By Ryan Fleming
It appears as if the race for the Ligue 1 title is all but over. Apparently playing the extra games in the Champions League took too much of a toll on French giants like Lyon and Bordeaux.
Olympique Marseille has found itself standing at a comfortable five-point lead over AJ Auxerre, who currently has 55 points.
Over the weekend Lyon and Bordeaux battled to a 2-2 draw. And when I say battled, I mean battled.
In the closing moments of the match, a mass brawl ensued after a bad foul by Lyon defender Anthony Reveillere. Reveillere and his victim, Benoit Tremoulinas, as well as Jussie saw red in the final stages.
April has been a horrific month for the defending league champs. Before last Sunday’s heated affair, the team from southern France were already on a tough streak after being tossed out of the Champions League by their league rival, Lyon. The current 11-point deficit that Bordeaux finds itself in is certainly too much to overcome despite having a game in hand. For those who think they could come back and challenge Marseille and Auxerre and have looked at their schedule ahead (six mediocre teams with an away match at Lorient this weekend) let me remind you, the team is in shambles, their emotions have to be getting the best of them and their manager, Laurent Blanc, just stated that he knew his team wasn’t good enough to win the league title all along.
Bordeaux has much to worry about. Forward, Marouane Chamakh, is continually linked with a move to Arsenal and recently, Gunner manager, Arsene Wenger, said the deal has a good chance at happening. If Chamakh, Bordeaux’s leading scorer leaves, his absence could play a huge role in struggles that his former side could face next season.
I think, for Bordeaux, it is time to start playing for next year and keeping the pieces in place not only for survival but success.
For Marseille, things could not be going better. The team currently holds a six-match winning streak and has achieved a point in 12 matches. Last Saturday, Marseille, put together some last-minute heroics, beating Boulogne, 2-1. A handball was called on Boulogne defender Yoann Lachor. Taye Taiwo hammered home the spot kick, which put his team up in the 90th minute and kept his team five points on top.
When Marseille captures their ninth league title, it will be their first since the ’91-’92 season – a moment that will give their supporters a certain sense of accomplishment having been only three points from the pinnacle last year. For Bordeaux questions will be asked on what went wrong and for Lyon it is another case of so close, yet so far. At least, they’re in the Champions League still.
Oops, sorry Bordeaux.
Ryan Fleming is a editor and contributing writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.