Winners and Losers from Week 2 in Ligue 1
If the first two weeks are anything to go by, this is going to be a wonderful season in Ligue 1. The results have been spectacularly unpredictable and in two weeks we have already had some amazing talking points.
The table looks a little topsy-turvy at the moment. Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux have the only unbeaten records in the league. The top three from last season have only one victory between them, and the newly promoted sides are proving to be far from the league's whipping boys.
Paris Saint-Germain picked up their first win of the season on Saturday as they welcomed Bastia coach Claude Makelele back to the Parc des Princes.
Once again there was only one goalless draw through the 10 games and there was even some heartache as Lens conceded a 94-minute goal as Guingamp stole a 1-0 victory.
With 29 goals and just one red card, here are the winners and losers from Week 2 of Ligue 1.
Winners: Bordeaux Stun Jardim's Monaco
The biggest winners this week are undoubtedly Willy Sagnol’s Girondins de Bordeaux. After winning their first game 1-0 away at Montpellier, the expectations were fairly high for their first home game. But even the most optimistic of Bordelaise wouldn’t have predicted this weekend’s result.
Against Monaco on Sunday night, they were 1-0 down at half time and had failed to create any real chances from open play. Sagnol made a change at the break, taking off last season’s top-scorer Cheick Diabate for Jaroslav Plasil and the reaction was phenomenal.
They instantly levelled the score. Diego Rolan knocking home from close range after Diego Contento headed the ball back across the goal.
Emiliano Sala scored from the spot after Aymen Abdennour was judged to have brought down the impressive Wahbi Khazri. It was a questionable decision, but the Tunisian defender forced referee Tony Chapron to make a decision.
Rolan got his second and Bordeaux’s third after Ludovic Sane flicked on Gregory Sertic’s free-kick from the right. The Uruguayan striker was lucky not to be flagged offside. The replay showed it clear as day, but lady luck was shining on the home side.
Monaco’s misery was compounded when Khazri won a second penalty. He raced through, beat goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to the ball and the Croatian stopper couldn’t get out of the way. This time the midfielder took his own spot-kick.
Sagnol completely outclassed Monaco’s Leandro Jardim in the battle of the coaches. He changed his tactics effectively after starting the game with 4-4-2. His substitutions worked perfectly and he deserved the luck his team got.
Jardim looks a little like a rabbit in the headlights. He made changes that had no effect on last week’s poor performance. He failed to react to Bordeaux’s excellent start in the second half and at times looked lost on the sidelines.
Don’t let that take away from Bordeaux’s excellent performance. They showed amazing spirit and team work. They are not a team full of superstars, but they played as a team. Last season under Francis Gillot they lacked a spark; the signs are that under Sagnol, the good times are back for le club au scapulaire.
Winners: Evian Bottle It as Rennes Hit 6
Last weekend we had five players scoring doubles over the various games. On Saturday during Rennes v Evian, four players scored a double in one match.
Ola Toivonen, Edson Mexer and Paul-Georges Ntep all scored twice as Rennes put on a goal-scoring clinic in their 6-2 victory over Evian Thonon Gaillard. Daniel Wass had equalised for the away side after 35 minutes, but it was a mere blip in the road for Philippe Montanier’s men.
Wass got his second in the 83rd minute, but by then Rennes had only scored four more.
Amazingly that was the first time in 49 years that Rennes had managed to score six goals at home and after last week’s limp display against Lyon, it adds to the air of inconsistency that surrounds the Breton side.
49 - Rennes hadn't scored 6 goals at home in Ligue 1 for 49 years (6-0 v Angers in January 1965). Sacrebleu.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 16, 2014
It’s anyone’s guess what they will do next week away at Saint-Etienne.
Speaking of Les Verts, they were definite winners this week and hold the winning record in Ligue 1.
After going behind against Stade de Reims, Christophe Galtier’s men bounced back to keep their 100 percent record alive. Former Leeds United winger Max Gradel levelled the score on the hour, and then new signing Kevin Monnet-Paquet gave his new side the lead 10 minutes later.
