Salut! Sunderland was happy to report recently that Steed Malbranque, so often impressive for Sunderland, had ended his break from football and won a one-year deal at Lyon, one of France’s top three and the club where he started out.
So we are now delighted to add that he drew star man appraisals in every report I have seen of Lyon’s 3_2 victory over Valenciennes on Saturday night. The win briefly took his team top of Ligue 1; Joey Barton’s new buddies at Marseille regained top slot by winning their fourth game out of four, at home to Rennes, next day.
Unfortunately, just when it looked as if Paris Saint-Germain’s fabulously rich Qatari owners were becoming seriously fed up with their dismal start to the season, they won, too, at Lille. They can now be expected to rise.
But back to Steed. “He hadn’t played competitive football for more than a year, and was inredible,” gushed L’Equipe. “He reminded us all what a good footballer can still do at 32. His ability to pierce defences with his first pass, to speed up play with one touch, his dribbling and his recovery work left Gerland (the Lyon stadium) in admiration and amazement.”
Bravo, Steed. But don’t anyone hold their breath for Joey Barton to complete his care-in-the-community rehab and steer Marseille to still greater heights. It is still early days in his 12-match ban and he will not be available until November.