Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 24 September 2009

Jeu Du Jour Week 6: Montpellier's bubble bursts

After a sensational run of five league games unbeaten, newly-promoted Montpellier were finally put to the sword in a comprehensive 4-2 defeat away to a virtually full-strength Marseille side on Saturday.

And the good news for Didier Deschamps was that he finally got to see a return on the €18 million invested in Argentinean playmaker Lucho Gonzalez. The former Porto man has been absent for much of the season with a collar bone injury since joining Marseille in the summer but was on hand with the first goal in an eight-minute spell just after the half-hour mark. Mamadou Niang and Edouard Cisse joined him on the teamsheet, and when Souleymane Diawara did the same after 51 minutes, Montpellier looked dead and buried.

René Girard's men did finally rally, pulling two goals back in the last fifteen minutes, but by then the damage had been well and truly done. That result means a first defeat of the season for Montpellier who slip to sixth while Marseille keep the pressure on leaders Bordeaux who did their own demolition job on one of Ligue 1's newcomers.

Boulogne were the hosts as Laurent Blanc and his team returned from an admirable draw against Juventus last week in the Champions League. The difference in quality was very apparent at the Stade de la Libération as Bordeaux dominated much of the game, and indeed they could have won by a greater margin. In the end, they had to settle for two thanks to Yoan Gouffran who picked up his second goal in two matches and an own goal by Boulogne's Yoann Lachor.

With that, Bordeaux extended their lead at the top to two points after Lyon lost ground with a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Paris Saint-Germain. Three former Lyon players were on show for the hosts including goalkeeper Gregory Coupet who valiantly stopped his previous employers from getting on the scoresheet for much of the game.

Another former Lyon man, Ludovic Giuly, gave PSG the lead on 29 minutes having breached a shaky-looking Lyon defence and his side looked likely to hold out for all three points until Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed an equaliser five minutes from time.

Lyon therefore hold onto their run of nine games unbeaten in all competitions and stay second in the table as Rennes now join them in the top four. Outside of the 'Big Three', they're the only other unbeaten team in the league following a 4-0 demolition away to sorry Grenoble.

Grenoble, without a win in all six Ligue 1 matches, were 1-0 down within 19 seconds thanks to Asamoah Gyan, and it was he who popped up with the last goal from a penalty just after an hour of play. Sadly, the match was overshadowed by violence on the terraces as Grenoble's frustrated fans threw objects including smoke bombs onto the pitch, causing the match to be stopped twice by the referee. Matters weren't helped by the coinciding 15th anniversary of the creation of Red Kaos 94, the ultra wing of Grenoble's fanbase. Troubled times look set to continue for the alpine club.

Elsewhere, Valenciennes enjoyed their first win at Sochaux for thirty years after an entertaining 5-2 victory at the Stade Bonal. Valenciennes were twice behind in the match but an impressive second half performance brought about four goals, two of which came from Gregory Pujol, to maintain their push up towards mid-table safety.

At the bottom, however, the misery continues for Saint Etienne who could only draw 1-1 against fellow strugglers Auxerre. Both teams have won just one game so far this season and remain in the bottom five while another team languishing at the wrong end are Nice who lost 3-1 at home to Monaco. Nice were another team to witness crowd trouble after their fans barracked club officials inside the VIP area of the stadium. A fourth straight defeat means they now lie 19th in the table.

Dropping like a stone are Nancy whose last win in the league was on August 15th. Their 3-1 defeat away to Lorient sees them drop to 12th while Toulouse finally appear to have replicated their decent European form with a 2-0 win at home to Le Mans. The visitors notched up their 12th straight match without a clean sheet after goals from Etienne Didot and Moussa Sissoko earned Toulouse only their second win of the season.

The Derby du Nord finished all square at 1-1 but only thanks to a goal three minutes into stoppage time for Adil Rami. Razak Boukari gave Lens the lead after 58 minutes in an even contest, but Lille had to wait until the bitter end for their equaliser to grab a vital point as they attempt to pull away from the stragglers at the bottom of the table.

And that's just about all for this week. Results and tables here. Until next time, it's à bientôt!

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