Ligue 1 – Girondins de Bordeaux: decryption of an amorphous defense, the worst in the championship

With 50 goals conceded in 21 matches, Bordeaux has the second worst defense in the five major European leagues. It is a fact. Only Greuther Fürth’s German side in the Bundesliga have conceded more goals (51) so far. The statistics are enticing, and they also make it possible to annihilate any reflection. Is the context the same? Certainly not. The teams faced? Championship style? No more. « Science without conscience is only ruin of the soul« , wrote Rabelais. So you have to take the time to analyze and decipher to understand the Girondins de Bordeaux are there and why they have not still haven’t finished a match keeping a clean sheet.

France Bleu Gironde took this time and reviewed the 50 goals conceded this season by the Marine et Blanc. In an interview with Sud-Ouest, Gérard Lopez mentioned several reasons: individual shortcomings, set pieces, an inability to hold on when the team is dominated. What is it really ?

Individual errors or a dislocated team?

Among the reasons regularly given by Vladimir Petkovic to explain the defeats, there are individual errors – without ever naming anyone. At a press conference last week, he and winger Rémi Oudin agreed that the team had made progress since the start of the season. Yet individual mistakes do not fade away. For the moment, the Bosnian technician does not seem to have found the solution, nor the levers to close the breaches.

Every player on the pitch has a defensive role to play, from Hwang to Costil. Unfortunately, I feel like that’s what’s missing – Frédéric Roux, former Girondins de Bordeaux goalkeeper

Of the 4th day, with the avoidable penalty conceded by Koscielny against Nice, to Gregersen’s loss of the ball which allows Rennes 3-0 this weekend (21st day); communication and punctual deconcentration are always the two reasons for these blunders. If we take only the errors that lead directly to a goal, there are 11 (Nice, Lens, Saint-Étienne, Monaco, Strasbourg x3, Lille x2, Marseille, Rennes). 11 out of 50 goals are therefore directly attributable to blunders. The rest must be classified as errors of placement, marking, communication, or to be credited to an opponent who plays the shot well or who scores a sumptuous goal.

On this action, against Losc, Benjamin André is surprisingly free 25 meters from Costil's goal.
On this action, against Losc, Benjamin André is surprisingly free 25 meters from Costil’s goal.
Screenshot Ligue 1

These errors also prove that if the team played as a block, there would be a teammate to compensate. « Every player on the pitch has a defensive role to play, from Hwang to Costil. Unfortunately I feel like that’s what’s missing.“, regrets Frédéric Roux, former goalkeeper of the Girondins (2000-2006). This is never the case and that is why this argument is reductive. A statistic supports this and it relates to the pressure exerted by the Girondins. Inevitably, Bordeaux is one of the teams that presses the most in Ligue 1 because it suffers a lot. vain and fruitless pressing and, after Nantes, it is the team that manages the least to recover the ball after having harassed the ball carrier (28.4%).

Set pieces, a false problem

There too, Gérard Lopez points to a number of goals taken (14) from set pieces that are too high. To be put into perspective with the fact thata third of these goals are penalties (5) and that Benoît Costil – yet so effective in the exercise – has not stopped since mid-October 2020. On all other statistics (number of set pieces conceded, aerial duels lost, etc.) Bordeaux is in the average of Ligue 1. These phases seem to bring together all the shortcomings of Bordeaux: lack of concentration, individual error, lack of communication and finally the desire to win the duel. Let us remember the goal of Germain (Montpellier) at the first post, that of Tchouaméni (Monaco), or those of Laporte (Lorient), Ekitike (Reims), Nguette (Metz), or even Denayer (Lyon). « It works, plague Frédéric Roux. It feels like the players learn about the opposing tactics on the pitch and are easily caught off guard on positioning and marking.« 

It feels like the players are learning about the opposing tactics on the pitch – Frederic Roux

This problem is also linked to Girondins too often dominated – and the president of the Navy and White rightly underlined it – who end up cracking. During certain periods which can last from 10 to 20 minutes, the team defends by retreating and is under pressure. It is also the one that concedes the most actions that lead to a goal in Ligue 1 with four per match, i.e. twice the average in the championship. Inevitably, when a team is dominated, it tires and loses concentration on set pieces.

Costil in decline?

In the sights since his blunder which cost the defeat at home against OM, Benoît Costil is not going through the best period of his life. « It is paradoxical, it was nevertheless recalled to the French national team recently“, underlines Frédéric Roux. Even if he reaffirmed, with great dignity, that he would fight until the end for the club to save itself at the end of the season, he seems much more downcast than in past years. not be? In the calendar year 2021, it received 79 league goals in 40 matches, i.e. almost 2 per meeting. « Since the start of the season, he has gained more points than he has lost“, analyzed François Grenet, former side of the Girondins de Bordeaux and consultant France Bleu Gironde, after the defeat against OM.

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« He is often left behind by his defense« , points out the former goalkeeper of the Girondins de Bordeaux. The statistics prove it: Bordeaux is the team which has conceded the most shots in the championship at this stage of the championship (111 against 98 for the red lantern, ASSE) and so necessarily, Benoît Costil is the third goalkeeper to make the most saves in Ligue 1. A response was provided by management since Grégory Coupet was appointed goalkeeper coach on Monday evening. The former international goalkeeper of Olympique Lyonnais will have work to put Benoît Costil back in place, while his contract runs until next June.

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