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Ligue 1

Ligue 1 Talking Points: Referee controversy and trouble at Bordeaux

It still seems bizarre to write that perhaps the biggest talking point from the Ligue 1 action this weekend is focused around a referee kicking out at a player. The men-in-the-middle are tasked with upholding the laws of the game, not flaunting them casually in front of watching millions.

Paris Saint Germain vs Nantes was supposed to be a game that would further demonstrate the title credentials of Unai Emery’s side, and Angel di Maria poking home in the 12th minute put the Parisians firmly on their way to another three points closer to regaining the Ligue 1 trophy. But at full time, the headlines were all about Tony Chapron, and his incredulous reaction to a genuinely accidental shove from Nantes’ Diego Carlos.

The seemingly inconsequential coming together between referee and player looked set to just end in an apology to Chapron at full time, but instead the match official has now been officially suspended from his duties. It’s the first time that a referee has been embroiled in controversy for such an extreme reason – normally the man with the whistle may award a penalty for a dive, or dish out a caution where it isn’t needed. But never will they flash a red card after kicking out at a player with his eyes fully on the action, and not what was immediately in front of him.

Let’s hope there’s no way back into the beautiful game for Chapron, there’s no place for what he did in modern football.

Elsewhere in France, it looks like Jocelyn Gourvennec’s time at Bordeaux is rapidly running out. After picking up a win at the weekend, his side fell to a 2-0 home defeat yesterday to Caen. Paul Baysse also saw red late on, before the visitors scored twice around the 90 minute mark to steal all three points.

With five defeats in the last six, Gourvennec’s side are entering a rough patch of form at the worst possible time. Bordeaux have a four point gap between them and the relegation zone, and with Lille and Saint-Etienne also registering wins recently, Bordeaux are in real danger of moving only one way – and that’s down the league table.

The future of Brazilian wonderkid Malcom is also something that will be uncertain until the end of January, at the very least. Arsenal’s Chilean superstair Alexis Sanchez looks set to move to Manchester in the winter window, leaving the Gunners free to look for a replacement.

Malcom, who has impressed at Bordeaux so far this campaign, looks on paper like the perfect signing for Arsene Wenger. He possesses bundles of trickery and lightning pace, which is guaranteed to make him a nightmare for Premier League defenders. An unpredictable end product makes the potential switch a risky one, but Bordeaux will do well to retain the player’s services beyond the end of January. This will be a transfer to keep a close eye on, as it could very well determine whether Bordeaux remain in Ligue 1, or would do the unthinkable, and drop into France’s second tier for next season.

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