Ligue 1 Predictions for 5th, 4th, 3rd.

5 – St. Etienne: Many people out there are saying ASSE will have a great season, but the jury is very much still out on them.

Of course, there is much discussion about the change of the team over the summer. The big names departing are Dimitri Payet to Lille, Blaise Matuidi to PSG, Emmanuel Riviere to Toulouse and Christophe Landrin to Arles-Avignon (which kind of surprises me). But even though some of these players are gone, there replacements should be able to prove themselves on this stage as well.

The biggest signing for ASSE has to be goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier from Monaco. Does this mean that Jermanie Janot’s retirement is closer than we think? Easily, both of these players know how to play goal, and are some of the best goalkeepers in Ligue 1. But even so, both of them have different playing styles. Janot is more or an acrobat, while Ruffier is stellar at positioning. It will be interesting to see how coach Christophe Galtier juggles the goaltending roles.
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Ligue 1 Talk live on UStream now.

Hi everyone. I am doing the test show for the live Ligue 1 Talk right now. Please come and visit at the address below:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ligue-1-talk

Any questions, comments or whatever, you can add on either this post of send them to @frenchsoccer at Twitter. Like I said, this is just a test show, mostly to deal with technical issues and stuff like that.

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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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?
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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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Mevlut Erding to Newcastle?

I enjoy the fact that this picture doesn't exactly suit the occasion...

After the news broke that Kevin Gameiro had signed for PSG, speculation was rife over the future of Mevlut Erding, who had a disappointing 2010-11 (hitting the net only 9 times in 34 appearances) and plays a similar role to the former Lorient man.

Newcastle, who have been linked to seemingly every notable Ligue 1 player in the last few weeks, have thus far failed in their pursuits of France-based attackers, having been turned down by Gameiro and Gervinho in favor of other moves. However, all this may change quite soon, as Erding, whose failure to maintain his prolific Ligue 1 strike rate has made him increasingly unpopular with PSG fans, will most likely not be an asset new PSG owners the Qatar Investment Authority want to maintain.

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Kevin Gameiro to PSG: Why it’s so Important for Ligue 1

At 2:30 PM (CET) on June 12th, 2011, the official website of Paris Saint-Germain FC announced that Kevin Gameiro had signed a four year deal. Outside sources claim that the fee was 11 million euros with additional incentives possibly worth 15 million. This marked the end of the transfer saga of one of Ligue 1′s brightest stars, having lodged 56 goals and 19 assists in his last three seasons and scoring/creating a goal every 133 minutes this season. Gameiro had been heavily sought after by several clubs, including Valencia, Newcastle, Villareal, and Sevilla in addition to PSG. The diminutive striker had nearly transferred to Valencia in January, agreeing to terms with the club, before Lorient noticed that Valencia hadn’t actually made an offer…oops! Gameiro stayed the second half of the season and came in second in the Ligue 1 scoring charts for the second year running.

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