Ligue 1 Matchday 1 “Power Breakdown” Review.

Goal of the Week – Matchday 1

There were a number of great goals that were considered for the this award. Long-range goals from Toulouse’s Paulo Machado, Caen’s Gregory Proment and Auxerre’s Alain Traore were considered. But even with this stiff competition, Evian’s captain Olivier Sorlin’s volley off a deflected corner wins this weeks “Goal of the Week”.

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Champions League Preview: Can OM pull it off in Red Square?

Lucho is today's key for a Marseille victory in Moscow.

Unlike Auxerre, who already look destined to be heading to the Europa League, Marseille’s destiny is in their own hands. Today they will travel to Moscow to take on Spartak Moscow, a team that Marseille lost to in the first match of the group state at the Stade Velodrome by a 1-0 score.

Luckily for Marseille, their Ligue 1 form is starting to improve. Even with a sub par performance against Toulouse this weekend, Marseille are starting to climb their way back to the top of the table, and are only two points out of the lead.

But with that being said, there are a few problems that Marseille will be facing today. First, the absence of star striker Andre-Pierre Gignac. Since arriving in Marseille from Toulouse, Gignac has been very unimpressive wearing the OM jersey. And though he should be available for today’s match, L’Equipe said that Gignac preferred not to play because of a nagging hamstring injury.
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Bordeaux vs. Marseille – ’nuff said!

For two hours today, they won't get this 'chummy' (Foot365.fr)

Today is “The Game”! The most popular team versus the best team in Ligue 1. Basically, a new Clasico all in itself. And after the long winter break, we will see if Bordeaux can continue their dominance in Ligue 1, or if Marseille are finally on track to pull off a win at Stade Chaban Delmas.

This is the story of two very different teams. Bordeaux is the team that continues to dominate Ligue 1 with a tactical and accurate playing style. While many of their players are known around Ligue 1 circles, the casual watcher of football might not have heard of players like Benoit Tremoulinas, Marc Planus, Michael Ciani or Mathieu Chalme,which makes up the best defense in all of Ligue 1, only allowing 12 goals this season.

And while Bordeaux continues to win, they do it in a defensive way. Yes, they might have Yoann Gourcuff and Marouane Chamakh, who have combined for 11 of Bordeaux’s 32 goals this season. But the stellar play of their defense, along with France’s third keeper Cedric Carrasso, gives Les Girondins a lethal combination.
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Ligue 1 Fantasy Football Guide

I know there are many people out there who are English-speaking that try to play as many online fantasy football games as possible. Heck, I even play fantasy basketball from time to time, having no idea what I am doing. And with many websites, like Yahoo, offering French fantasy football, some fans need guidance on how the pick their starting line up for their team.

I have been involved with fantasy sports since 1988, when I played in a fantasy hockey league on an internet program called Q-Link, which was available for the Commodore 64. I have won my fair share of championships throughout the years. And, hopefully, this site can help you with your starting lineup if you are in a French football fantasy league, but have no idea who to start.

We will be doing this every week, and hopefully you will enjoy it!

And if you have a question about starting players, leave a comment and we can get back to you.

So, on to Matchday 15. Who to play and who not to play is the question. And to start off, I will give you my starters for the week.

But just a note before we start…make sure you do not start any Monaco or Montpellier players as that game has been postponed due to swine flu.
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Davies released, Lens for sale? L1 News 11/10/09.

martel

Is Martel selling Lens? He says no.

“I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has dealt with me in the Hospital Center and NRH for really putting in the time to help me get better as a person and as an athlete,” Davies said in a statement.

“I continue to improve every day, and I look forward to getting back on my feet and attacking rehabilitation.”

In other news, the struggling Ligue 1 team RC Lens said that they plan on adding investors to their team. Lens chairman Gervais Martel said that he is open to adding investors to his time, according to French sports newspaper L’Equipe. Even though he is open to the idea of investors, he has maintained that he will be a majority stockholder in the team.
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Marseille: Looking busy, yet doing nothing.

320px-UEFA_Champions_League_logo_2_svgI had a boss that said something to me that stuck in my head. One time, I was working, and working quite hard. He said I was going a great job, unlike someone else. Yet, this ’someone else’ always looked like they were doing their work. So I said to him “hey, that person works hard as well.” He responded by saying, “there are some people who look busy doing nothing.”

