The day began with Lille striker Salomon Kalou confirming to the print edition of L’Equipe that he will leave the club at the end of the season. Arsenal had shown interest in January and the former Chelsea striker revealed that he turned down an opportunity to move to the Emirates during the winter transfer window.
Sunday in Ligue 1 finished a happy weekend for teams in the Rhone Valley, both Saint-Etienne and Lyon closed the gap on Lille despite the northern side gaining an excellent point down in the French Riviera.
The draw against Lille all but rules out any slim hopes that Monaco had of lifting Le Championnat this season. The gap stands at 10 points between them and Paris Saint-Germain and it will take a miracle for Claudio Ranieri’s side to stage a comeback.
In Sunday’s late game, Mounir Obbadi gave Monaco an early lead after just five minutes, but it was then the away side that took control of the match. Kalou had his hand in the equaliser, winning the ball deep in Monaco’s half. He found Ryan Mendes, he then slipped his pass across to Divock Origi and the young Belgian tucked his shot into the near corner.
The game petered out after the quick start, Monaco failed to cause the Lille defence any real problems and Kalou’s side defended excellently for the remainder of the game.
Kalou has 10 goals this season, although reports that he has played well are wide of the mark. Despite the goals, he has scored four from the penalty spot. The hat-trick against Ajaccio was more terrible defending than excellent play. He has been a disappointment for the Lille fans and his wage of over €2 million a year will be happily spent elsewhere next season.
Saint-Etienne started the day five points behind Lille in fourth place, a double from Mevlut Erding sandwiching Franck Tabanou’s goal helped Les Verts to a 3-1 win over 19th placed Sochaux.
Lyon struck early in the second half through Bafetimbi Gomis to see off Breton side Guingamp in the afternoon kick-off, that moves them clear of Marseille into fifth place, they are three points off Saint-Etienne and six points away from Lille. This weekend has perfectly set-up next week’s derby between Saint-Etienne and Lyon at the Stade Gerland. It is set to be a bit of a firecracker.
Lille host Guingamp on Sunday just before the derby, if they can get the job done it will be enjoyable to see at least one of their rivals drops points on Sunday night.