Ligue 1 Daily – Lille starting to reap what they Sow

The openness of the league thus far is an attraction for neutrals, with just two points separating the top eight sides. Sunday’s win over AS Monaco saw Lille as the latest team to sit at the top of the table and despite the indifferent starts from Marseille and Lyon, it is hard to argue against LOSC being deserved leaders. They are proving difficult to beat, most notably because they are the league’s highest scorers.

In Gervinho and Moussa Sow they possess an attacking force that has netted 15 times between them already. Just behind them wanders the mercurial talent that is Eden Hazard. Already tipped as one of the golden generation of Belgian football – as well as a move to one of Europe’s elite clubs – Hazard’s vision and dribbling ability has been key to Lille’s attack-minded approach. Yet unsurprisingly, it is Sow that is catching the eye after notching nine goals in 13 games.

The Senegalese striker is a fine example of football’s late bloomer. At 24 years of age and just three league goals last season, LOSC fans could have been forgiven if apathy greeted the man brought in to replace Robert Vittek – who had been impressive in the World Cup with Slovakia. Yet Sow – who joined on a free from Stade Rennais in the summer – is repaying the faith shown in him by coach Rudi Garcia consistently.

Speaking to Ligue 1’s official website, Sow acknowledges that a loan spell during his time at Rennes prepared him for first-team football. He also gives an indication that he needs encouragement from his manager in order to get the best out of him. He said: “The time spent at Sedan did me the world of good. That is where I learned to work hard and play a lot of matches. When I got back to Rennes, I really wanted to show what I could do. I wanted to prove to the coach that I had what it took to stay at Rennes and do some amazing things, and that is what happened. I had excellent preparation and [former Rennes coach] Guy Lacombe really believed in me.”

Reflecting on his decision to move in the summer, he added: “My primary desire was to stay, but that is how football is. We could not reach an agreement with Stade Rennais. I do not regret my choice. I am a Lille player now and I came here because Lille often play in the Europa League and often finish high up in the league.”

The top of the table is sure to be redecorated yet again in the next round of action, as this weekend sees Lille travel to Bordeaux, Lyon host Paris Saint Germain and champions Marseille face Montpellier, who are currently second.

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