In the soccer world, that would have to be applied to Marseille.  While undefeated in Ligue 1 play, L’OM showed in last night’s match against AC Milan why many people, like myself, question this team as being the Ligue 1 preseason favorites.

There were a number of times during the game that I, along with many others i’m sure, said “Marseille is about to score.” Yet, all the chances but one didn’t materialize into anything. This is the story of L’OM.

This team has some serious questions that need to be answered if they plan on making a serious charge for the top spot in Ligue 1. Here are just a few observations from yesterday’s game.

Offensive leader of Marseille is…..?

One thing that I noticed during yesterday’s game was that Marseille’s attack came from all places. Usually I think that is a good thing…keep your opponent on their toes and keep them guessing all the time. But this team has yet to find that ‘sweet spot’ that every successful team needs in order to be successful.

There is always that one play that, if you follow a team, that you can see developing and you have that feeling that ’hey, we are getting ready to score.” That isn’t the case with Marseille.

Both Benoit Cheyrou and Mamadou Niang had good games. Cheyrou produced a number of chances on the left side and set peices while Niang looked good on both sides of the pitch. Yet there didn’t seem to be anyone else on the field that seemed to click with these players. These two  had to make most of the offensive plays themselves. Brandao also had an alright game, but just couldn’t control the ball as well as the other two.

Lucho….well…..uh?

Ok, to be fair, this was only Lucho Gonzalez’s second game for Marseille and to judge a player on two games would be unfair. But so far, I haven’t been impressed with his, well, predictable play.

I have to give him some respect, he isn’t a ball hog. He does a good job distributing the ball. But during last night’s match, it seemed that every time he passed the ball, it was to Brazilian striker Brandao. There was no surprise in his attack. He would come up the middle with the ball, and the second he came up to the penalty area, he passed the ball to Brandao on the left. AC Milan read this play well and were pretty much able to shut down both Lucho and Brandao.

Take your time…finish the play

Marseille are a fast-paced team, there is no doubt about that. Still, it seems like their fast pace sometimes leads to plays not being set up. They can come up the pitch with speed, yet when they get near the opponent’s goal, everything seems to break down. They don’t seem to settle down play and just develop their play. But AC Milan seemed to know this, and were ready for the breakdown of play close within their end. Even though Marseille spent a lot of time around the AC Milan goal, the Italian side didn’t seem to worried about Marseille scoring.

Don’t worry about goals, worry about winning the game!

The biggest talk around the French football community regarding Marseille is that they haven’t been able to score goals. And I am sure that the Marseille players, as well as Didier Deschamps and the other staff, are tired of hearing about it.

In yesterday’s game, it seemed that Marseille were determined to score goals. They were so determined that their back line was pushed up so much, that AC Milan had a number of scoring chances themselves. And it didn’t seem like Marseille were playing an offsides trap, but just being impatient in trying to move the ball forward.

Defensive players should be worried about playing a defensive game, not producing an offensive play on the other end. That is what your midfielders are for. Yet Marseille were caught off-guard by a number of breaks by AC Milan.

This type of play might help you in Ligue 1, but it won’t help in the Champions League. And, sooner or later, Ligue 1 teams will be able to figure this out as well.

Who is responsible?

I don’t want to blame Deschamps, but their play has been quite predictable so far this year. Is this his managing style or is it the individual players? The players don’t seem to have a good line of communication on the pitch, and this is something the manager needs to work on.

My boss  told me another quote that I remember. He said that if anything goes wrong at work, he was the only that had to be held responsible. And, as of right now, I would have to hold Deschamps responsible for their loss last night again AC Milan.

Lucho says he is fit to play for Marseille this weekend

1081047_mediumLucho Gonzalez, the 18 million Euro signing from Porto, said that he will make his debeut this weekend against Le Mans. The Argentian midfielder suffered a collarbone injury in August and has been unfit since. A lot of eyes will be looking to see if Lucho can produce as much as his former teammate at Porto, Lisandro Lopez, has done at Lyon so far this season.

Still, while Lucho said he is happy the Lisandro is playing well, he warns that one player doesn’t make a team. “I do not consider myself a player that can do it alone, but I feel that I can blend into the team quite nicely,” said Lucho.

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