they lost the lead three times to draw 3-3 away at a spirited Guingamp.
That set up the final game of the weekend, as Saint-Etienne hosted the rejuvinated Nice. Rich Allen has the recap from an eventful night at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.
Saint-Etienne 1-4 OGC Nice
An extraordinary game at le Stade Geoffroy-Guichard as Saint-Etienne were hammered by a rampant Nice. Despite Alassane Plea and Mickael Le Bihan missing through injury, Hatem Ben Arfa led Nice to an inspired performance.
They took an early lead as a Ricardo Pereira cross evaded Valere Germain but was smashed home by Vincent Koziello. Loic Perrin equalised soon after as he bundled home a rebound after Fabien Lemoine’s long range shot hit the cross bar. A simple header missed by Robert Beric proved the turning point of the game as up stepped Ben Arfa with two moments of utter genius.
The first was a superb volleyed finish inside the far post. The second was something truly magical. Mathieu Bodmer passed the ball to him just inside the Saint-Etienne half. He twists, turns, spins and shimmies past five Saint-Etienne players before slotting home. A goal that will go down in the hall of fame for sure.
A Jean-Michael Seri goal on the counter attack made it 4-1 shortly into the second half. Nice were then reduced to nine men as both Nampalys Mendy and Maxime Le Marchand received harsh red cards, the latter resulted in a penalty that Jean-Christophe Bahebeck blazed over.
Both Nice and Ben Arfa now top the team and individual scoring charts after a night which saw Saint-Etienne suffer their heaviest home defeat since conceding five against Auxerre in 1995.
Rich and Philippa are still tied at the top, Andrew lurking behind. Jeremy has pulled slightly away from Tom at the bottom. Results were mixed this weekend. With one or two outcomes completely unexpected.