Gus Poyet secured all three points in his first game in charge of Bordeaux, as Malcom’s controversial tumble in the penalty area helped Les Girondins to a 3-1 victory over Lyon.
The Uruguayan manager resigned from his role at Chinese outfit Shanghai Shenhua last year, despite guiding the side through the earlier rounds of the eventual triumph in the Chinese FA Cup. Poyet has also had stints at Brighton and Sunderland, where he guided the Black Cats to the League Cup final in 2014.
But he is faced with a different challenge altogether at the helm of the Ligue 1 strugglers. Jocelyn Gourvennec’s sacking came in the wake of a 2-0 defeat to Caen, which was followed by the release of club captain Jeremy Toulalan. The veteran Frenchman was reportedly disillusioned with the casual attitude the young Brazilians in the squad had after the limp performance at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.
Amongst this group filmed in the aftermath of the defeat that sealed Gourvennec’s fate, Malcom can be seen joking around with his partner. Despite the Brazilian starlet clearly possessing bundles of talent, which has seen the likes of Tottenham and Arsenal attempt to secure his services in this transfer window, his attitude does leave something to be desired.
An example of this came this weekend, when a theatrical fall inside the penalty area convinced the referee to hand Bordeaux a penalty – which Malcom then cooly converted to hand his side a two goal cushion.
Despite ex-Real Madrid striker Mariano pulling a goal back for the visitors, Gaetan Laborde’s spot kick after Anthony Lopes’ foul wrapped up the three points for Poyet’s side.
Bordeaux have now recorded two wins in a row, with an impressive 1-0 away victory at Claudio Ranieri’s high-flying Nantes side propelling Poyet’s new team further up the table, and five points clear of the drop zone.
Another team entering form at the best possible side is Metz, who still sit rock-bottom of France’s top flight.
The underdogs have only lost one in their last five league matches, and the upturn in the team’s fortunes culminated in a 2-1 home win over Nice this weekend.
A brace from Nolan Roux, either side of Mario Balotelli’s follow-up to a missed penalty, sealed a crucial three points for Metz, who now move within seven points of safety. But the challenge of remaining in Ligue 1 still appears a tall order, especially for a side who lost 11 out of their first 12 games this campaign.
However, stranger things have happened in football.
Despite Toulouse’s victory this weekend, they are still undoubtably in real danger of relegation, and if Metz can continue their hot streak of form they could condemn Mickael Debeve’s side to 20th place.
Perhaps from there, the only way for Metz is up.
Elsewhere, Edinson Cavani finally broke Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goalscoring record for Paris Saint-Germain, as his early goal set the Parisians on the right track in a 4-0 demolition of Montpellier. The Uruguayan then teed up Neymar for the fourth, and the two superstars appeared to put their rumoured tenuous relationship behind them while celebrating. If the two can continue to fire on all cylinders, then Unai Emery’s side are guaranteed to resist the advances of Lyon, Monaco and Marseille and lift the Ligue 1 trophy at the end of the season.