France's Ligue 1 entered it's 14th round this week. Lyon increased their lead at the top as Marseille faltered and St. Etienne's new coach will need a miracle to turn around their dismal season.
Going into round 14, St. Etienne had lost five games in a row, and languished one point off the bottom of the table. Their 3-0 home defeat by Stade Rennais last weekend was the last straw and spelled the end for head coach Laurent Roussey.
Roussey was shown the door to make way for a new coaching team headed by former Olympique Lyon and Portsmouth manager Alain Perrin. Perrin led Lyon to a domestic double last year, but left the seven times champions after just one season.
Perrin joins France's most successful club days after the appointment of new sporting director, Damien Comolli. Comolli of course is a former Arsene Wenger protégé who crashed and burned as director of football at Tottenham.
Les Verts' new management team got off to a less than auspicious start, losing 3-0 against an impressive looking Lille side.
Perrin had less than a week to prepare his team for Lille—and it showed. St. Etienne were devoid of any confidence and went down without any real resistance. Luck wasn't on their side against Lille but, as the saying goes, you make your own luck in football.
Before the game Perrin said: "We will need a bit of time. Confidence comes with good results and good results come with confidence". So I'm not too sure about M. Perrin's logic, but seemingly it's a vicious circle.
Lorient's late raid at the Stade Velodrome snatched all three points from Marseille. L'OM will be seething after leading the game 2-0 until the 77th minute, they then let Lorient back into the game. The visitors went on to score three in 10 minutes for an unlikely victory. Marseille now slip back to seven points behind the leaders.
Bordeaux's recent good form had seen them climb to third in Le Championnat, the Girondins had won five of their last seven, taking 17 points from a possible 19. Bordeaux were unable to gain any ground on Lyon though, bravely going down 2-1 in Sunday night's thrilling game thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Kim Källström.
A late rally from Bordeaux led by Argentinian sensation Fernando Cavenaghi's eighth goal of the season set hearts a-fluttering, but Lyon hung on to win what could be a very important game in their chase for an eighth consecutive Ligue 1 title.
André-Pierre Gignac scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season for Toulouse in their 2-0 win. His second was a cracking goal. Check it out here
Guillaume Hoarau's impressive partnership with Ludovic Giuly continued, as PSG swept aside Le Havre 3-1, Hourau scoring two against his former club.
Le sac d'oignon, transfer news:
Lyon striker, Karim Benzema is the latest striker to be linked with a move away from Ligue 1. A host of Europeans teams (Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Barcelona) have recently been rumoured to be admirers of the player.
OL have so far stymied any attempted approach by installing a €100 million release clause in Benzema's contract. This has put off Italian giants, AC Milan, who were chasing the French International. Milan's managing director, Adriano Galliani has said: “He’s too expensive. I think he will stay at Olympique Lyon”.
Bordeaux's Yoann Gourcuff, currently on loan from Milan, is the main catalyst for Laurent Blanc's energetic team, and is at the centre of a transfer tug of war between Lyon and Bourdeaux. Lyon's president is quoted as saying: “He (Gourcuff) is a player that interests Lyon, whatever the price”.
Ligue 1 Results:
Saturday November 15 2008
AJ Auxerre 1-0 FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
Le Havre AC 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain
Le Mans UC72 1-0 Valenciennes FC
Olympique Marseille 2-3 FC Lorient
AS Nancy-Lorraine 1-1 SM Caen
Toulouse FC 2-0 Grenoble Foot38
Sunday November 16 2008
OGC Nice 2-1 FC Nantes
Stade Rennais 2-1 AS Monaco
Olympique Lyon 2-1 Girondins de Bordeaux