French Ligue 1: Giants fail to to grab the necessary points

Lyon suffered a tough and surprising loss to Toulouse. The scapegoat? Swede Kim Kallstrom’s ejection in the 35th minute.  Fellow Swede and Toulouse striker Johan Elmander provided the dramatic, 90th minute strike to beat the defending champions. To add insult to injury, reliable veterans Cris and Sidney Govou both left the game with injuries.

Paris St-Germain was held to a 0-0 draw by a scrappy, but evenly-matched Racing Lens side. Lens’ new coach Guy Roux enjoyed his home debut but was given the run-around by PSG midfielder Jeremy Clement who sparked an otherwise lackluster offense. Nothing came from it and both sides settled with the draw. Lens’ received another promising performance from Kanga Akale.

Marseille were held to a deadlock draw by Stade Rennais, marking their second scoreless draw in a row.

Saint Etienne made its’ presence known as highly coveted Pascal Feinduono struck twice in a 3-1 win over last-year’s surprise Valenciennes. Johan Audel, last week’s player of the week, had the consolation goal but les Verts offensive firepower overwhelmed the piecemeal Valenciennes defense.

Lorient received the necessary offensive support from Rafik Saifi to beat Monaco 2-1 at home. His brace grabbed a vital three points for their quest to escape midtable mediocrity. The goals came early and forced Monaco to rush to equalize, unsuccessfully…with his performance, the Algerian midfielder grabs CHI’s Ligue One Player of the Week.

Bordeaux beat Auxerre 2-0 thanks Brazilian Wendel’s brace. The highlight, however, was the fact that Toifilou Maoulida’s double penalty miss. Maoulida had a chance in each half to counter Wendel’s brace but he missed both opportunities. New Bordeaux boss and WC 1998 star Laurent Blanc has started this Ligue One season with favorable results – 2 wins out of 2.

Other results:

Le Mans 3, Sochaux 1 – two wins to start the season as Le Mans sits at the top of the table for now

Nancy 1, Caen 0 – found an answer to snuff out the effect of Yohan Gouffran and to seal the victory for another win in as many tries

Nice 1, Strasbourg 0 – late strike from Hognon seals the win

League Standings

EPL: Sven and Big Sam start with 3; Man Utd falters

Another slew of games this Tuesday and Wednesday as the Premiership starts with a bang. This past weekend’s slate however was chock full of entertaining matches – most of which I didn’t get to see. Some things that did stick out however:

 Derby 2, Portsmouth 2: Not many expected this I am sure but freshly promoted teams generally fight like hell for the first several games then sputter when it comes to the long-haul of the Premiership season. The Rams took the lead in this one thanks to a Matthew Oakley strike. Pompey fought back to take the lead 2-1 and it looked as of Derby was down and out. Former Blackburn Rover Andy Todd made it 2-2 in the waning moments to secure a point. If they can tie Portsmouth with a squad  that boss Billy Davies is vocally unhappy with – what can they do once strengthened? (is it too early to regret my decision of predicting a 5th place finish for Portsmouth?)

Sunderland 1, Tottenham 0: Spurs faithful have got to be incensed with this one, but looking back on it – why did I ever bet against Roy Keane in his Premiership managerial debut; Chopra doubters were treated to a nice serving of ‘I told you so’ as the former Newcastle dud provided the only goal in the 90th minute

Chelsea 3, Birmingham 2: the Blues struck first early with Mikael Forssell staking a claim for a starting spot but new Chelsea acquisition made his argument by striking less than 2 minutes later; the rest of the game was back and forth as fellow new Chelsea signing Florent Malouda also put his name on the scoresheet; Johan Djourou – plucked from Arsenal’s talent pool – worked all 90 minutes for Birmingham in the back; Michael Essien provided the game winner in the 50th minute and extended Chelsea’s home unbeaten streak; Drogba quelled Chelsea supporter fears with a solid 30 minute run-out

Arsenal 2, Fulham 1: David Healy pounced on a particularly embarassing screw up by Jens Lehmann; search it on YouTube – not quite Paul Robinson-ish but still borderline pathetic; the Gunners fought back for him though as two late goals – a PK from Van Persie and Aleksander Hleb – put Arsenal clear; McBride started up front and Bocanegra in the back, both played all 90 minutes while Clint Dempsey came on for new signing Hamuer Bouazza in the beginning of the second half and worked a serviceable half; Gunner fans have got to be excited about the play of Bakary Sagna and Emmanuel Eboue down the right wing

Reading 0, Manchester United 0: another giant held with unfortunate consequences for Alex Ferguson and all Red Devil fans; Wayne Rooney broke his foot and will be out 2 months at least; they do have Carlos Tevez to look forward to but Rooney looked primed to have a phenomenal year and his absence will make things a bit harder for that Red Devil offense to produce consistently; Reading played the last 20 minutes a man down after Dave Kitson’s ejection and proved pesky (though never threatening); Nicky Shorey was the best man on the field for the Royals and Giggsy for the Red Devils

Other results:

Liverpool 2, Aston Villa 1 – The Reds’ new signings start slow but Gerrard’s goal of the week give them the win

Manchester City 2, West Ham 0 – Spector plays all 90 minutes but can’t stop Sven’s new signings – Geovanni and Bianchi from finding  the net, while their newly crafted back line preserves the shutout and 3 away points

Newcastle 3, Bolton 1 – Sam Allardyce beats his former team as the Magpie offense is driven by the brace of Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins

Blackburn 2, Middlesbrough 1 – Brad Friedel worked well in a goal as usual while the young Derbyshire and new signing Roque Santa Cruz provide the goal scoring power to beat the Boro

Everton 2, Wigan Athletic 1 – Tim Howard held his own in net for the Toffees as they fought their way to a win at home thanks to a Leon Osman and young’un Victor Anichebe strike