Top news from France: our old favourite Steed Malbranque, having walked out on Saint-Etienne soon after joining them from Sunderland last summer, has landed on his feet.
He has returned to Lyon, where he played for four years at the start of his professional career. Jean-Michel Aulas, the club’s president, confirmed the deal to Le Journal du Dimanche. It is for only one year though, at 32, Steed could hardly expect more after the false start at Saint-Etienne. Salut! Sunderland remains an admirer and wishes him well.
Now to last night’s action, which saw PSG doing their best to confound those – virtually everyone in France – who assumed they’d walk Ligue 1 with all that Qatari gold to play with. Nil-nil at home to Bordeaux makes it three draws from the three opening games, leaving them in 11th place where many of us would dearly like them to stay.
Not since French Fancies saw the light of day has there seemed any cause to root for Bordeaux, a club that became a legitimate hate figure after its insulting treatment of Sunderland when we were hoping to buy Marouane Chamakh. Last night, I found myself checking the score every few minutes towards the end and willing Bordeaux to hang on or, better still, grab a winner on the break.
As for Chamakh, Bordeaux seem to have done us a favour by declaring us far too small a club for his talents. It would be an exaggeration to say he has set the Emirates on fire; a blink was sufficient to miss his one goal of last season. Of course, I will revise this view if Martin O’Neill feels there must be more to him than the evidence suggests and brings him to Sunderland after all.
Back in France, with PSG unconvincing, the Ligue 1 frontrunners are Marseille, who had such a bad run last season, on maximum nine points and Steed’s Lyon with Bordeaux, Toulouse and deeply unfashionable (ie northern) Valenciennes on seven.
Giroud apart, Montpellier seemed to have kept their title-winning squad together but this morning find themselves third bottom after a dismal start that makes PSG look like world-beaters after all.