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.

2011-12 Ligue 1 Predictions: 14th through 9th place.

Now time to continue our Ligue 1 preview for teams that I predict will finish 9th to 14th place. Here we go.

14 – Nancy: Yes, for years and years, everyone talks about how Nancy should be relegated. They aren’t in the most exciting market in France. They might be located in the middle of nowhere. But still, they have been able to stay in France’s top flight during years in which relegation seemed certain.

Going into this year, one could easily put Nancy in the relegation zone yet again. As far as the transfer market, Nancy didn’t really do anything. In fact, they lost Julien Feret and Alfred N’Diaye, which will hurt a little. But as far as transfers coming in, Nancy mostly went with younger players that the jury is still out on. They were able to retain Alexandre Cuvillier from loan, but that was about it.

But there was one big pick up for Nancy, and that is coach Jean Fernandez. After leaving Auxerre, it was a safe bet around Ligue 1 circles that Fernandez was going to go to Bordeaux, a team in which he played for two-year. Instead, his move to Nancy was both a shock and a head-scratcher in football circles. Does he know something that we don’t? Nevertheless, he has always had the eye to find some stunning talent and turn them into superstars. Is that what he is going to do at Nancy?

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.

Ligue 1 Matchday 18 Saturday Preview

Can young gun Youssef El-Arabi pull Caen from the Ligue 1 cellar?

Well, another week of Ligue 1 action, and finally the top five favorites for the Ligue 1 title are first through fifth. And, of course, three of those teams will play on Sunday, with the big Marseille vs. Lyon match looming.

So, lets dive right into the previews for Saturday’s matches.

Lens vs. Caen – Yes, a match that will basically mean absolutely nothing. The winner “might” move out of the relegation zone, while the loser, of course, will stay in the relegation zone. This is a sad fact considering many people had higher hopes for these teams, at least finishing at mid-table.

One interesting thing regarding this match is that Vedran Runje is expected to be part of the Lens team on Saturday. After a clash with Lens supporters after the teams 3-0 loss to Lorient on the road, Runje was said to have been punished by Gervais Martel regarding the incident. But, it seems like being suspended from playing isn’t part of the punishment. Still, it will be interesting to see how the crowd at Lens, who are always amongst the most vocal in Ligue 1, will react if Runje gets the start, which is expected.

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.

Ligue 1 Matchday 16 Saturday Preview: Wake up call for some teams.

Lloris will need to have a big day against Montpellier for OL to win.

Last week in Ligue 1, we had a number of evenly matched teams playing one another. This week, it is a different story. Instead, we have some really good and stiff competitions. Some team will be able to show if they have what is take to stay at the top of the Ligue 1 table. Some will show if they are really a cinderella story, and have just been messing with us the last 15 weeks.

Arles-Avignon vs. AS Nancy Lorraine – if Brest isn’t going to be in the relegation zone this year, who is? Of course, we already know that Arles-Avignon will be down there. But Nancy makes a good case for demotion as well.

So far this year, Nancy hasn’t had any consistency. They have quality players like Youssouf Hadji, Marama Vahirua and Paul Alo’o Efoulou who haven’t produced. Goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano, who suffered a finger injury not too long ago, seems to have been replaced by Damien Gregorini. Again, that isn’t helping the team. Basically, they really don’t have anything going for them.

The only thing they have going for them this week is that they are playing Arles-Avignon, who are even worse than they  are. During the off-season, there was a lot of talk about Arles-Avignon bringing in a lot of new players from around the world. Most of them are average at best in the leagues they came from. And if the team is basically “new”, how can the team create chemistry amongst the players? Arles was a disaster from the start.

Prediction: Nancy wins 3-1.

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.

May 29th News: Costa to Valencia?.

Costa going to Valencia?

Spanish side Valencia has expressed interest in signing Montpellier attacking midfielder Alberto Costa. Montpellier chairman Louis Nicollin says that he is not interested in losing Costa, but if the price is right, he would consider it. Nicollin seems to be interested in no less that 8 million Euros, which would bring a lot to a team that only has a budget of 25 million Euros. Still, Nicollin says that Costa is committed to the team, after recently signing a 3-year contract with Montpellier HSC.

Yesterday, I wrote an article saying that Lorient might be a team that suffers most from the upcoming transfer season. In that article, I also stated that Sylvain Marchal might be the only decent player left on the team. Well, that might also not happen as St. Etienne are looking to grab up three Lorient players.

According to L’Equipe, ASSE is in talks with Lorient on acquiring the services of defender Jeremy Morel and midfielder Morgan Amalfitano. The departure of these players, along with what has happened, and what is being talked about as well, could leave Christian Gourcuff’s side with a lot less talent than they had in their ‘less-than-impressive’ season in 2009-10.

Captain and defender Sylvain Marchel is expected to join ASSE as well, according to

Ligue 1 Matchday 27 : a leader change?

Montpellier and Aït-Fana face their biggest challenge of '10

Undoubtedly the big game of the weekend will be the one that pins Bordeaux against Montpellier, the leader playing host to their follower on Sunday night in a high-stakes game. Bordeaux has slowed down in league play since the beginning of 2010, which has given Montpellier, Lille, Lyon and Marseille the chance to get closer. The Girondins and Montpellier are tied at the top of the table with 51 points, and Lyon follows closely with 49 points. We could therefore have a leader change, even if it is unlikely. Also, bear in mind that Bordeaux still has two games to play, which skews the reading of the table and what we can take from it (I’ve touched on this issue here).

Montpellier has a so-so record against bigger clubs, beating Lyon, Marseille (once) and Lille , losing to Bordeaux and Marseille (once). This game will be their real litmus test, and will provide answers as to whether they can run for champion, or whether they need to refocus and “settle” for a Champion’s League spot. (more…)

Matchday 25 Saturday previews

As I said in the Toulouse preview, this is going to be a pretty boring week in Ligue 1, on paper that is. For some reason, whenever I say that it is going to be a boring week, it ends up being a week of upsets and far from boring. So lets look at today’s matchups.

AS Saint-Etienne  
  Montpellier Hérault SC

Montpellier looks to continue their unbelievable winning ways as they travel up the A7 to play the struggling St. Etienne. These are two teams with very different seasons. Montpellier was expected to be fighting for their lives by keeping out of the relegation zone while Les Verts were expected to be, well, midtable. And, as many of you probably know, Montpellier is nowhere near the relegation zone and St. Etienne is hovering around the it.


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