Giuly the Lyon Tamer; Samuel Eto'o Dreams of Marseille: French Ligue 1 Roundup
Paris Saint-Germain defeated league leading Lyon in an enthralling contest, by way of a Ludovic Giuly header in the 25th minute. The Parisians victory in week 15 means they have beaten the three Champions League clubs in Ligue 1; Marseille, Bordeaux, and now Lyon.
Giuly, Makelele, and Stéphane Sessegnon again stepped up their performances against one of Le Championnat's “giants” to outclass the champions of France. PSG coach Paul Le Guen said: “It's good, but we can't stop here. We have to be even more vigilant, more focused, to not fall off the wagon, to not get carried away mentally, with the success.”
Le Guen's biggest test will be to get PSG beating the teams lower down the table, which they have been unable to do regularly thus far, having gone down to defeats by lowly St. Etienne, Grenoble, Monaco, and Toulouse so far this term.
This weekend though, Paris were fantastic. PSG kept Lyon at bay for the entire game at Parc des Princes.
Frustration got the better of the champions; Juninho, who was brought on for the unusually lacklustre Karim Benzema, was sent off in the 59th minute of the game for a maddeningly cantankerous swipe at a PSG defender.
Juninho's frustrations at his own aged performances this season have never been far from the surface, his usual starting role on the OL bench doesn't sit too well with the club's captain. When on the pitch in the capital, the 33-year-old looked a shadow of his former self and was unable to impact upon the game in any way other than his petulance.
Lyon have no such trouble in the Champions League, they sit on the cusp of qualification to the knockout stages. One of France's other big guns, Marseille, look like they will be eliminated from Europe's top competition at the first hurdle. They face a must win game against Liverpool in mid-week, a loss would leave Les Phoceéns 8pts behind the leaders in Group D.
Marseille were saved by Zenden's 92nd minute free kick in their 2-2 draw with Lille at the Velodrome on Sunday night. A comedy of errors saw OM fall behind 2-0 in the first half.
OM's rabid and unforgiving fans were none too impressed with last week's 3-2 home loss. Gerets' team needed to start this week's game well—they didn't and the Velodrome faithful turned on their team.
LOSC's first goal came from a corner, OM keeper Steve Mandanda, possibly still shaken from last week's capitulation, didn't command his area well enough and Lille starlet, Adil Rami, headed home from close range.
Then, to compound Marseille's first-half misery, Zubar's header wrong footed his own 'keeper for Bastos to nip in and score on 37 minutes.
A second half Marseille reshuffle led to an energetic opening to the second half. Samassa headed in on 47 minutes, but Marseille were fairly toothless until Zenden struck late on.
Lille could have won the game comfortably had it not been for Mandanda's sterling work in the OM goal. Gerets said: “Our hard work paid off in the second half, even though we're not showing the kind of form we were a couple of weeks ago. It's a point won.”
Marseille's point leaves them six points behind Lyon, who remain top, and one point behind second placed Nice in Ligue 1. PSG's fine win moves them up to fifth in the table, seven points back of the leaders.
Le Sac d'Oignon, Transfer News & Rumblings:
Better news for Les Phocéens this week though as Cameroon legend, Samuel Eto'o declared his love for the Mediterranean club. Eto'o grew up in Paris and has stated his desire to return to France in a playing capacity some day. Eto'o, currently playing for Barcelona, said: “I dream of playing for Marseille one day.”
Under-fire Arsenal defender, William Gallas has also been speaking this week about Ligue 1 and it's lure, Gallas told the Evening Standard: "I'd like to return to France for one or perhaps two seasons to finish my career."
The move could come as soon as January, however, with PSG being linked with a loan move for the French international.
It's all go in the PSG rumour mill this week; Midfielder Charles N'Zogbia could be leaving Newcastle for Paris St Germain in January according to the Daily Mirror. Other rumours in Tuttosport suggest Italian giants Juventus are tracking PSG's Jérôme Rothen. Football365.com has linked Juve with another PSG player, leading scorer Guillaume Hoarau.
Saturday 22nd Nov. 2008
Girondins de Bordeaux 1-1 Stade Rennais
SM Caen 1-0 AJ Auxerre
Grenoble Foot38 0-0 Le Havre AC
FC Lorient 1-0 Toulouse FC
AS Saint-Étienne 0-1 OGC Nice
Valenciennes FC 2-2 FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
Sunday 23rd Nov. 2008
AS Monaco 3-0 Le Mans UC 72
FC Nantes 0-1 AS Nancy Lorraine
Olympique de Marseille 2-2 LOSC Lille
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