Best and Worst Performances from the Ligue 1 Weekend
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Ligue 1 action brought us several storylines this past weekend as the race towards the title continued.
PSG was able to add more distance at the top by taking a full three points while their closest competitors slipped up. The chase for the European competition spots continued to tighten up with Saint-Etienne jumping up to fourth.
At the bottom, the battle to avoid relegation is beginning to take shape. The following slides are a look at the best and worst performances from Week 24 of the Ligue 1 season.
Saint-Etienne Continue Their Fine Form
ASSE beat the weather and Montpellier to go fourth in the table. Photo courtesy of FIFA.com
Saint-Etienne gained a huge win at home against defending champion Montpellier. The 4-1 win continued a run of good form as Les Verts overcame the snow, as well as their opponents. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has continued to look dangerous netting in his third straight game.
The game saw heavy snowfall and even had an hour delay in the second half due to the weather. ASSE even had some of its subs out shoveling snow from the penalty area to aid in getting the game back on.
Recent addition Yohan Mollo has meshed nicely with the squad and was instrumental in the ASSE attack. On loan PSG midfielder Mathieu Bodmer was also a key contributor off the bench. With the January reinforcements, Saint-Etienne appears poised to make a push for a top three finish.
Mickael Landreau's Blunder
Landreau's gift gave PSG a lead they never relinquished
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Mickael Landreau was not horrible on Friday, but his failure to handle a relatively easy shot gave PSG momentum and eventually the win. Up until that point, Bastia had been holding off a PSG squad that was not playing up to their ability.
Once Jeremy Menez's shot was gifted into the net, PSG took control and cruised till the end. Every keeper has these type of blunders, but Landreau’s came at a time when his team could have left with a valuable point.
Payet's Stellar Performance
Payet was instrumental in Lille's win at Lyon. Photo courtesy of SkySports.com
Dimitri Payet was a thorn in Lyon’s side the entire match on Sunday. He had a hand in Lille’s first two goals and came close to netting for himself.
The enigmatic Payet kept Lyon’s defense on its heels. His constant movement opened up space for others, and he was able to create and find scoring chances for himself and others.
If Lille can get this type of effort from Payet on a consistent basis, they could still get themselves back to a spot in European competition.
Jordan Ayew's Quick Exit
Ayew needed only two minutes to get shown the exit.
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Jordan Ayew saw less than two minutes of game action against Evian on Sunday. Brought in at the 73rd minute as a substitute, Ayew picked up a yellow card in the 74th and was sent packing with his second yellow in the 75th minute.
Already down a man in a tie game, the younger Ayew put his team in serious trouble when an awful challenge got him his deserved exit. Marseille was able to hold on with only nine men, but it was a bad situation for a team that desperately needs to stop the bleeding.
It is decisions like the challenge that earned Ayew his second yellow that has got people questioning his mental strength on the pitch. Jordan Ayew is still a young player, but with his bloodlines and experience, he has to be smarter on the pitch.
Reims Gets First Ligue 1 Away Victory in 35 Years.
Reims fans finally had something to cheer. Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Stade de Reims came back from a halftime deficit to earn a much needed win against relegation-threatened AS Nancy. It was the historic team’s first away win in the French top division since 1978.
In the 48th minute, Floyd Ayite cancelled out Sebastien Puygrenier’s first half opener, and Odair Fortes gave the visitors the spoils ten minutes later.
The win gained them a valuable three points in their fight to remain in Ligue 1. Reims is out of the relegation zone on goal difference and are hoping their road win will inspire confidence going forward.
The Title Race May Be Coming to an End
With Beckham and Moura in the fold, PSG look to be well on their way to the Ligue 1 title.
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The title race may have been put on a lifeline this weekend, as Lyon suffered their second consecutive 3-1 defeat. With PSG receiving reinforcements in the form of Beckham and Moura, the opportunity to catch PSG became more difficult.
Lyon now sit six points adrift of first. While not that great of a deficit to overcome, the cracks in Lyon’s young team are beginning to show.
Anyone hoping for a title race that comes down to some last day drama will likely be disappointed.