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Gazelec Ajaccio & Toulouse – the big losers

Another set of Ligue 1 Saturday night fixtures and another set of twists and turns at the bottom the table.

Here are tonight’s results: Nantes 2-1 Lorient, GFC Ajaccio 2-3 ESTAC Troyes, Montpellier 2-0 Toulouse, Reims 0-1 SC Bastia, Guingamp 2-4 Bordeaux.

Psychological blow for Gazelec Ajaccio

Gazelec Ajaccio were the biggest losers of the evening, having come into this home game in free-fall since the end of their 11 game unbeaten streak on January 22nd. Playing host to the French football top-flight’s whipping boys, a victory for the Corsicans would have been quasi-essential if they were to stand a chance in a complex as ever Ligue 1 relegation battle in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, despite taking an early lead through Zoua, Gazelec were stunned by an ESTAC Troyes side playing with the sort of freedom that a side would only dare to showcase if they had either already won the league or if their relegation was already a foregone conclusion.

Gazelec’s defeat at the hands of ESTAC, in a game that eventually finished 2-3, puts the Corsicans in the relegation zone. Their inexperience with regards to the vicious Ligue 1 relegation battle climate vis-a-vis their more seasoned rivals (Montpellier, Reims, SC Bastia and Toulouse), will undoubtedly count against them as we reach the home stretch of this campaign.

Toulouse – Sound the Alarms

Elsewhere in the gutters of Ligue 1, Dominique Arribagé’s Toulouse were on the wrong end of a relegation six-pointer when they faced Montpellier tonight. MHSC, who made an excellent move by appointing Frédéric Hantz as their new manager, were able to rely on the scoring boots of seasoned French top flight attackers Mustapha Yatabaré and Souleymane Camara to emerge victorious 2-0.

Toulouse’s 2016 represents somewhat of a tragic tale thus far, winning their first three matches before having the unfortunate task of playing against PSG three times in three different competitions, with a game against Monaco in between. TFC lost all three encounters with Les Parisiens but surprised many with valiant performances in every fixture against the Ligue 1 champions.

However, when the opposition became more beatable, Toulouse’s level of performances dropped. Wissam Ben Yedder’s possibly January transfer window inspired form has predictably dried up as we entered February. The lack of January dealings with regards to incomings seems to have had a negative psychological effect on a squad that is already beaten up enough as it is.

While Toulouse must be praised for sticking to their football morals despite the discouraging results, preferring to attempt to attack and open up play where possible, the stark reality of their situation is that they currently sit eight points adrift from safety, and a loss next week against Gazelec Ajaccio would seal their Ligue 2 – coloured fate.

C.S.

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