• Thursday, 18 March 2010

    Ligue 1 round 29

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

    This should be a week where the title gets sorted out with four of the top six facing off against each other. Should either of Marseille v Lyon and Bordeaux v Lille produce a winner, then the table will finally begin to take shape. Montpellier and Auxerre both have eminently winnable home games, AJA moreso, but the focus will be elsewhere.

    It'll be on PSG. More accurately, it'll be on their fans, one of whom died in the week after protracted clashes amongst themselves. Sports minister Rama Yada has waded in with some strong words. "he club's survival is at stake. The worst has happened. Passions transformed into sordid, senseless, murderous rage. Love of the team jersey has become hate for the other, hate for the sport, hate for life. It is a victory for barbarism and a defeat for sport, fraternity and civilisation. Everyone should be concerned, first and foremost the leaders of all clubs. This may take time but our resolve will not falter."

    That final sentence should be a worry coming as it does from Sarkozy's cabinet as anyone who remembers when he was minister of the interior and went all Travis Bickle on us and promised to wash the scum off the streets in response to rioting in les banlieus around Paris. The PSG game this weekend is in Nice. PSG fans are banned from travelling and the game will in any case be played behind closed doors after Nice fans went on the rampage after their recent game against Monaco.

    So while we ought to be in for a fascinating weekend of football, coming off the back of two French sides qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Champions League (more than Germany, Italy or Spain could muster and just as many as England), we instead have the spectre of hooliganism grabbing the attention and the headlines.

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