Hazard warning. Lille are it

The battle for supremacy in France is taking some twists and turns.  Here you go Lille, your turn.  Here's IBWM's very own Katie Boyle, Mr. John Dobson.

Nancy 2-0 Valenciennes

PSG 2-1 Caen

Rennes 2-1 Brest

St Etienne 1-1 Auxerre

Sochaux 2-0 Lorient

Toulouse 0-1 Marseille

Nice 0-1 Montpellier

Arles 2-4 Bordeaux

Lille 2-1 Monaco

Lens 1-3 Lyon

Yet another new leader in Ligue 1 after the 14th round of fixtures. St Etienne, Toulouse, Rennes and Brest have all topped the standings in recent weeks, but as they’ve been tripping up over unlikely looking objects, Lille have been in explosive form and their third straight win sends them top. It’s hardly a secure first place now as two points cover the top eight in what remains a league that’s tighter than Roy Castle’s butt cheeks when he blew a top C on that trumpet. Eden Hazard continues to impress and his cheeky little flick late in the first half teed up Pierre-Alain Frau for a 20-yard speculator that squirmed beneath Stéphane Ruffier for the opener in last weekend’s game against Monaco. Ten minutes into the second half, a free-kick was floated into the Lille box and got a helpful flick on off a defender, which took it into the path of Adriano who met it with a well-timed overhead kick, Hugo Sanchez style, for the equaliser. You can’t keep Hazard out of the game though and he was the provider again, playing a neat one-two down the right before cutting the ball back for Ludovic Obraniak to hit a low drive from fifteen yards for the winner. Lille hit the front, though coach Rudi Garcia was quick to play down any title talk, while Monaco remain out of the bottom three on goal difference alone.

Montpellier are up to second after notching their seventh win of the season, more than any other side. They don’t draw too many though, hence them not having made a break for the border. They needed just the one goal to beat Nice, it came late on, a wonderful swirling cross from the left found Olivier Giroud at the far post, and he headed home. PSG beat Caen to send the Normans into the drop zone while maintaining their own third place. A good start has given way to some shocking form and it’s now four straight losses for Caen. Guillaume Hoarau converted Siaka Tiene’s pinpoint cross for the opener five minutes from half time and, five minutes after it, the lead had been doubled when Mevlut Erdinc pulled down a long through ball brilliantly – think Dennis Bergkamp in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina. Many people – well, your current correspondent – would have been happy with the control, but Erdinc then took it round the keeper and slotted it into an empty net. And when he scores, PSG win and so they did again despite Youssef El-Arabi’s late goal, a fierce effort into the top corner from ten yards. That’s his tenth of the season and he leads the way despite Caen’s lowly league position.

Rennes are level on points with PSG on 23, a point back from the leaders, after beating erstwhile leaders Brest who slip to sixth, one of a clutch of clubs on 22. Jires Ekoko put Rennes ahead late in the first half with a superb solo effort. He nicked the ball in midfield, strode forward and curled in a ripper across the keeper and inside the side netting at the back post. A lovely quick counter-attack set up Jerome Leroy for the second, which all but sealed the match. Some quick passing freed the veteran midfielder who rifled in a beauty from fully 25 yards. Brest did get one back, Bruno Gougi with a last-minute penalty after Nolan Roux was tripped in the box.

Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon are the other three on 22 points and all three won as they begin to put early season woes behind them and mount the assault we all suspected was going to come at some point. Neither were particularly impressive. Andre Ayew gave OM the win over Toulouse with a bullet header three minutes from time while his team-mate André-Pierre Gignac endured a difficult evening on his first trip back to TFC since leaving them in the summer. Bordeaux were behind to Arles midway through the first half through Camel Meriem who volleyed in from the edge of the box, quickest to react to a loose header. But Arles imploded when Fabien Laurenti was dismissed for handling on the line, preventing a certain Bordeaux goal. Anthony Modeste converted the penalty and Yoan Gouffran tapped in from a couple of feet after Modeste’s cross was fumbled into his path. After the break, Gouffran returned the favour for Modeste’s second and his hat-trick was complete a few minutes from time, found by a neat cut-back and shooting through a crowd scene. Hameur Bouazza ensured Arles had the last word with a good finish from an angle, but they’d been well beaten and remain rooted to the bottom.

Lyon left it late against Lens who led at half-time through Kanga Akale who was played in by the Lyon defence to fire home the opener. Eventually, Lyon did get back on terms after a quickly taken free-kick was worked for Bafetimbi Gomis to score from a tight-ish angle. Gomis then gave Lyon the lead, heading in from Yoann Gourcuff’s cross and Lisandro Lopez – quiet so far this season – wrapped it up in the last minute with a thunderous shot off the underside of the bar. The relief on the face of the embattled coach Claude Puel was obvious.

St Etienne and Auxerre shared the spoils as Jean-Pacal Mignot’s looping first half header was cancelled out by Loic Perrin’s second-half tap in for Les Verts. Two 2-0 home wins wrap this week’s action up, Nancy and Sochaux both getting the results. Andre Luiz headed Nancy in front against Valenciennes and Marama Vahirua got the second late on with a superb free-kick. Modibo Maiga headed Sochaux in front at home to Lorient as he got on the end of a superb passing move that took them from defence to attack in the space of a few seconds. Into the second half and, after a change of referee, Sochaux went on another raid down the right, the final ball finding Ideye Brown free on the left and he tapped in to seal it.

Three big games next week with Marseille at home to second placed Montpellier, leaders Lille travelling to fast rising Bordeaux and Lyon taking on PSG at the Gerland in the late Sunday game. Lens, Caen and Monaco are all desperate for points and they’re away at Brest, home to Sochaux and at home to Nice respectively. It promises to be a big weekend in every respect, so in true Ligue 1 fashion, they’ll probably all draw and nothing will change.

Brest v Lens

Lorient v Rennes

Marseille v Montpellier

Monaco v Nice

Nancy v St Etienne

Valenciennes v Arles

Bordeaux v Lille

Auxerre v Toulouse

Caen v Sochaux

Lyon v PSG

John is part of the backbone of IBWM and you can follow him on Twitter @Euroballs