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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2011-12 Ligue 1 Preview for 8th-6th.

With the list getting shorter, the previews will also get shorter before we get to the top team. So here are my predictions for 8th, 7th and 6th.

8th – Sochaux: When making this prediction, I am wondering if I might be putting Sochaux a little higher than they deserve to be. Yes, last year they were able to pull off a shocking 5th place finish in the Ligue 1 standings, which nobody saw coming. But if you look at the talent on their team, it isn’t a surprise. Yes, some of the players were passively observed in the past, but now we know their names by heart.

But looking at the summer, it seems as if Sochaux had a few blows. First of all, Jacques Faty left, which we all expected. Still, even with Faty’s departure, Sochaux should still be able to cope. He was injured during the last few matches of the season, but the team was still able to play some strong football without him.

In addition to Faty’s departure, Ideye Brown as also left the team for Dynamo Kyiv, where he has made an immediate impact, with four goals in two matches. Ideye was easily one of last year’s surprises, scoring 15 goals last season. Still, with Ideye’s departure, Václav Svěrkoš is returning from a loan deal and should be able to help Sochaux up front.
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Lille do the double, win Ligue 1 title. Sochaux to Europa League.

Lille OSC: 2010-11 Ligue 1 Champions.

Lille OSC: 2010-11 Ligue 1 Champions.

After last week’s big win against Sochaux, Lille, who has not won a Ligue 1 championship since 1954, only had to score one point in their last two matches in order to secure the title. And trying to gain that point in the Parc des Princes isn’t the easiest of tasks. Yet Lille were up to that task as they drew with Paris St. Germain 2-2 and win the Ligue 1 title.

Unlike their French Cup match, which was pretty lame to say the least, this one was a barn-burner which saw a number of close chances for both teams as well as a number of confrontations as well. Lille opened up the scoring just five minutes into the match when Ludovic Obraniak, who scored the only goal in the French Cup final, knocked one in, making the score 1-0. After that, Paris were able to take control of the game, with a number of opportunities coming close for the home side.

In the third minute of stoppage time in the first half, PSG were able  to finally net that goal, with the goal scorer being Guillaume Hoarau, leveling the match at 1-1.
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Lille one step closer to Ligue 1 title.

Clifford even closer to celebrating a Lille double.

Lille moved one step closer to the Ligue 1 title on Wednesday night as they defeated visiting Sochaux by a score of 1-0. While assuring that they did all but clinch the title, Marseille are still mathematically in the race. But it would take a Herculean effort, as well as two Lille defeats, for Marseille to repeat as champions.

Like many of Lille’s matches lately,they weren’t able to find the scoring touch early in the game. And while they were able to pressure the Sochaux defense, bad luck lead to the first half being scoreless.

A number of Lille players showed impressive play in the opening half, but none more than Gervinho. While he was having his way with the Sochaux defense, his opportunities were either hitting off the posts, or his passes would just take an unlucky bounce.

During the half time, the Lille supporters were able to take a glimpse at their new hardware, as Lille president Michel Seydoux walked around the stadium track with the Coupe de France raised in his hands.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 35 Preview – Upset in the making day?

There are only 20 days left until the end of the Ligue 1 season, and the standings are about as predictable as when all the teams had no point. A number of teams can still win the title. A number of teams can be relegated. And, mathematically, every team but Lens and Arles-Avignon are in the hunt to qualify for the last Europa League spot, which could be sixth place in the standings, depending on where PSG finishes (as Lille has already clinched at least a trip to the Europa League).

It seems like it was only yesterday when we were talking about the Lyon vs. Marseille match. In fact, it was yesterday. And now, just two days later, we are getting ready for more Ligue 1 action.

The week will start off with two Tuesday matches, which are being held on the separate day due to the scheduling conflict caused by the French Cup final.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 34 Preview: Are there some big games this weekend?

Going into this weekend’s Ligue 1 matches, everyone can see the one big match that will be looming over all other matches, which is Sunday night’s heavyweight match between Lyon and Marseille, now termed the Olympico.

But of course, there are a number of other matches that will be going on that will have just as much of an impact on what could happen in the Ligue 1 season as the big OL vs. OM match does. Therefore, lets take a brief look at the upcoming weekend.

Lille is the team that is current leading the league. Luckily for them, they will be playing Nancy on the road. Nancy, a team that many people expect (and, sadly, want) to be relegated to Ligue 2 this season. They will be fighting for the Ligue 1 lives against the championship front-runners. Unfortunately for Nancy, Lille have the second best road record in Ligue 1. True, they will be missing the services of Yohan Cabaye, but his absence shouldn’t hurt them against an opponent that they should easily defeat. And if Lille is able to grab a valuable three points while both OL and OM are slugging it out (which could end in a draw), they could truly make this a two-horse race for the Ligue 1 title.

