BORDEAUX THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
If you want a side that thinks outside the box, look no further than the Girondins de Bordeaux, who have scored the most goals outside the penalty area in any of Europe's top five leagues.
It's appropriate then that Bordeaux’s - and Europe's - top long-range marksman comes from afar too: South Korea international forward Hwang Ui-Jo, who at 27 is revelling in his first season on the Old Continent.
Hwang going the distance...
All three of the summer signing's goals have come from outside the box, and more are likely to arrive given he's still settling in.
"Hwang is a player who is proving more and more decisive as the games go on," Bordeaux boss Paulo Sousa told the Ligue 1 Show. "He has started to understand his position on the pitch and is communicating better and better with his teammates."
Having arrived without an interpreter, Hwang is using English to communicate with a dressing room that is showing plenty of patience with their new teammate.
"We knew he'd need some time to get used to the language, a new culture, many new things," explained club captain Laurent Koscielny. "I think that he has opened up with the squad in recent weeks and is enjoying himself off the pitch too. He's smiling. He speaks to us and that's very important for his adaptation. We have a good squad and we do our utmost to ensure he's in the best frame of mind to put in great performances."
One of those five-star displays came at Nantes last weekend, Hwang contributing a long-range goal and then chipping in with an assist. The Korean is beginning to show the full extent of his talent…
"His movement is great," enthused Sousa. "He's very good technically, with both feet. He's also able to pick up the ball between the lines, get his shots on target, make assists, and shoot… and his participation in our build-up play is very important for us."
Briand: 'He never stops'
When you couple those qualities with a hunger to do well for his new club, it is a potent mix.
"That's a little bit of the Asian mentality, and we love him for that because he never stops putting in effort," said Bordeaux's veteran striker Jimmy Briand. "When you're on the pitch and you give everything, you quickly win over your teammates. That's the case with him, so we want to help him, we want to help him score, because he's a forward, and I know that he really wants to score goals."