By Ryan Fleming
Something happened to Bordeaux late last season: it started losing. That might sound commonplace in a sport where winning or losing can depend more on confidence than skill. But with the now-French national coach, Laurent Blanc, at the helm, the team from Southwest France skidded its way out of European play at the end of the season with a litany of poor performances before its elimination from the Champions League by league foe, Lyon.
In late May, Marouane Chamakh, the team’s most talented forward joined Arsenal on a free transfer suddenly leaving les Girondins with a gaping hole up front and no visible replacement lined up.
Two games into the 2010-11 season, Bordeaux followed its predictive form – struggling to score and without a point from its two league games. In Sunday night’s match against Paris Saint Germain, Bordeaux displayed both its struggles and the likely solutions in the 2-1 win over PSG.
1. Bordeaux lacks a creative midfielder, which became more evident as PSG’s Stephane Sessegnon and Nene matter-of-factly bobbed and weaved their away around Bordeaux’s inferior midfield.
No real highlight came from the group. Even Jussie’s spectacular run, which ended with a yellow card for penalty hunting, produced nothing but frustration for Bordeaux.
I guess the only highlight would have to be the constant camera work fixed on Yoann Gourcuff on the bench, which leads right into No. 2.
2. Gourcuff should not start any game on the bench. Unless he has a knock or another issue that spectators aren’t aware of, the midfielder’s place is on the field creating for his teammates and, in the case over Sunday night’s game, the game-winning assist from a corner.
Instead of sending a barrage of insults the way of Bordeaux manager Jean Tigana, I’ll assume there was a special circumstance and, given the outcome, it was the right thing to do. The spotlight would have been on the manager’s choice if it wasn’t for Gourcuff’s last-minute heroics – and rightly so.
Les Girondins are off to perhaps their worst start in four years when the club posted a 2-0-2 record to start the 2006-07 season.
3. Bordeaux is too good not to win.
For a club with the verb gagner, or to win, now ingrained on its minds, its supporters won’t relax until the club is near the top of the table and Tigana has established trust in his managerial decisions as a result of his 250 starts for the club in the 1980s as a central midfielder.
Unfortunately for Bordeaux, they’ll have to go this year sans European play, while also dealing with the loss of their talented manager and steadfast striker.
At least for now after the dramatic, last-minute win over PSG on Sunday, Bordeaux is fully on the road to recovery.
Ryan Fleming is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at Ryan.Fleming@thesoccerguysonline.com.