Ligue 1 Matchday 2 Saturday Preview and Predictions

Can Brice Jovial sink Toulouse?

Finally, the Ligue 1 season is underway. After last week’s matches, we can at least get a little glimpse into what some of the teams might look like. Yes, one match into the season isn’t a predictor of anything. Even so, we were able to really get a look at what some of the teams might be throwing out there this season, and help us get an idea of where they are going.

Lorient vs. Bordeaux – This is easily the tale of two teams that went in different directions last week. Lorient pulled off the upset of Matchday 1 with a victory on the road against Paris St. Germain. Bordeaux, on the other hand, continued to struggle to find a scoring touch and lost to St. Etienne by a score of 2-1. But will the same teams show up this weekend?

As far as Lorient, they did play an impressive match. Throughout their game against PSG, Lorient had the home side on their toes. Aggressive play against what many considered a superior opponent was quite a shock. But is that what we should expect from Lorient this season, or was that just a flash in the pan? As for Bordeaux, creating any offensive threat continues to be their main problem. And after the club stated in L’Equipe this week that they would not seek any new players for the remainder of the summer transfer period, Bordeaux are pretty much stuck where they are.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 1 Sunday Predictions

Spiderman on the bench as Stephane Ruffier starts for St. Etienne.

Sorry that I got this one up late, but time difference between the US and France is never that friendly. We only have two matches on the Ligue 1 schedule today, and here are my predictions for those matches.

Dijon vs. Rennes – Truly one of the David vs. Goliath matches of the week. Dijon is predicted to finish 20th almost everywhere.

Rennes, on the other hand, is expected to be fighting for one of the last European qualifying spots.

While Dijon remains an unknown for most people, Rennes isn’t exactly a known team either. One of the things that remains a big question mark today’s match is the maturity of the Rennes players. Knowing very well that he is working with a mostly inexperienced side, coach Frederic Antonetti has tried to address the problem, as is shown here on Stade Rennais Online’s English version. But still, even with the inexperience, Rennes have a well-balanced team and should be able to handle Dijon easily.
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2011-12 Ligue 1 Preview: 20th to 15th place.

With the Ligue 1 season just days away from starting, and with much of the transfer garbage behind us, we can now actually examine how the Ligue 1 season could possibly play out. Two years ago we saw an influx of players into Marseille and Lyon which changed the faces of their teams. This year, a number of teams will look quite different. Luckily for French football, the net gains seemed to have outweighed the net losses.

In this series of articles, I will be looking at my predictions for teams that I think will finish 20th to 15th place. As the days count down, I will move up the ladder, with my eventually Ligue 1 winner saved for last. So, here we go.

20th – Dijon: Every year, there is always one team that is promoted that actually surprises us and perform better than expected. Last year it was Brest. Could Dijon be one of those teams that people are underestimating?

Like Arles-Avignon last year, Dijon is bringing in a bunch of players that haven’t played with each other before. But, of course, this could be the standard for Ligue 1 this year. But unlike other teams, the transfers into Dijon fail to impress, much like Arles-Avignon. Yes, there are a few good players coming in, like Abdoulaye Meite of Marseille fame. But will bringing in some of these older players really make Dijon a better team? I fail to see that being the case.
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Ligue 1 & 2 teams begin preseason, Clermont defeats Monaco.

Dijon defeats Metz in their first preseason match.

After the nightmare that is the French entry into the World Cup, we can finally start to look toward the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 seasons.

The preseason started at the start of the month, as Valenciennes defeated Ligue 2 side Reims by a score of 3-1. Reims finished 2nd in the Championnat National which saw them automatically promoted to Ligue 2.

While Reims played with one squad during the entire match, Valenciennes split their team into a first half and second half team. The Valenciennes goals came from seldom used players Seid Khiter, Nam Tae-Hee and Gael Danic. Danic is an on and off player for Valenciennes for the last two years, while Tae-Hee is a 19-year old South Korean international who shows a lot of promise (though he has hardly played for the national team). The Reims’ goal was scored by Julien Toudic, who is on loan to Reims by SM Caen.

On July 3rd, RC Lens didn’t have the start they were looking for, as they lost to Belgian First Division side R. Charleroi S.C. by a score of 2-1. Midfielder Sébastien Roudet was the lone goal scorer for Lens. While some of the traditional starters for Lens were out on the pitch, like Yohan Demont and Kevin Monnet-Paquet, it seems like Jean-Guy Wallemme also wanted to test some of his younger talent as well. David Pollet, the Belgian U-21, who scored 16 goals with Paris FC in the Championnat National got the start at striker for RC Lens.
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