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Pépé staying put as LOSC chase PSG

Publish on 24/09/2018 at 21:00

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LOSC head to Girondins de Bordeaux on Wednesday night as Paris Saint-Germain's nearest challengers and with top scorer Nicolas Pépé set to see Les Dogues' surprise title challenge through.

 Girondins de Bordeaux - LOSC 

 

Lille only guaranteed their Ligue 1 Conforama status with a 3-2 win over Toulouse FC on the penultimate day of the 2017-18 campaign, but with 13 of a possible 18 points picked up this term, things are looking significantly brighter.

Pépé had a rare quiet day in Saturday's 2-1 win over FC Nantes - José Fonte and Jonathan Ikoné scored for LOSC - but the Ivorian has been terrorising opposition defences from the right of Christophe Galtier's 4-2-3-1 formation, with four goals and three assists in 530 minutes of football, or, put another way, a direct hand in a goal every 76 minutes he has played.

'Non-transferable'

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 23-year-old was this week linked with European juggernauts Barcelona, but club chairman Gérard Lopez has moved to dismiss speculation surrounding Pépé's future.

Watch:  Highlights of LOSC's 2-1 win over Nantes

"He is non-transferable," the former Lotus Formula 1 team owner told the press on Friday. "He will play the whole season. I have said this already and I repeat it now."        

Given Pépé's electric form, he is unlikely to be rested for the trip to Bordeaux, even with Olympique de Marseille visiting the Stade Pierre-Mauroy as soon as Sunday. A Rafael Leao ankle injury aside, LOSC coach Galtier does at least have a full squad to call upon, though he is taking nothing for granted.

'keep demanding more'

"The league table is for the media," he said following the Nantes game. "We have 13 points, but we need to keep demanding more from ourselves. We can appreciate this victory, but we can't now start thinking that things will be easy."

Bordeaux begin the day in 14th, six points and 12 places worse off than LOSC, although they did get back to winning ways following a three-game slide in all competitions, beating EA Guingamp 3-1 on Sunday.

Watch:  Highlights of Bordeaux's 3-1 win at Guingamp

Pablo possibility

"This victory does us a lot of good" explained Girondins coach Éric Bedouet at his post-match press conference. "We know it's difficult to play off the back of Europe [Bordeaux were edged 1-0 by Slavia Prague in the Europa League last Thursday]. The scoreline flattered us but we're in a reconstruction phase with players who have not been here for very long."

Argentine midfielder Valentin Vada remains sidelined with a thigh injury, but the hosts will at least be able to call upon centre-back Pablo. The Brazilian already has a yellow and a red card to his name but his suspension will kick in for the Nantes game in Week 9.

 

Possible teams

Bordeaux: Costil; Palencia, Koundé, Pablo, Sabaly; Lerager, Plasil; Karamoh, Sankharé, Kamano; de Préville

LOSC: Maignan; Çelik, Fonte, Soumaoro, Ballo-Toure; Mendes, Maia; Pépé, Ikoné, Araujo; Rémy