Ligue 1 leaders Nice unbeaten run ends against Caen

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One of the biggest surprises in European football’s elite leagues is seeing that Nice are in first position in France’s Ligue 1. However after 12 games they have lost their first match of the season.

That defeat came from an unlikely source in Caen who ran out 1-0 winners. The win moved Caen up to 15th place and stopped a 3 game losing streak. As the final whistle was blown on a freezing Sunday afternoon Nice looked stunned, they were not used of losing in Ligue 1. However perhaps the signs were there given that their Europa League chances had faltered in recent weeks with losses over Krasnodar and then only on Thursday going down at home to Red Bull Salzburg.

Nice’s league campaign has still been stunning though, where the club has won 9 matches from twelve games. They had before this match pulled out a 6 point lead at the top- forget about pretenders Monaco and champions PSG, Nice were clearly doing things there way. But such is football that 24 hours is a very short time and everything can change rather quickly.

Monaco recorded a brilliant 6-0 win over Nancy to move within 3 points of Nice and PSG will play late on Sunday. If they win in Paris against Rennes which they are expected to Nice will have not one but two teams vying for that first position, and even though Nice have been superb it is Monaco and PSG who has the much fuller and better equipped squads for a good league run.

Nice are attempting to win their first Ligue 1 title since 1959 and under coach Lucien Favre will clearly not give up that dream. Favre who signed on this summer is Nice’s fifth coach this decade alone.

It won’t get any easier for Nice either, their next game is away to tricky St Etienne who look great one week and very average the next. But Monaco will be away to lowly Lorient and one can expect not just a win but goals. Monaco have scored a stunning 36 goals this season so far, averaging out at just over 3 a game.

Nice has already showed character in losing Europa League games only to win domestically. However now there is a brand new challenge for them to keep pace and heart and see how they will react when losing in their own league.

Is this the beginning of the end, a good run turned sour, or simply a blip? We should know that answer by the end of this month.

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