FRANCE: Ligue 1 – Week 5 Review

France

WEEK 5 REVIEW

Monaco held on to first place in Ligue Un, after a visit from a spirited Lorient side pushed them all the way on Sunday afternoon.

The newcomers took the lead in the 6th minute from the penalty spot – Radamel Falcao stepping up and slotting home expertly. However the home side could not find a second goal and Lorient created some good chances to sneak a draw. In the end though, a professional and important 3 points were gained by Claudio Ranieri’s men.

Champions Paris Saint-Germain have quietly snuck up the league table in the early stages, without really hitting top gear. Playing away at Bordeaux is never an easy task, and Laurent Blanc will have been wary before the game, knowing the type of tactics his side have faced so far this term, and the troubles they have had breaking down defences.

He had no need to worry however, with PSG’s attacking flair flourishing and looking very impressive in possession of the ball. Blanc rested several players, following the international week and with an eye on the upcoming Champions League opener with Olympiakos on Wednesday, but those players who were picked will have impressed him no end.

The breakthrough came from a superb assist by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, playing in Blaise Matuidi for his first goal of the season. He made hard work of the one-on-one with Carasso, striking the keeper first of all, before following up and slamming the ball home on the line.

PSG controlled the game completely from that point on, and in the 64th minute Brazilian Lucas Moura added his first goal in a Parisian shirt to heap the misery on Bordeaux. The team continued to dominate possession, and could have added more goals – Ibrahimovich being particularly unlucky as Carasso pulled off a number of fine saves.

The win puts PSG in 3rd place, 2 points behind Monaco, with the two big spending sides meeting for the first time this season in Paris this weekend. Ranieri will be hoping that his teams newly acquired firepower can outgun that of the champions, however they’ll have their work cut out for them based on this effort.

Sitting sweetly in between the two “big boys” of this year’s Ligue 1 table, is Saint-Etienne. A brace from Benjamin Corgnet and one from Romain Hamouma gave them a 3-0 lead over Valenciennes, who never looked like a threat. They pulled a goal back through a Maor Melikson penalty, but it was little consolation for the club who now sit 18th in the table.

Saint-Etienne meanwhile have 4 wins this season and sit just a point behind early leaders Monaco.

Previous leaders Marseille drop to fourth place, after struggling to a point away to Toulouse. Wissam Ben Yedder’s had given the home side the lead, and it wasn’t until the 87th minute that OM’s Lucas Mendes rose to head home an excellent equalizing goal.

Evian continued their rich vein of scoring form, notching an impressive 302 away win at Fabrizio Ravanelli’s Ajaccio. The usually tight defence was broken on 3 occasions, firstly by Brice Djadjedje on 31 mins, and swiftly followed by a Kevin Beriguad brace either side of half-time.

The Frenchman now has 5 goals in as many games and looks to be a tremendous asset to the club once again. Ajaccio meanwhile pulled goals back in the last 10 minutes, from Paul Lasne and Gadji Tallo, however it was not enough to make a difference.

Elsewhere, Bafétimbi Gomis returned to the Lyon line-up however his talents could not help them break the deadlock in a tight game with Rennes. The game ended 0-0 at Stade Municipal Gerland, with little between the two teams, and neither manager had much cause for complaint at the result. Lyon coach Remi Garde will be feeling the pinch however, as his team have now gone 5 games without a win, after their impressive start to the campaign.

Reims and Montpellier also played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday, while Sunday afternoon saw Nice catch Lille off-guard with some excellent counter-attacking football in the first half of their game. Dario Cvitanich, already on his way to reclaiming last year’s top scorer award, notched both goals in the 19th and 45th minutes, showing quick feet and some deadly finishing.

And finally, Bastia and Guingamp played out a 1-1 draw, while Nantes earned all 3 points at home against a lackluster Sochaux side. Filip Djordjevic provided the only goal of the game in the 76th minute, leaving Sochaux winless at the foot of the table.

STANDINGS

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Andrew Davidson

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