Marco Bizot, Brest's flying Dutchman

Marco Bizot, Brest's flying Dutchman

Publish on 03/16 at 13:51 - G. BOXALL


The second-best defence in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, Stade Brestois 29 welcomed back their Dutch goalkeeper Marco Bizot last Sunday against Le Havre AC (1-0). His prowess has been a major factor in the Finisterians' dream season.

Stade Brestois 29 have their goalkeeper back. Although his absence from the last two games before Sunday's 1-1 draw with Le Havre AC, when he was shown a red card for a late gesture at Clermont, has not really penalised the Bretons, Marco Bizot remains the undisputed number one. Against Marseille (1-0) and then Strasbourg (3-0), his deputy Grégoire Coudert performed perfectly in the interim. But since his arrival in the summer of 2021, the Brest keeper has been the tall Dutchman (1.94m) who ousted Gautier Larsonneur, the local boy and darling of the Stade Francis-Le Blé.

In just over two and a half years, Bizot had only missed one league match, against Reims in October 2022, for "personal reasons". At the age of 32, having also worn the shirts of Genk (Belgium), Groningen and AZ Alkmaar (Netherlands), he has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in Ligue 1 Uber Eats. "When I arrived in France, I wanted to raise my game. The level in the Netherlands isn't as good. I wanted to develop by playing against better teams and better players," he told Ouest-France in September 2022.

Never going missing from a game

A gamble that paid off for the imposing goalkeeper, even if results were sluggish at the start of his Brest adventure. "When your team loses, you look for a scapegoat and it's often the keeper. But we've always kept faith with him because he never drops below a certain level, he's always consistent. He's never missed a game," Julien Lachuer, currently Eric Roy's assistant when he was still goalkeeping coach, told Ouest-France in March 2022.

He even seems to be getting better with age, having managed seven clean sheets in his first season in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, eight in 2022/23 and already ten in 22 games played this season. All of which has contributed greatly to the Pirates' solidity. Adding Grégoire Coudert's performances to his own, Stade Brestois now have five clean sheets in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, their first since August-October 2010 (8).

On several occasions, his saves have turned the tie in the right direction, as in the 2-1 win over Reims and the 1-0 victory over Metz, and he has been rewarded with a contract extension that now binds him to Brest until June 2026. Further proof of his growing influence is the fact that he has saved every one of the 17 shots on target he has faced since his last goal against Strasbourg on 7 December, his longest run of saves in the top flight. "We're lucky to be able to count on a very good goalkeeper, who is stable and always at the same level. It's very reassuring for me and for the team in general," Eric Roy enthused after the win in Lorraine.

'Efficiency' over 'attractiveness' 

Runners-up to Paris Saint-Germain in the standings, the Ty Zef have conceded just 18 goals this season, one less than the Parisians. Only Nice have done better (17), and it's a mystery why Bizot's name isn't mentioned more often by league observers. "Marco is a reliable, calm guy who knows his job. He has a very sober, pragmatic style. He's more interested in making an effective move than a beautiful one," analysed current Stade Brestois goalkeeping coach Christophe Revel in Le Télégramme in December, offering the beginnings of an explanation.

In any case, exuberance is not part of the Dutchman's software. He even describes himself as a rather solitary person in private. "It's true that I like to keep to myself. I'm not the loudest speaker. I like to observe, drink my coffee in my corner, in peace and quiet", he said in an interview with Le Télégramme in early February. Marco Bizot prefers to express himself on the pitch, and he does it damn well.

Bizot and Stade Brestois will face Lille OSC in Sunday's early kick-off, hoping to keep up their positive momentum in Ligue 1 Uber Eats as the second-placed side behind PSG.

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