Then it was left to Turkish striker Mevlut Erding to make it three goals in two games, the 81st-minute strike puts the former Paris Saint-Germain striker top of the scoring charts.
9 - @meverding9 has scored 9 goals in his last 10 league games. Shape.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 17, 2014
He has scored nine goals in his last 10 games for Saint-Etienne and he is on course to beat the 11 goals he scored last season.
Winners: Montpellier Ruin Marcelo Bielsa's Home Debut
This weekend was all about surprise winners, with one of them being south-coast side Montpellier. After losing their first game at home to Bordeaux, La Paillade bounced back to shock neighbours Marseille with a stunning 2-0 win at the newly renovated Stade Velodrome.
It would be far too easy to go on about Marseille being the biggest losers, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Montpellier should be grabbing the headlines here.
Going into the game on Sunday, MHSC had only won once in their last 19 games in Marseille. That came back in 2012 when Rene Girard’s side went on to shock everyone and win the title.
That side was packed with players that have gone on to bigger things, and with Roland Courbis’ side now trying to recover from the loss of Remy Cabella to Newcastle, nothing was expected from this Montpellier team.
Marseille are struggling to get to grips with Marcelo Bielsa’s new system and Courbis played it to perfection. Attacking down the wings with pace and packing the middle of the park with hard-working players, it had the desired effect.
Anthony Mounier opened the scoring in the first half with a lovely chip over Steve Mandanda after the winger had ghosted in behind the OM defence.
Marseille pushed forward after the break, but some woeful missed chances, plus heroic goalkeeping from Geoffrey Jourdren kept the home side at bay.
To make things worse for Marseille, Montpellier went up the pitch and the combination play between Jonas Martin and Mounier put a chance on a plate for Morgan Sanson, the France under-21 midfielder was never going to miss from close range.
Montpellier take the three points home along the coast and it's back to the drawing board for Bielsa. It is clearly going to take time for his system to embed into the players' minds, but they won’t want to slip too far away from the European places while it does.
Losers: Brandao Heads Himself into Trouble in Paris
There was only one story that was going to dominate this weekend. Bastia striker Brandao not only wins the biggest-loser award in Ligue 1, but it will be hard to find anyone to outshine him all over the world of football this weekend.
After losing 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes, the players were leaving the field and returning to the locker rooms when the Brazilian forward lingered in the mixed area. He then walked up to Italian international midfielder Thiago Motta and head-butted the player square in the nose.
Brandao then scarpered to the dressing room in a huge show of guilt and cowardice.
PSG want the player banned for life. That won’t happen, but there will be a lengthy ban coming his way. RMC Sport (h/t Get French Football News) report that Bastia are even looking at ripping up the player’s contract.
Back in 2011, Lens defender Cichero attacked Bastia’s president in the tunnel following a match, he broke Alain Seghi’s jaw, nose and damaged his eye socket. He received a 10-month ban, with five months part of a suspended sentence.
Brandao’s offence is disgusting, but not quite at that level. Expect similar, but it shouldn’t be as long as Cichero’s deserved punishment.
Losers: Lyon's Progress Hits a Few Bumps
After the praise they received last weekend, Lyon’s 2-1 defeat against Toulouse shows that the former European giants have a long way to go this season under new boss Hubert Fournier.
They impressed without dominating against Rennes last week, but Toulouse were able to nullify the OL threat and took their chances when they came.
Lyon, according to WhoScored, controlled possession with 58 percent of the ball; they also had 18 shots on goal. However, only three of their shots found the target, with Toulouse hitting the target with six of their 10 efforts on goal.
Two goals down with 45 minutes to go, there was too much for Lyon to do. They did pull one back from Alexandre Lacazette, but the damage was already done.
With a very young side under his control, Fournier has a tough season ahead of him if he wants to guide Lyon into European football next season. With a Europa League campaign to come, it will be tough to juggle both competitions successfully.