Mauricio Pochettino, PSG
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Round 19 review: Poch gets first PSG win but OL lead the way

Publish on 10/01/2021 at 11:59

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Mauricio Pochettino oversaw his first victory as Paris Saint-Germain, against Stade Brestois 29, but Olympique Lyonnais continue to top the table despite their 2-2 draw with Stade Rennais FC.

Pochettino, formerly a centre-back with PSG between 2001 and 2003, was frustrated in his first game after succeeding Thomas Tuchel as coach, with his side drawing with struggling AS Saint-Étienne last Wednesday, but the champions were unbound on Saturday, running out 3-0 winners against Brest, with Moise Kean, Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia on target.

 

Pochettino wants selection headache

 

 

"You have to go little by little," the Argentine said after his first three-point haul. "Mauro has just returned from injury, he resumed with the group a few days ago. It's very good for his confidence that he scores, as it is for Sarabia. I expect all of the players to give me problems when it comes to selecting the team."

 

Lyon had come into Round 19 with a three-point cushion over the defending champions, but they had to lean on two goals inside the final 10 minutes against Stade Rennais FC on Saturday, Memphis Depay and Jason Denayer scoring to snatch a draw after former OL man Clément Grenier and Benjamin Bourigeaud looked to have put the Bretons on easy street.

 

Garcia glad to be autumn champion


 

"We made a lot of mistakes," lamented coach Rudi Garcia after the game. "We gave up a lot of possession to Rennes and they were more determined than us for the best part of an hour. We fought back, though, and this is a really good point. I'm glad we were able to claim it and ensure that we are autumn champions."

 

Completing the podium at the technical halfway stage of the season are LOSC. Les Dogues didn't have things all their own way at bottom club Nîmes Olympique, but Burak Yilmaz's first-half goal - his ninth since his summer switch from Besiktas - nonetheless proved enough to separate the sides at the Stade des Costières.

 

Galtier: 'Hungry group'

 

 

"I think about the victory, the goal scored, and the fact we didn't concede a goal," said a rather philosophical Christophe Galtier. "The conditions weren't easy ,and it wasn't a great game but I remember that we have 39 points after 19 games and that's a very good path to be on. The group is hungry and ambitious."

 

Monaco are not too far behind, the principality side on 33 points after their comfortable 3-0 win over Angers SCO at the Stade Louis II. Kevin Volland was in superlative form, assisting goals for Guillermo Maripan and Stevan Jovetic which sandwiched his own strike - the German's ninth of the season.

 

Dia chasing Mbappé

 

 

As impressive as Volland has been, only PSG's Kylian Mbappé can keep up with Stade de Reims' Boulaye Dia at the top of the goalscoring charts; the Senegalese bringing up his 11th and 12th goals of the season as the Champagne club beat AS Saint-Étienne 3-1.

 

Perhaps the biggest winners and losers at either end of the table were Dijon FCO and Olympique de Marseille, though, despite their goalless draw at the Stade Gaston Gérard. The share of the points was enough for Dijon to pull out of the automatic relegation places, but saw Marseille fall out of the European places for the first time since Round 12.

 

Almost cutting the mustard

 

 

Replacing Lorient alongside Nîmes in the drop zone are FC Lorient, although last season's Ligue 2 BKT winners were unfortunate to lose 2-1 at Girondins de Bordeaux. Rémi Oudin scored a brace for the hosts but Terem Moffi was only the width of the post away from a double of his own and Adrian Grbic had a late leveller ruled out for offside.

Elsewhere, RC Strasbourg Alsace won for the third time in five games, Habib Diallo giving them a 1-0 victory over RC Lens, while there were mid-table 1-1 draws between Montpellier Hérault SC and FC Nantes as well as FC Metz and OGC Nice, the latter of those leaving Raymond Domenech's Canaris just three points above Dijon, who occupy the relegation play-off spot.