This Saturday afternoon encounter saw newly promoted RC Lens take on Bordeaux in what promised to be an intriguing affair given the form of the two sides going into the game. Bordeaux went into the match unbeaten and having yet to concede a goal in Ligue 1 this season following consecutive clean sheets in their previous three matches, two of which they drew 0-0 either side of a 2-0 victory away at Angers. However, although they were yet to concede, they had struggled to score with just the two goals in their opening three games of the season. The way in which they played in the opening few games was not that of a team filled with confidence and attacking ability, but rather a team that had stumbled through matches and relied heavily on their defensive experience with the likes of Costil and Koscielny. By contrast, Lens had played some fantastic football over the first few games of their return to the top flight, losing to Nice on the opening day despite dominating, before beating champions PSG and fellow newcomers to the league Lorient.
In the end, it was Lens who were able to secure the three points, as after coming close in the first half but failing to find the back of the net, they broke the deadlock 2 minutes into the second period as Ganago pounced on a loose back pass before finishing into an empty net. Just over ten minutes later, things went from bad to worse for Bordeaux, who conceded a penalty courtesy of VAR, which also resulted in the dismissal of experienced centre defender Paul Baysse for a second yellow card. Kakuta slotted the penalty home for Lens who then went on to look comfortable right up until the final touch of the game when Kalu grabbed a consolation goal for the away side, with the match ending 2-1. On the balance of play, Lens thoroughly deserved to win the match, playing the better football, showing more urgency and creativity and having the best chances. Meanwhile, Bordeaux seemed devoid of ideas going forward and lacked concentration and intensity at the back, sloppily conceding possession and not taking enough care with their play.
Bordeaux set up in a 4-2-3-1 system that at times morphed into a 3-4-2-1 to match up against the home side. They struggled to play through the thirds and lacked someone who could hold up the play in the opposition half, which meant they were almost constantly on the back foot. Furthermore, aside from de Preville, they lacked any pace and ingenuity in the final third and rarely seemed to threaten the opposition goal. Their best opportunities came from set pieces, an area they had obviously worked on in training as several routines were used to free up space for a shot on goal. The introduction of Adli for the injured Toma Bašić added an extra level of creativity to deeper areas, and having gotten to half time at 0-0, they could have come out firing in the second half. Yet, instead they played at the same leisurely pace with which they played in the first half and were caught out by two goals in the opening 15 minutes that put the game to bed alongside the sending off. This was a disappointing display from the Girondins, albeit up against a quality Lens side, and they will be looking for a reaction in their next match where they play host to another tricky customer in OGC Nice.
- A1 – Very good, could play higher
- A2 – Strong potential to play higher
- B1 – Good, strong player at level
- B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
- C – Average for the level, rewatch
- D – Below average in this match
- Nationality: French
- Age: 20
- Date of birth: 29/07/2000
- Current Club: Bordeaux
- Career: PSG, Bordeaux
- Position: Attacking Midfield
- Secondary Position: Centre Midfield
- Preferred foot: Right
Yacine Adli came on in place of the injured Toma Bašić on the 26th minute, with the score at 0-0 as both teams had spent the opening quarter of the match feeling their way into the game. The young midfielder slotted into central midfield alongisde Otavio in a deeper role than what he is normally accustomed to and with his team on the back foot somewhat as Bordeaux had been struggling to retain possession or threaten from open play up to that point.
Therefore, Adli was tasked with providing some attacking impotus to the side from deeper positions, and this is exactly what he tried to do. He dropped deep regularly to receive the ball off the defence before turning and looking to drive up the pitch or find a forwards pass to a teammate, though he needed to be careful where he took on opposition players as he was tackled in a deep area before a cross was delivered that lead to the penalty from which Lens scored their second.
