The View From France

Jean-Pierre Thiesset summarizes the 16th round of D1 Arkema (15/3/22).

What a strange and desperate round! The two “supposedly” best teams in French league could not win. Paris Saint-Germain drew 0-0 with sixth placed Montpellier, and Lyon were held 1-1 against bottom club Saint-Etienne. These two results are not very reassuring with the UEFA Women Championships’ League games coming up in two weeks.

Issy away from home won 1-0 against Dijon. It was a logical win for Issy in an even game where Batcheba Louis (24 years old), from Haiti, scored at the 73rd minute with a beautiful shot. With this second consecutive win, Issy continues to move up in the standings and can still stay in D1 for next season. Goal for Issy from Batcheba Louis (73).

Reims won 1-0 away from home against Guingamp. In another equal game, and in which there were a lot of stray passes and lost possession (around only 60% of successful passes for each team), Reims scored at the very end of the match thanks to Océane Deslandes after a great pass from Rachel Corbos. With this win, Reims consolidate their seventh place in the league. Goal for Reims from Océane Deslandes (90).

Bordeaux away from home won 3-0 against Soyaux. In a game edged by Bordeaux, the visitors was a little bit more efficient even if they had to wait until the 90th and three minutes into stoppage time to score their second and third goals. Bordeaux and Montpellier are now both on 26 points in fifth and sixth place in the standings respectively. Goals for Bordeaux from Julie Dufour (53), Mélissa Gomes (90), Maëlle Garbino (90+3).

Paris FC won 3-1 at home against Fleury. In this important game between two teams battling it out for the  third Champions League qualifying spot, Paris FC dominated this game and Fleury, despite the fact they put a lot of impact suffered. Paris FC, which had lost against Fleury last week in France Cup, were able to react. After their goal in the 13th minute and up to the first goal of Paris FC, Fleury thought that they could do it again and beat Paris FC. On the second and third goals for Paris FC, Katriina Talaslahti, Fleury’s goalkeeper, alone in front on Paris FC strikers, got a touch on the shots but not enough to prevent them from going into goal.

Paris FC are now nine points ahead of Fleury but nothing is completely decided because they had four big games (Paris SG and Montpellier at home, Lyon and Bordeaux away from home) in their future schedule while Fleury had only one big game against Lyon at home. Goals for Paris FC from Mathilde Bourdieu (27, 61), Clara Matéo (88). Goal for Fleury from Dominika Grabowska (13). 

Paris Saint-Germain at home drew 0-0 against Montpellier. This game was edged by Paris SG (61% possession). All along the game, Montpellier were aggressive and put a lot of pressure on Paris SG players. For Paris SG, Paulina Dudek, their captain, had to be replaced at the 20th minute due to injury. PSG were lacking support, presence, and accuracy in front of the goal; Marie-Antoinette Katoto was several times alone with no solution proposed by her teammates. Even if Sandy Baltimore entered at half time, the strong pressing of Montpellier did not allow Paris SG to develop their game. This combined with the great performance of Gabrielle Lambert, Montpellier goalkeeper, allowed Montpellier to obtain a deserved draw.

Olympique Lyonnais were held 1-1 away from home against Saint-Etienne. In this game, Lyon were dominant (65% possession, 28 shots with 13 on target, nine corners), yet they were below par throughout. How they could not score more than one goal from 28 shots is a staggering and a such lack of efficiency in front of the goal for the “supposedly” best team in the world is not only a shame but also very disturbing. Even if we must point out the great performance of Emily Burns, Saint-Etienne goalkeeper, we have to say that she was helped by the poor shooting of Lyon strikers in the six yards area with most of the shots straight at her.

There are also question marks about Lyon coach Sonia Bompastor’s team selection for the match. Why was Griedge MBock played in front of the defence, where she is obviously not at ease, instead of reintegrating Damaris Egurrola, who was available, in the team and put MBock back in the central defense instead of Kadeisha Buchanan? Why not try to put Sara Gunnarsdottir in midfield during the second half? Why not put Janice Cayman, who produced great performances each time she is on the field upfront from the beginning of the game? A lot of questions and a lot of disturbing thoughts before the UEFA Women’s Champions League in two weeks. Goal for Lyon from Melvine Malard (79). Goal for Saint-Etienne from Manon Uffren (73).

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