After 7 wins in a row, Auxerre’s run was finally cut by PSG. After losing the first 3 league matches, it looked like it’s going to be a long and frustrating for the 1995/96 champions alongside Grenoble, but the run, which started in week 7, has brought the club’s name forward as a possible title contender.
A statement manager Jean Fernandez assertively denied before the match. “From experience, I know that things change very quickly in football. We’ve built up a positive dynamic, but you just need one or two players to lose form, one or two to get injured or suspended, and then you start down a slippery slope,” said the former Marseille manager.
And how true the statement turned out to be. Top scorer Ireneusz Jelen was missing from the match versus PSG and it showed with the side lacking a finishers instinct in front of the goal, even though the match itself was very evenly matched.
It will be seen if Auxerre will be fighting for the top spot this season, but the fact is that they were leading the standings. Last time that happened was 7 years ago, with the legendary Guy Roux in charge players like Djibril Cisse, Jean-Alain Boumsong and Philippe Mexes.
Fernandez’s choice of players is completely different with most key players near their 30’s, top scorer Jelen himself turning 29 in April, but it seems to work just as well. Fernandez is a create believer in team-spirit and with this being his 4th year in charge, the squad hasn’t changed much.
Fernandez has named Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille the title contenders, but only last year’s champions Bordeaux managed to win after their midweek European exploits.
With French clubs impressing in Europe, focus seems a bit off from the local league and it’s a perfect opportunity for clubs like Auxerre, Monaco and PSG to snatch the opportunity and maybe get themselves into the glamorous Champions League spotlights next season.