In other matches, a number of teams vying for the final Europa League spots will be squaring off against one another.

One of those matches will be Lorient hosting Toulouse. Both teams are coming off positive wins. And while Toulouse’s 2-0 win against Lyon might look more impressive than Lorient’s come-from-behind victory at Lens, they are still coming off a high nonetheless. For Lorient, Kevin Gameiro, who was looking like he might have slowed down about a month ago, is showing that he is back and with full force. But what will hurt Gameiro is that Toulouse’s defense looks to be back as well.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 20 Preview – How will Lens perform today?

How much will the departure of Razak Boukari hurt Lens?

To be perfect honest, I hate doing match previews. I dislike doing research on Nancy vs. Arles. And if I do a review of all of the matches, that means that I have to do research on matches that really don’t matter. And even if there isn’t a storyline in a certain match up, I have to make one up.

So from this point on, instead of previewing all of the matches, I am just going to mention some things that you might want to look for in each matchday. This should make it easier, as well as more interesting. So here we go.

How will Lens perform today? – This might be the first time that we open this segment talking about Lens, but they have gone through a few changes in the last month. First, coach Jean-Guy Wallemme was replaced by Romanian László Bölöni. Second, Lens’ leading scorer, Abdoulrazak Boukari, was transferred to Rennes. Many will argue that these two changes might have hurt Lens more than helped. And Lens’ 5-1 loss to PSG in the French Cup my just be proof. They play against St. Etienne today, so we will see if they look any better than they did in their Cup match.
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Ligue 1′s Wish List for Winter Mercato Part II (Monaco to Valenciennes).

A Sessegnon move to St. Etienne the best option (Reuters)?

We are continuing our quick “needs list” from the other day with the rest of the teams, starting with Monaco.

Monaco – Easily, Monaco has to be one of the biggest upsets of the season. Yes, they do miss Nene, but they still should be a decent mid-table team. Still, one seriously has to wonder if the organization really thought that Daniel Niculae could provide Monaco with the same offensive success as Nene. Yes, he is a solid player, but really?

Anyway, Monaco seems to have some major problems with both their midfield and up front. Their midfield is sub par, though they do have a few players like Nampalys Mendy, who seems to have a bright future. Also, offensively, Chu Young Park really needs to find both some midfield and up front support, so that he isn’t the only one producing offensive chances. Therefore, finding some good, solid forwards and midfielders should be Monaco’s priority. If they don’t build their team now, they might lose some quality players. While Park has a contract extension until 2013, Ruffier’s contract expires in the summer.

Montpellier – During the off-season, many were wondering if the Costa-Montano tandem could be replaced by the Estrada-Giroud pair. And even with a few injuries this season, these two players have been able to work well together. True, they aren’t at the level of Costa-Montano, but they have the potential.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 18 Sunday Preview

Is Brandao REALLY the key to a Marseille win today?

At the start of this preview, let me just say that two of the matches have already been postponed. First the match between Lens and Caen, which was supposed to be played yesterday, has been pushed back yet again. Also the Lille vs. Nancy match has been pushed back as well. Therefore, Lille won’t have to opportunity to move a few point ahead of the rest of the competition at the end of the day.

But, of course, we do have two big match-ups that everyone will be watching.

Sochaux vs. Bordeaux – This will be a telling tale for both of these teams. Most people think that Sochaux are playing over their heads. Are they? They do have a good, young solid team and has played well together so far. But even with a good start to the season, Sochaux has fallen back a little bit, now in the bottom half of the table.

As for Bordeaux, most people don’t know what their “deal” is. Are they a European competition contender or our they simply a mid-table team that doesn’t have any hope in advancing? Therefore, a match on the road to a team that has a young spark to their game might just be what Bordeaux needs to move their season ahead.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 17 Saturday Preview: Could be a snoozer!

Could Pedretti's injury lead to even more woes at Auxerre?

During the mid-week, Ligue 1 teams had mixed results. At the Stade Velodrome, Marseille were able to knock off Chelsea by a score of 1-0, which could have actually been more for Marseille. The other two teams in the Champions League didn’t fare as well, as Lyon drew against Tel Aviv and Auxerre lost to Marseille.

So how will those teams do this weekend? Here is our Saturday Matchday 17 preview.

Brest vs. Montpellier – This might be the story of two teams heading in different directions. Last week, Brest weren’t the most impressive team against Paris St. Germain. On the other hand Montpellier looked great, even though it was in a losing effort.

While both teams have had decent showings this season, neither team have really shown that they have gelled. Both have decent scorers, but both have great defenses. This could easily be a 1-0 game, but for who?

Up front, I think that Brest have a little bit of an edge right now over Montpellier. While Montpellier’s Olivier Giroud has had a decent season, Nolan Roux always seems to find a way to slip by the defenders. Therefore, I’m going with Roux and Brest in a 1-0 win.
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