By Paul Grant
Ligue 1’s opening day saw last season’s massive winners Olympique Marseille take a pretty bad fall to Caen losing 1-2. Equally, it saw Olympique Lyonnais(who will be facing Caen this Sunday) step right back into last season’s role: “match nul” (tie) against Monaco, and not “nul” but a no score, 0-0. But in some sense this is what makes OL a fantastic team to support. The Lyonnais are no Chelsea or Barcelona, which is to say tiresome winners: almost every match a guaranteed victory, which holds about as much excitement as canned hunting does. If we look at the pre-season friendlies we can get a pretty good sense of how this team plays: OL gave us two victories (OL 3 : Nottingham Forest 1; OL 3 : Servette de Genève 1), two ties (OL 1 : Milan AC 1; OL 2 : Celtic Glasgow 2), and two losses (Sporting Portugal 2 : OL 0; Juventus 2 : OL 1). All of which bodes well for those masochist supporters who love the ups and downs of victory and loss in sport. On the other hand it can’t feel too good for manager Claude Puel and owner Jean-Michel Aulas who are both loudly professing that they will take the title back this year. Here’s hoping they make a good run for it, in any case it is sure to be an interesting season, especially following the French debacle at the World Cup.
Now on to an almost entirely different note: the sartorial wizardry of rugby often casts shame upon the very workaday football kits with a few rare exceptions. For instance Sporting Lisbon and Juventus both have taken a queue from the rugby handbook of aesthetics. During the match against Juventus OL’s Cissokho got himself a red card, but should a red card ever be given for poor sartorial choices it would have to be for OL’s new third kit. If the away jersey is already peaking on the VU meter the third is in itself a bookable offense: caught somewhere between Prince’s Purple Rain and Paisley Park, this is conceivably the most righteously ugly third kit ever worn. Perhaps it is all really an offensive (in all senses of the term) move. Whatever it takes, I guess.