Jordan Ayew Makes His Case as Sochaux Beat Nice to Edge Nearer to Survival

Owen Morgan@@OwenHMorganContributor IMay 5, 2014

Marseille's Jordan Ayew, left, competes for the ball with Arsenal's Nacho Monorail during the Group F Champions League soccer match between Arsenal and Marseille at the Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Jordan Ayew scored one goal and created another as FC Sochaux-Montbeliard overcame OGC Nice 2-0 on Monday to move within a point of safety.

On loan from Marseille, the 22-year-old inspired Les Lionceaux to extend their unbeaten run to six games, meaning their improbable escape from relegation remains on track.

Ayew, who has now scored four goals since arriving from Marseille, said in the buildup to the game that he has the qualities to succeed at the Stade Velodrome. He told that he was enjoying playing regularly, but that he saw his future with OM.

"There's nothing better than playing every weekend," he said. "That's what Sochaux gives me, so I'm happy here.

"I'm capable of being an undisputed first-team regular at Marseille. For the moment, I want to play well at Sochaux and go to the World Cup. We'll see after that."

Ayew made seven starts for Marseille before his loan switch to Sochaux in January, and while he is by no means guaranteed a place in the Marseille team next season, his recent form has demonstrated that he is a talented, tricky player who can cause defences problems.

This was the case this weekend, as his clever, industrious performance was vital in Sochaux's victory over OGC Nice.

Herve Renard's side have now taken 12 points from their last six games, including a gutsy 1-1 draw at home to champions-elect Paris Saint-Germain and a hard-fought 1-0 away victory over Stade de Reims.

This remarkable run has seen them climb to just a point from safety, and their final-day game against Evian looks increasingly pivotal in their fight for survival. On current form, Sochaux will be confident that they can take all three points from that match and secure their top-flight status.

Ayew has typified the club's fine late-season form.

The youngster has been bright and fearlessan attitude that has grown throughout the team and seen them play with greater belief and a more attacking outlook. 

This was exactly the case against OGC Nice this weekend, as Ayew stood out with his guile and inventiveness from the wing in the first half. He scored the fourth goal of his loan spell in the second to seal victory.

It was Sochaux who broke the deadlock just before the break. Although it was Nice defender Nemanja Pejcinovic who turned the ball into his own net, the Sochaux players all ran to congratulate Ayew.

The Ghanaian picked the ball up on the left flank, setting off on a mazy run past three defenders into the box. His stabbed ball across goal was sliced home by the unfortunate Pejcinovic to give Sochaux the lead.

Ayew ended the first half on a high and began the second period with similar vigour. After only a minute, he rattled a shot across goal. Just 10 minutes later, he had doubled Sochaux's lead.

Nice goalkeeper David Ospina had saved well from Ayew at the opening of the second half, but could do nothing about Sochaux's second. A fine, flowing team move was rounded off brilliantly, as Ayew rose between two defenders to powerfully head home a glancing finish into the far corner.

Ayew is playing like a man full of confidence. He is always positive in possession, looking to drive forward with the ball at every opportunity.

He has benefitted greatly from his spell with Sochaux and will go into the World Cup in Brazil on a high.

His move to the Stade Auguste Bonal has suited both parties, as his trickery and creativity have been central to their recent run of form. If they can continue their surge, it will be a remarkable transformationone that Ayew has certainly played his part in.

Regardless of whether they survive relegation, it is unlikely Ayew will be playing for Les Lionceaux next season.

He will be back at the Stade Velodrome, but back with a renewed confidence that comes from regular playing time. The loan system is frequently criticised, but Ayew's case is a good example of how it can be beneficial to both player and club.


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