You are reading the Get French Football News Talking Points column, written by Eric Devin.
With a mid-week trip to Paris looming, and matches against Marseille and Monaco still to play, Albert Cartier’s Metz desperately needed three points against Bordeaux, and looked to be well on course for a third successive win. Ferjani Sassi had netted his first Ligue 1 goal since his arrival from his native Tunisia in January, and hosts Bordeaux, despite the bulk of possession and a host of shots, had been demonstrating the kind of wastefulness that has marked their play without Cheick Diabate. Then, as they have so often done in recent weeks, Bordeaux netted late in the match, Wahbi Khazri’s free kick bouncing into Anthony Mfa’s goal on 83 minutes.
The draw really does neither team any good, with Metz desperately attempting to stave off relegation and Bordeaux struggling to reach the European places, but it does provide some food for thought. While free kicks haven’t really been Bordeaux’s specialty thus far, the timing of the goal came as little surprise; for the fourth time in seven matches, Les Girondins netted late within the last ten minutes of a match to secure a result. While only a draw after late victories over PSG, Lens and Caen, the manner of the draw shows a resilience under Sagnol, important for a side lacking such an important figure as the influential Diabate.
This willingness to keep playing to the end has also been key to Bordeaux’s new approach in 2015, a more resolute defense (third best) spurring the side to a resurrection of sorts in the new year, staving off the charges of Lille and Montpellier to hope for a Europa League spot should PSG fail to beat Auxerre in the final.
Les Grenats, meanwhile, may finally be consigned to relegation unless they can spring a surprise on PSG Tuesday. A win would’ve left the club six points off 17th, and a better goal difference than Reims or Evian, but now eight points from safety, an immediate return to Ligue 2 looks all but certain. It’s a shame to write this piece as a requiem for the club’s current stay in the top division, given their history and their early-season form, including a famous victory over Lyon.
Despite an attempt to bring in reinforcements in the winter via the sale of Maxwell Cornet to Lyon, the Tunisian newcomers haven’t worked out as the club might have hoped. Coupled with injury absences on the part of Modibo Maiga and Florent Malouda at various times, the team’s bright start to the season was undone by a winless run extending from November to April in the league. While recent wins over fellow strugglers Toulouse and Lens extended the slightest bit of hope, Khazri’s strike has likely extinguished it, a grim pronouncement on playing the “right way” as both Lens and Metz have tried to play positively but have been undone by leaky defenses. While the draw against Bordeaux may have been a disappointing result, perhaps Les Grenats could’ve absorbed some of their hosts’ newfound defensive nous.