The hunt for a win in October – AC Arles Avignon
November 5, 2010 2 Comments
Finally, there is relatively good news to report about Arles Avignon. Well I say good news, that maiden win in Ligue 1 still eludes our renegades from the south coast of France. They’ve finally managed to get some points on the board this season, with back-to-back draws against fellow promoted and now surprise run-away leaders Brest and Lyon too.
It really is remarkable seeing the contrast between Arles-Avignon and Stade Brestois. It was fairly obvious that Arles-Avignon were going to find the transition tough at best, but the Brittany club have been sensational this season, with only 2 defeats in those 11 games. They started fairly poorly but have been on a roll since with the Arles game being the only blemish in their form.
Brest have done something which is often not associated with promoted sides, and that’s having a rock-solid defence. They didn’t concede a goal in October, mainly thanks to Ahmed Kantari and Moise Apanga being almost ever-present in that back four. Hardly big names but both have grasped their opportunity, and Kantari has said that they deserve their place at the top. It would be hard to argue with him.
The game with Arles was a toughly contested game but featured fleeting opportunities for both sides. Lady Luck smiled on Arles’ side for the first time in the campaign, after Brest hit the woodwork twice in the second half. Nolan Roux’s header was the key chance in the game for Brest and it rattled the crossbar. Coincidently, Roux, only 22 has been superb this season, with the press speculating where his next move may be.
So, Arles managed to grab their first point, next up was Olympique Lyonnais. Now, Lyon haven’t had the best of starts to the season, but October saw them pick up some semblance of consistency under Claude Puel and they finally progressed up the table to 10th. The game was highly anticipated, a must win game for under-fire Puel, but it will be more fondly remembered for the weather. Stormy conditions caused the football quality to deteriorate , even more so with Arles playing.
Bizarre scenes before the match started. The Lyon players all stood on the pitch embracing each other, shaking hands and such possibly showing their backing of Claude Puel. This was after reports that Cris had led a revolt against the manager in a meeting, mainly due to his decision to drop him in previous games. Low and behold, Cris made the biggest impact in this game, literally by elbowing Camel Meriem, forcing him to be stretchered off.
Arles made the most of the slippery conditions at Parc Des Sports and they finally scored their first home goal of the season, through Franck Dja Djedje with a superb jink around Hugo Lloris and slotted in between two Lyon defenders. Cue jubilation and a half-time lambasting from Puel. It worked as Jimmy Briand scored straight after half-time with a downward header that should have been held by Cyrille Merville.
Either way, a fantastic draw for Arles, even considering Lyon’s problems this season. To quote the song – Sur le pont d’Avignon. L’on y danse, l’on y danse.
They took that result to Lorient and were roundly treated to a Kevin Gameiro masterclass. Ah well, a massive improvement in October for them. Here’s some highlights and November’s fixtures for Arles-Avignon:
6th Nov – Caen (H)
13th Nov – Monaco (A) – (biggest game in terms of league positioning)
21st Nov – Bordeaux (H)
27th Nov – Valenciennes (A)
Also we should note that Arles Avignon and Willem II are both on two points this season. If the two end on the same points at the end of the season, and rock bottom of the leagues across Europe, then a fixture should be contested at a neutral venue (DW Stadium) to decide who is the worst team in Europe. I think it has legs Platini….it should be dubbed UEFA Wooden Spoon