Week 16 review: Bordeaux blast into the top three
Bordeaux moved into the top three after a Josh Maja-powered 6-0 win over Nîmes, while OM beat Angers 2-0 to keep pace with PSG, who had Kylian Mbappé and Neymar to thank for keeping them five points clear at the top.
Momentum has been building at Bordeaux since Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa took the reins in March this year, and on Tuesday night his Girondins showed how much the side has improved in that time by scoring their biggest win in over a decade, punishing struggling Nîmes 6-0 on the south coast.
Anglo-Nigerian striker Josh Maja led the way, bagging a superbly taken maiden Ligue 1 Conforama hat-trick as Yacine Adli featured with three assists and Brazilian midfielder Ottavio got a brace of his own.
"It was a super performance, especially after the second goal. Before that, the team lacked vivacity. We weren't moving the ball quickly and we weren't getting forward. When we started playing forward from midfield, we really hurt our opponents," said Sousa, whose side are unbeaten in five matches (three wins) as they prepare for this weekend's trip to Marseille. "After the second goal, the team was more confident, stretched the game, played between the lines, changed pace, and produced some good final passes."
Mbappé stunner not enough for Tuchel
Faced with some intense pressing from Nantes, league leaders Paris Saint-Germain struggled in the first half of their home clash with Les Canaris, but a moment of magic from Kylian Mbappé, who struck with a crafty back-heel finish, set them on their way for a 2-0 win completed by Neymar's successful spot-kick.
Despite the positive result, coach Thomas Tuchel felt his side lacked cohesion and owed a lot to the prowess of 'keeper Keylor Navas: "We scored a great goal during our best 15 minutes at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, it was our only good 15 minutes because after that, we stopped playing as a team. I don't know why, whether we can't or whether it's just a question of confidence. Tonight we will remember the result and that, once again, it was Keylor Navas that saved us. We will analyse what happened tonight and keep working. I don't want to look for excuses, it's better to look for solutions. We won, but we need to improve and get our confidence back."
Five in a row for OM
The win keeps the capital club five points clear of nearest rivals OM, who had closed to within two points with a 2-0 win over Angers on Friday night. Morgan Sanson and Dimitri Payet (pen.) got the goals that clinched the resurgent giants' fifth league win in a row - a run unseen in Marseille for over five years.
"We deliberately gave Angers the ball and waited for mistakes from them in their build-up play. It worked. The first goal changed things. It was a great shot by Sanson, and he changed things for us," said OM boss André Villas-Boas, who looks to have got his squad to turn a corner after a difficult 2018-19 campaign. "It's good to have a squad that follows the coach, the technical staff, and which accepts the methods. If we can beat Bordeaux on Sunday, it'll allow us to put some distance between ourselves and the others, to give us some breathing space before the festivities."
Garcia struggles continue at OL
OL boss Rudi Garcia was up against LOSC - the club he took to the league and cup double back in 2011 - and came off second-best. Despite having Memphis Depay back in action, Les Gones couldn't break down the LOSC back-line and ended up cracking late on as Jonathan Ikoné capped a blistering one-touch passing move with a composed finish - despite some intense pressure from Rafael and Jason Denayer.
It was a welcome win for Christophe Galtier's side, who made it back-to-back victories for the first time this season and climbed to fourth. Meanwhile for OL, their slipping from seventh to tenth will be all the worse for its coinciding with bitter rivals Saint-Etienne's thumping 4-1 defeat of Nice.
Bouanga at the double, Brest batter Strasbourg
Denis Bouanga starred with a double, taking his season tally to seven as Nice crumbled and allowed Les Verts to climb to fifth with a performance coach Claude Puel described as "perfect". Sainté have lost just once in their last 13 matches in all competitions, but for Nice it was a sixth defeat in ten league matches and they dip to 14th with pressure mounting on coach Patrick Vieira.
In-form Brest shook off a winless month of November with a 5-0 thumping of Strasbourg, stopping Thierry Laurey's side's momentum as Cristian Battocchio scored the club's first L1 hat-trick in 29 years! Brest go seventh while Strasbourg drop two places to 15th.
Ben Yedder on top, Savanier among the goals
Former Toulouse striker Wissam Ben Yedder once again played a starring role at Le Stadium Municipal - this time for Monaco, scoring their first (to go top of the scoring chart with ten goals) and setting up a second for Gelson Martins to hand Le Téfécé a sixth-straight defeat, which sends them to the bottom of the table.
Meanwhile Rennes had Adrien Hunou's lone strike to thank for the 1-0 win in Metz that, coming on the back of their Week 15 win over Saint-Etienne, took Julien Stéphan's side seventh. They sit level on points with sixth-placed Montpellier, who saw midfielder Téji Savanier hit a spectacular first goal of the season in a dramatic 2-2 draw away to Dijon, for whom Englishman Stephy Mavididi struck to rescue a point.
Reims' trip to Amiens was postponed due to heavy fog and will be rescheduled by the LFP's Competitions Commission in due course.