PSG have their perfect start to the season to thank for their current cushion at the Ligue 1 summit, after having lost one and drawn one of their most recent three games.
Their 100% record came crashing down with a shock 2-0 defeat away at Rennes, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side bounced back after the international break with back-to-back wins over Angers in the league and RB Leipzig in the Champions League, though they had to come from behind in both games.
That momentum was stalled at the weekend, however, as they played out a frustrating goalless draw with Marseille in a game dominated by crowd trouble and VAR decisions.
Play had to be stopped in both halves as bottles were thrown at Neymar when the Brazilian forward attempted to take corner kicks, and a pitch invader prevented a PSG attack and grabbed Lionel Messi.
Each side had a goal ruled out by VAR – a Luan Peres own goal for PSG and an Arkadiusz Milik strike for Marseille – and, as the referee was consulting with his VAR team on the decision to send off Les Parisiens’ right-back Achraf Hakimi, he had a laser shone into his face.
Pochettino will have been frustrated by the events and the result, but his level of frustration is likely nothing compared to that of the Lille fanbase.
Having already lost more matches in the current campaign than they did in the entirety of their 2020-21 championship-winning season, Jocelyn Gourvennec‘s first couple of months in charge of Lille have not exactly gone to plan.
Gourvennec was considered an underwhelming appointment by some of the Lille fanbase – the 49-year-old having been out of work since parting ways with Guingamp in May 2019 as they suffered relegation – before the season even began.
Whilst there was immediate silverware at his new club, thanks to a win over PSG in the Trophee des Champions, the start of the season has been stuttering at best, and they have taken just one point from their last two league games, after a 1-0 loss to Clermont and a 1-1 draw at home to struggling Brest last weekend.
Les Dogues will have to find some bite in their play quickly or this title defence could go down as one of the worst in the league’s history, but a repeat of their triumph in the Trophee des Champions seems unlikely this weekend.
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