• Monday, 21 December 2009

    Bordeaux in total control: Ligue 1 reviews

    Grenoble 1-1 Nice
    Boulogne P-P Sochaux
    Valenciennes 0-0 Lens
    Bordeaux 4-1 Lorient
    Montpellier 0-2 Nancy
    Rennes 1-0 PSG
    St Etienne 0-0 Marseille
    Auxerre 1-1 Toulouse
    Lille 3-0 Le Mans
    Monaco 1-1 Lyon

    Bordeaux look set to end 2009 in complete control of Ligue 1, sitting a more than comfortable eight points clear at the top of the table. They won big on Saturday while all their nearest challengers dropped points leaving everyone else with a massive job to do to overhaul Laurent Blanc's side. Lorient made life tough for Les Girondins, but David Bellion struck against the run of play, nutmegging the keeper on the end of a fast break. He added a second before half-time and Fernando Cavenaghi made it three, second after Franco Sosa had missed a penalty at the other end. Yoann Gourcuff, almost inevitable, added a fourth before Kevin Gameiro got some consolation for the hard-working Lorient. Marseille were held by St Etienne despite Les Verts spending 82 minutes a man short after Efstathios Tavlaridis was sent off for a bad foul on Bakary Koné. Montpellier went down at home to Nancy, Djamel Bakar and Pascal Berenguer both striking in the first half to upset this season's surprise package, Lyon were held by Monaco for whom Park Chu-Young equalised Michel Bastos's opener, and Auxerre had Roy Contout to thank for saving a point against Toulouse. Luan had put Les Violets ahead halfway through the first half, but Etienne Didot was sent off with four minutes to go. Deep into stoppage time, Contout popped up to scrape a point for AJA.

    Lille move up to third with another big win, although just the three goals this week rather than the now traditional four. Aurélien Cedjou put them ahead just twelve minutes in and it was three by the time half an hour ticked round, Gervinho and Eden Hazard with the others. It could have been more had Florent Balmont not missed a penalty, but Lille continue their impressive run. Rennes halted their recent slide with a win over struggling PSG, Ismael Bangoura with the only goal of the game. Valenciennes lost ground on the front runners as they were held to a goalless draw at home to Lens and Grenoble ground out another point, though Nice had Chaouki Ben Saada's late goal to thank for their point. He struck six minutes from time after Nicolas Dieuze had put the Alpine club ahead.

    That game up in the hills was on, but Boulogne against Sochaux was called off due to a frozen pitch, the English Channel coast getting the same wintry conditions as the south-east of England.

    There's a full programme scheduled midweek, the final round before the league shuts down for winter:

    Lens v St Etienne
    PSG v Grenoble
    Le Mans v Monaco
    Nancy v Lille
    Sochaux v Rennes
    Marseille v Auxerre
    Lyon v Montpellier
    Lorient v Valenciennes
    Nice v Boulogne
    Toulouse v Bordeaux

    There are a number of games between contenders at the top, Lorient against Valenciennes, Lyon welcoming Montpellier to the Gerland and Marseille against Auxerre. Anyone who can force a win from those games will no doubt emerge as nearest challengers to Bordeaux. The leaders go to Toulouse having reversed a period of iffy form and nobody knows what sort of Toulouse side will turn up on any given day. Lille go to Nancy with bookmakers everywhere fretting that they'll pop another four away.

    PSG need points against Grenoble if rumblings about Antoine Kombouaré's tenure there are going to quiten down. Nice against Boulogne and St Etienne's trip to Lens will have big bearings on the shape of things down at the bottom. Le Mans will do well to get anything out of Monaco and there's amid-table clash between Rennes and Sochaux, the latter of which have seen two of their last three games postponed, so they should at least be fresh.

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