Lille destroy PSG in stunning fashion as Lyon lose again

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For the second week in a row PSG have blown the chance to wrap up the league title and both have been in quite stunning fashion. The first was when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting missed the sitter of a century to the club in front against Strasbourg. That was one shock to take away and analyse. But it got worse at the weekend when Paris visited Lille, the 2nd best team in France this season and were soundly demolished 5-1.

It threw shockwaves around the league given that PSG had previously lost just 1 game all season and when, on the rare occasion, they do lose they don’t concede 5 goals. It was a strange game that actually started with a Thomas Meunier own goal to put Lille in front, but PSG were level on the 11th minute through a Juan Bernat effort, but he would later be sent off to compound the misery for the champions.

Both Meunier and then Tiago Silva were taken off early on through injuries and it was shortly after this point that Lille saved their best moments for the game. In 30 second half minutes Lille scored 4 goals, PSG were in shock and the game fell away. The club will put it down to a bad day at the office, but the party poppers just keep getting delayed for a side that are still 18 points clear with a game in hand.

PSG will play Nantes away from home next weekend when all they will need is a single point to win back to back league titles. The sticking point in that game could be that Nantes have just pulled off one of their finest results this season by beating Lyon in 3rd place 2-1. That means back to back defeats for Lyon and with it they look like to have conceded runners up spot to Lille. The gap between the two teams is now 8 points with 18 remaining to be played.

Saint Etienne beat Bordeaux 3-0 and they are now just 3 points behind Lyon for a final Champions League position. In short Lyon simply have not been good enough this past month and could miss out on participating in next seasons competition. Marseille beat Nimes 2-1 in an enjoyable but nervy encounter for the home side which puts them on 51 points and five points behind Lyon just to add the pressure.

Montpellier beat Toulouse 2-1 which was good enough to move up to 6th place. But it was disappointment for France’s most historical club Reims who have had a superb season back in Ligue 1 when they could only 0-0 with Monaco, they are on the same points as Montpellier with 48 but their succession of draws is damaging their chances of finishing in a European position.

Finally Nice make the top 8 and while they remain undefeated in their last 4 games, it was another dour 0-0 draw away to Rennes that doesn’t raise much interest in how the team will finish up this season.

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None of the top 6 teams win as PSG blow title celebrations

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What a weekend it was in Ligue 1 with so many surprising results and upsets as the challenge for a European finish hots up with just 7 games and 21 points left on the board.

The biggest shock perhaps was Lyon losing against bottom placed Dijon. Lyon were also at home in 3rd place chasing down Lille and yet they were defeated 3-1 against a team who had previously won just 2 games away from home. The win boosted Dijon from bottom to 18th and even gives them a small amount of hope with survival. They are just 7 points behind 17th placed Amiens. Game on!

Lyon slipped 5 points behind Lille as the challenge for an automatic Champions League spot nears closer. But in some respect Lille also blew a great chance to go 7 points clear knowing in advance that Lyon had lost, Lille played on Sunday but could only draw 1-1 with Reims.

PSG were supposed to be confirmed as the league champions for a second year in a row on Sunday night when they played Strasbourg in Paris. But it wasn’t to be- Strasbourg whose form has vastly got better since winning the Coupe de la Ligue against Guingamp, were good enough to draw 2-2 with PSG. The draw means that PSG have lost their 100% record at home.

But the major talking point of the game was when the clubs were locked at 1-1 and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had the easiest chance he will ever get in his career to score a goal. A simple tap in with the ball on the goal line and no challenge. He somehow caressed the ball along the goal line and onto the post. It was one of the worst misses in football history and at the same time it was also deemed one of the best defensive recoveries too.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel elected to start Kylian Mbappe from the bench so there didn’t appear to be such a seriousness about the game on true reflection. But that miss could well spend the end of Choupo-Moting’s short lived career with the team from Paris, although we should not forget that he did score earlier in the game. Of course the title is just a stay of execution and PSG could officially wrap it up with their next game which is incidentally away to 2nd placed Lille.

Saint Etienne were not able to take advantage of Lille and Lyon dropping points and could only draw 2-2 with 17th placed Amiens. However the club went away happy in the end given that Remy Cabella’s 95th minute equaliser saved them from defeat.

Marseille lost again, this time to Bordeaux 2-0 and their infamous poor form just before the turn of the year seems to be back. That form led to fan protests to get rid of coach Rudi Garcia. L’OM have not won for 3 games and whilst they remain in 5th place Saint Etienne have pulled 2 points clear of them.

So from the top 8 clubs it was left to Patrick Vieira’s Nice to be the only team to win at the weekend. Nice beat Montpellier 1-0 their second successive result winning by the same score line and that put the team right in the mix on 47 points. It was 7th v 8th in a much frenzied contested match, there was 31 goal attempts from both sides in a game which could have gone either way.

The excitement is continuing to build in Ligue 1 as there is just 5 points between 4th place which is good enough for a Europa League finish and 8th place. Plus relegation could yet involve 6 teams.

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Choupo-Moting’s stunning miss denies PSG the league title

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PSG lost their 100% record at home when they could only draw 2-2 with Strasbourg at the weekend. But that is just one story- the other is Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s extraordinary miss when the match was poised at 1-1, which almost certainly would have sealed the game in their favour and given them the league title. Now PSG will have to wait.

Strasbourg have frustrated PSG in the past- a few seasons ago Strasbourg ended PSG’s unbeaten run in the league and now the new Coupe de la Ligue winners have ended PSG’s dominance at home by becoming the first team this season to take points from them in Paris. Before the game PSG had played 15 and won 15, a stunning record.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel was still without Brazilian Neymar which was expected what wasn’t expected was that he did not start star player Kylian Mbappe, instead choosing to rest the player from the bench. That meant a rare start for once Stoke City striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Everything was going so well for the player who opened the scoring in the 13 minute with a neat finish. At that point PSG were simply expected to stroll to victory, but Strasbourg who have been in superb form after winning the Coupe de la Ligue and then beating Reims 4-0 had not read the script.

Da Costa equalised on 26 minutes and then shock of shocks Goncalves put Strasbourg ahead just before half time. But before Goncalves got the goal to put the visitors ahead, PSG somehow were not ahead themselves.

Choupo-Moting found himself virtually on the opposition goal line, the ball crossed in perfectly and with good weight and pass he simply had to notch the ball in with the deftest of touches. Instead he somehow kicked the ball in a way that ended up looking like a nonchalant brilliant piece of defending- and fans in the stadium sat their stunned. Mbappe on the bench could not believe what he was seeing, and the opportunity was gone. In England commentators reporting on the game suggested it was the greatest miss of all time- that’s for another day and another list but it was certainly up there with the biggest controversial moments stemming from such a clear cut chance in front of goal- a real head scratcher.

Choupo-Moting has played 18 times for PSG and scored 3 goals and it is unfortunate for him that the night turned sour given that he had opened the scoring. It was of course not a reflection on the player and was just a shocking miss, a freak and it happens.

The problem for the 30 year old is such misses for the biggest clubs can be the downfall moment and it would be a surprise if Choupo-Moting is a PSG player next season given his age and the fact that he joined the club this season on a free transfer anyway. Football has shown us on countless occasions how ruthless the big clubs can be when needed.

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EPL Attacker Review – Wonderful Welbeck, Kane the Corker and Blundering Benteke

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If you are a striker who is on the books at Man United, with some first team experience, and a club like Arsenal come along, there is certainly a decision to be made. In the case of Danny Welbeck, it seemed an easy one. Continue reading