Last year’s French champions Bordeaux might have broken their worst run of form since 2004 last week with a win after three defeats versus Lyon, but they are still deep in trouble.
After a rosey start to the season Laurent Blanc’s side has started to suffer fatigue and injury problems. Bordeaux might be one of the biggest clubs in France, but compared to the likes of Lyon and Marseille there’s a huge difference in squad depth. There are only 15 outfield players that have made more than 10 appearances in the league. Manchester United Patrice Evra, who at the weekend didn’t make the starting XI for the first time this season, isn’t the only one who can complain about the lack of rest. The whole Bordeaux’s defensive line has played so far without proper back-up. Star striker Maroune Chamakh has found very few breathing breaks with David Bellion and Fernando Cavenaghi not enjoying the best form of their lives.
Bordeaux were crowned the Autumn champions with 8 points ahead of Marseille. Now the tide has turned massively. Marseille are the current leaders of Ligue 1, Bordeaux are sitting at a lowly 5th place. They do have a game in hand, but the gap is now a solid one with 6 points and it will be seen if there is going to be a fight by Bordeaux to defend their title.
This situation is actually very surprising. In the summer there weren’t a whole lot of changes in the team. Captain Souleymane Diawara left, but he was replaced with Mickael Ciani, who’s proved to be an adequate replacement. Gabriel Obertan, who left for Man Utd, was replaced by Jaroslav Plasil and that’s basically it. It seems like the big problem has turned out to be the for mentioned trouble with back-up players form. Cavenaghi has so far hit only two goals (compared to least season, where he found the net 13 times in the league). There’s been chopping and changing among the rear guard. Midfield anchorman Alou Diarra has been forced to cover missing central defenders and also been injured himself. Marc Planuswas ruled out for the whole season with a knee injury before his miraculous recovery before the Lyon match, but he still missed quite a few games. Young Ludovic Sane, a defensive midfield player by trade, started at right back versus Lyon and had a spell in midfield before finishing the game alongside Ciani as a central defender.
Laurent Blanc might be considered as of the most promising up and coming managers in the game, but he still has plenty to learn. Squad freshness being the main thing. Last year Bordeaux got lucky having the team very little affected by injuries and players in acceptable form. This season it’s all gone up in flames since the turn of the year with only 1 chance for silverware from four remaining and even that one is an outside shot.