Generally, he was efficient and proactive with his passing game (91% pass completion and 2 key passes), finding balls in behind the defence, into wide areas or into the striker’s feet and although he was dispossessed on a few occasions, he did bring an extra creative edge to what was generally a blunt Bordeaux attack. The attack minded midfield player does not have the traditonal build associated with the type of player he is, as rather than being small, agile and tricky, he is instead more physical, standing at 6’1 and with a large frame that allows him to readily compete in duels.
This strength permitted Adli to retain possession even when under intense pressure, and he was able to use his body well to roll the defender or ride challenges when he was driving with the ball. He has quick feet and is able to be very creative with his passing range in midfield areas, although personally I believe he has more of an impact when deployed higher up the pitch rather than in the deeper role he was aksed to occupy in this match. To top off what was a decent performance by Adli, but otherwise a dismal display from Bordeaux, the 20 year old whipped in a dangerous set piece delivery that was headed home by fellow substiute Kalu with what was practically the last touch of the game prior to the full time whistle.
Defensively, Adli’s work rate is not that of a midfielder in a two man partnership, and he seems to prefer to save his energy for when his team have the ball. However, he did try to put his body about to win back possession and he showed good reading of the game to make a couple of interceptions in a game in which Bordeaux seemed outgunned at all times, especially following Baysse’s sending off. He has a tendency to be quite passive, but he did offer more in attack than anyone else on his team and, to his credit, battled away repeatedly in midfield duels as his team were on the back foot.
Overall, Adli had a positive impact after his earlier than expected introduction and he has a lot to offer for his team this season. Injuries meant that he missed out on the first couple of games this season and he is just getting back up to full fitness, and he may well be needed soon by his team, who have been relatively solid defensively but lack a cutting edge going forward.
- Nationality: French
- Age: 23
- Date of birth: 18/11/1996
- Current Club: Bordeaux
- Career: Reims, Bordeaux
- Position: Right Wing
- Secondary position: Left Wing / 10
- Preferred foot: Left
This was a difficult match for Oudin, who showed glimpses of quality amongst what was otherwise a muted display from him and his team. The left winger was not heavily involved in proceedings, and was forced into doing a lot of defensive duties due to Bordeaux’s inability to retain possession and Lens’ system which commits numbers to attacks. He was clever with his off the ball movement at times, and made a good run from a well worked set piece to find himself free at the back post, but he saw his well struck volley saved by the opposition keeper from close range. Oudin made some runs in behind during open play but failed to really impact his team in attacking phases, whilst he struggled when receiving the ball in pockets of space, seeming to lack the confidence to progress the ball forward.
On a couple of occasions, he received the ball in good areas out the edge of the final third with space in front of him but instead elected to negatively pass the ball backwards and relieve any pressure that Bordeaux were building up. He also saw a few of his passes go astray, with one particularly poor back pass to the keeper selling him very short and allowing Ganago to latch onto it and open the scoring. Furthermore, although his close control was to a decent standard, he lacked pace when in a foot race with his opponents and provided no real threat of getting in behind, unless by ghosting in undetected. The 23 year old’s final ball was to a good standard when he got the chance to deliver a cross, and he put some threatening balls into the area, one of which was from a set piece and looked as though it may cause all types of problems before eventually coming to nothing.
Defensively, Bordeaux changed their formation at different points throughout the match and as a result, for periods this game Oudin was playing as a wing back rather than an out and out winger. He lacks a yard or two of pace which can hinder his ability to track the run of his man, but he stuck to his defensive duties well and used his body to get between man and ball whilst showing good reading of the game to pick off one or two loose passes by the opposition. I have now watched Oudin on several occasions and he is yet to really impress me, although I do believe that he could be better suited to a wing back role than winger as it suits his work rate and defensive awareness, whilst at the current moment in time he lacks the pace and inventiveness to be an out and out winger.
Overall, this was a quiet display from the Frenchman, that was marred by an error that lead to his team falling behind. Having joined Bordeaux in January 2020 for a fee of around €10 million, he is yet to set the world alight in the South-West of France, but they will be hoping he can kick on this season and provide some much needed attacking impotus to a side that seems devoid of creativity at times.