There’s good news and bad news from France. Lyon Duchere, in contrast to some other teams, showed they are made of the right stuff with a resolute 0-0 draw away at third-placed Gueugnon. This has to be considered a good result, maintaining the four-point gap between the teams. However, La Duch have for now been knocked off top spot on goal difference by Marseille B, who delivered their expected rout of lowly (and hopefully half-cut) Beaune, winning 4-0. Marseille have a goal difference of +17, Lyon Duchere are on only +12, despite having conceded just 19 goals in 25 games. Will their lack of firepower up front – only 31 scored against 38 by Marseille – ultimately prove costly (as it has for some other teams)?
With five games left to play, the next round, on 26 April, sees Lyon Duchere at home to Dijon Football II (ie their reserves). Dijon lie 12th in the 16-team league. If I knew more about the possibility of relegation from the CFA2 divisions I might be able to suggest whether they have anything left to play for. Let’s assume they haven’t. Marseille are away to ASM Venissieux Minguettes, who surely get the prize for one of the best names in football. Doesn’t exactly conjure up images of a team comprising 11 Chopper Harris’ does it? On second thoughts maybe it does. They are in 8th spot, comfortably mid-table. So the odds favour wins for both Lyon Duchere and Marseilles – but will either slip up as the pressure builds?
Further trawling has unearthed the following information on the Lyon Duchere squad. Details are incomplete (not least as I’m not going to splash out to subscribe to the website service in question to get more info) so there’s a little improvisation where appropriate:
Akim Hassaine: France-born midfielder. With a record of 3 goals in 55 games for La Duch I think we’re talking here more Keith Jones than Colin Walsh.
Alexander Guruli: Forward from Georgia. Seems to have played for the Georgian under-21 side. But a record of 7 goals in 77 games smacks of Carl Leaburn rather than Super Clive.
Antoine Cerveau: France-born, listed as a forward but hasn’t played for the team this season. Sounds like an exciting youngster coming through or a long-term injury-prone shirker (Kevin Lisbie?).
Bassory Ouattara: Forward from Cote d’Ivoire. Bustling and fast, but seems to have made only one appearance so far this season, so can’t blame him for the lack of goals.
Brahim Mecheri: Local (Lyon-born) striker, record reads 17 goals in 51 appearances. Sounds like a regular and one goal every three games for a low-scoring team isn’t bad. But here too it seems more Chris Iwelumo/Luke Varney (both with one in three for us to date) than a Killer.
Daniel Jaccard: Goalkeeper, France-born. Seems to have made 24 appearances for Lyon Duchere, so he’s the incumbent. Defensive record speaks for itself; is he Deano in disguise?
Goran Jerkovic: Forward, born in France. Six games, no goals tells its own story. We are talking Izale McLeod.
Gregory Tissot: France-born defender. 60 games for Lyon Duchere, no goals as yet. He is clearly the rock of the team, holding together what is this season a redoubtable defence. The absence of goals means only one thing: he is their Richard Rufus, waiting to break his goalscoring duck in the most important game.
Josselin Vernus: Listed as French defender, but with no listed appearances he looks like a squad player.
Julien Perraudin: Another Lyon-born player he is listed as a forward. But it’s another unimpressive goals-per-game ratio, just 4 in 51. Let’s be kind and put him down as a winger, La Duch’s answer to Paddie Powell.
Koman Camara: Senegalese forward. No appearances or goals in the league as yet, but seems he played in two cup games and notched one strike. This has to be Chris Dickson itching to get his chance. When will the manager take the plunge and put him in?
Lewis Evoung: Dual nationality (France and Gabon). Midfielder, 28 appearances – but no goals. Hope we’re not talking Amdy Faye.
Olivier Laviolette: ‘Lavy’ as he is know to his team-mates is another local boy. Midfielder with 30 appearances and 1 goal to date.
Sabeur Cherif: French. Known as ‘The Law’, clearly another strong-tackling midfielder with the strength of a Lee Bowyer and the shooting boots of a Darren Pitcher. 42 games and no goals.
Sebastien Theveniaux: French midfielder, veteran of the team with 76 games for La Duch. Has managed 6 goals, so maybe we’re talking Colin Walsh here. Perhaps like him he’ll score when it really matters.
Wilfrid Nanou: Lyon-born midfielder. 86 games – and 3 goals. Obviously forms the key partnership in midfield with Theveniaux. Needs to get in the box more often, but I’m confident there’s another Mark Kinsella here in the making.
Our decision this season to shun the play-offs means that I will have the opportunity to put these theories to the test with Lyon Duchere’s last game of the season. There is, of course, the risk of being a little wide of the mark. It wouldn’t be the first time. Many moons ago I was in Dartmouth for new year with friends, one of whom arrived with some French colleagues. Emerging from the fug of the previous night’s excesses but still wrapped in sleeping bag in an upstairs bedroom I heard the doorbell go. After the initial greetings I heard “this is Henri and this is Michelle”. I called out to a friend to make a large mug of tea and ask Michelle to shed some clothing and bring it up to me. Well, you can guess the rest ....