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Jeu du Jour Week 14: Coupet breaks down

If we've convinced you of nothing else over the last thirteen weeks, it's that the top spot in Ligue 1 is something of a poisoned chalice. So it proved once again this week when Auxerre, form team of the moment and leaders after seven consecutive victories, were dislodged from first place by Paris Saint Germain.

A tight match saw the team from the capital rise to the challenge of beating AJA by matching them tackle for tackle and shot for shot at the Parc des Princes. With little to choose between them, it was PSG who took what was to be a decisive lead in the 67th minute when Jérémy Clément nicely headed in a cross from Brazilian defender Ceará.

The match remained close right to the very end but it was PSG that claimed all three points. One other notable incident from the match was the terrible injury suffered by PSG's 37-year-old keeper Grégory Coupet. He broke a bone in his ankle while running for the ball as it went off for a corner, caused, it seems, by his studs getting caught in the turf. Coupet fell awkwardly and in doing so snapped a bone in his lower-left leg – a scene which was gruesome enough to prevent us from giving you the gory details of the aftermath. Needless to say everyone in the world of French football and beyond wishes the keeper a speedy recovery from such a horrific incident.

That defeat for Auxerre allowed Bordeaux to return to the top again after they got their first win in three against Nancy on Sunday.

On a wet night, Bordeaux made light work of the home side who had little to offer in response to goals from Fernando, Wendel and Yoan Gouffran. Wendel's goal stood out amongst the three as the Brazilian finished off a nice move with a lovely lob over Gennaro Bracigliano in the Nancy goal.

So with Auxerre dropping to third, the champions find themselves back on top as Nancy drop into the bottom five. The team from Tomblaine have finished in the bottom half of the table for three of the last four seasons and could find themselves flirting with relegation this time around if they can't improve their consistency.

Lyon continue to hang onto Bordeaux's coat tails by the skin of their teeth after their 1-1 draw at home to Rennes. Lyon have failed to beat the visitors at the Stade de Gerland over the last few years, but Rennes themselves have been in poor form of late and could have been seen as an easy three points for the former champions.

As it is, Rennes took the lead after 14 minutes when Asamoah Gyan scored his eighth goal of the season. Lyon took a while to reply to that and had to make do with entertaining the 35, 978 crowd with some entertaining football along with Rennes, but the equaliser finally arrived three minutes before half time when Lisandro Lopez scored direct from a free kick to level the scores.

As the second half progressed, the chances of either side finding a winner receded although a late chance for both teams nearly changed all that in the dying minutes. Bafetimbi Gomis saw his effort pushed onto the bar by Rennes' 17-year-old second-choice keeper Abdoulaye Diallo with only a few minutes remaining, and with that the game ended in a draw for both sides.

Rennes' coach Frédéric Antonetti didn't travel with the team to Lyon having contracted the H1N1 virus, and indeed Swine Flu continues to have an impact on the top flight in France. This week's match between Monaco and Montpellier was cancelled when three of the Montpellier squad picked up the virus, causing the match to be postponed until a later date.

Montpellier remain fifth in the table for now, though, after Valenciennes (6th) lost 4-0 away to Lille. VA's first defeat in six looked rather unlikely as both teams laboured for much of the first half, but Pierre-Alain Frau broke the deadlock three minutes before the interval to give the home side the lead.

After the break, Ivorian striker Gervinho popped up with a brace to snuff out any hopes Valenciennes had of gaining even a point before Yohan Cabaye deservedly got on the scoresheet from the penalty spot just before the end of the game.

A good win, then, for Lille but they've still not reached mid-table yet. Toulouse have, however, after their 1-0 win at home to Boulogne which leaves them 10th in the table while Boulogne's miserable run without a win since August 22nd continues.

Grenoble remain ever hopeful of catching them – albeit one point at a time – after gaining their third successive draw away to Lorient on Saturday. The match ended 2-2 and reflected well on the bottom side given their opponents had climbed to fourth in recent weeks. In fact Grenoble were only seconds away from gaining their first win of the season when Kévin Gameiro made use of a goalkeeping error two minutes into stoppage time to salvage the draw. Agonising stuff for Grenoble, but a few small signs of recovery are definitely there.

Elsewhere, Nice had their run of four straight wins curtailed in a 1-0 defeat at Sochaux despite dominating for much of the match. Marseille, meanwhile, slipped up again with a 1-0 defeat of their own away to reigning Ligue 2 champions Lens. The winning goal came in the 93rd minute from Brazilian substitute Eduardo and will be a sucker punch for Didier Deschamps' side after a gruelling 1-1 draw against Milan last week.

Marseille still have their game in hand yet to play, but on current form you wonder if they'll get any use from it. They're down to eighth now and desperately need to get a win away to Nice next weekend.

Finally, the Battle of the Basement last weekend saw Saint Etienne and Le Mans play out a 1-1 draw which sees the latter go up a place from 19th to 18th. Les Verts stay one place above the relegation zone on 14 points.

STOP PRESS... PSG earned a convincing 5-2 win at Boulogne last night, scoring four goals in nine second-half minutes having gone 1-0 down just before the interval. The win sees PSG rise to seventh in the table while Boulogne stay second from bottom.

And that's about it for another Jeu du Jour. Full results and standings can be picked up here. For now though, it's à bientôt...

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