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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French Cup “Team of the Round” for Round of 64.

Every week in many competitions, there is usually a “Team of the Week”. And starting this weekend with the Ligue 1 matches, we will be doing a “Ligue 1 Team of the Week”. And since French Cup action just concluded, we would like to do a Round of 64 Team as well. Of course, with so many teams playing this past weekend, one can easily argue for a number of players. Still, here is Ligue 1 Talk’s “Team of the Round of 64″.
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“Top 7″ Ligue 1 summer transfers, so far.

Moussa Sow gives Rudy Garcia and Lille an extra offensive dimension.

Fourteen matches into the Ligue 1 season and we are starting to finally figure out which “new players” are making an impact on their new teams.

At the end of the summer transfer window, a lot of big name players were moving left and right. Andre-Pierre Gignac and Loic Remy to Marseille along with Yoann Gourcuff and Jimmy Briand to Lyon were just a the biggest of the Ligue 1 moves. Still, there were smaller moves, like Anthony Le Tallec to Auxerre, that were just as important to their respective clubs.

And while these names were the ones that got all of the media attention, they haven’t exactly panned out like most people expected. Both Gignac and Gourcuff could be considered disappointments so far this season. Loic Remy had the health issues. And Jimmy Briand has just been really bland. He has played well in some matches, and not in others. Basically, there really isn’t anything to write about those players. Hopefully, by the end of the season, that will change.

So who are they players that have truly made an impact since their transfer to another team? I am going to pick my top seven and list them below. Of course, there are many players that have made an impact with their teams so far, but these are just my top seven. So here we go.
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Montpellier in 1st place…no joke!

The Big Guy can smile, he's in 1st place now.

Going into this evening, nobody had any idea who would be leading the Ligue 1 table. Of course, there were many decent candidates that had their chances going into tonight’s matches.

But for at least the next 24 hours, Montpellier are going to be leading the Ligue 1 table.

While it looked like their match with Nice would end in a draw, Marco Estrada threaded a cross between two Nice defenders which found the head of Olivier Giroud inside the box, giving Montpellier the 1-o win on the road at the ever-hostile Stade de Ray.

Of course, outspoken Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin didn’t waste any time in his response to what this meant to the club.

“This is historic! Fabulous! We will be first in L1 for at least 24 hours. I went immediately to thank the players. This will not last, but what fun. I hope we will finish the season in the top ten,” Nicollin said, stating that he team earned the hard-fought win as well.
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Is the EPL or Ligue 1 the best move for Loic Remy?

According to L’Equipe in France, Nice striker Loic Remy will be making his decision on where he will be spending his footballing career.

While we have heard rumors from a number of teams in the last few months, it now looks like a transfer to the British Isles are in the cards for the on-and-off French international striker.

In the last few days, there was talk about him moving to a number of Ligue 1 teams. First in the news was talk about him moving to Bordeaux. In fact, Remy said as late as last week that he would prefer a move to Bordeaux over other teams that were mentioned at the time. In addition to Bordeaux, there was also talk that he might go back Lyon, where he started off as a youth player at the age of 11.

Rennes has also been considered as a possible new home for Remy as well, being a possible replacement for Jimmy Briand or if Asamoah Gyan leaves for another team.
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Mercato 2010 – Auxerre preview

One of the biggest surprises of the 2009-10 season had to be the surge of AJ Auxerre. Starting the season, Auxerre started at the bottom of the table with no points and no goals. Not until Week 5, with a 2-0 win over Nice, did Auxerre find their grove. And when the season finally ended, Auxerre finally found themselves in 3rd place, which qualifies them for a playoff spot to get into the Champions League.

While Auxerre did have an impressive season, they didn’t look impressive getting there. Some might even say that Auxerre is the purest example of a “team being lucky”. Even so, they are now in the  top of Ligue 1 and need to do what they can to stay there.

The biggest problem with Auxerre last year was scoring. And with the likelihood of Ireneusz Jelen leaving the team this summer (some reports have him going to Marseille for 3 million Euros), Auxerre has no other scoring option. Their second leading scorer last year was right-back Cedric Hengbart.
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Can Montpellier bounce back against Monaco?

Week after week, everyone expects Montpellier to fall flat on their face and start moving down the standings. Coach Rene Girard even said at the start of the season that his team’s goal was to avoid relegation, and that they would eventually move down the standings. Even team boss, the colorful Louis Nicollin, expected his team to have a decent, but not great, year. Still, with 30 games already in the books, Montpellier look to be poised to not only avoid relegation (which is now mathematically impossible), but to actually play in European competition as well.

Last week, Montpellier got a wake up call from Lille, another team looking to make a charge for one of the three Champions League positions. With a returning Gervinho (and for those of you who put money on Niang or Nene to win the scoring title after Gervinho’s injury, all I have to say is ’not so fast’), Lille dominated the southern French side with a 4-1 victory. Pure and simple, Montpellier were outplayed during the entire match. Lille dominated in possession, quality chances on goal, basically everything. Still, Lille seems to be a team that, if they can keep together, be destined to be the next Lyon or Bordeaux.

But back to Montpellier. They lost. They were dominated. But does this mean anything? Even the mighty Bordeaux loses to St. Etienne, so anything is possible in Ligue 1. Still, Montpellier play today against Monaco, a team which is one of the ‘hotest-coldest’ teams in Ligue 1. One string of good matches and they look like they can challenge for the top five. Another few weeks, and they look destined for the midtable. And with only eight matches left to play in this season, Monaco’s season looks to be heading toward the latter.

So what should we look for in today’s game?
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Montpellier HSC: Hold your heads high!

Despite Jussie's goal, Montpellier were the dominate side.

“Montpellier were better than us. Winning 1-0 away is a good result but we didn’t deserve it. We won despite playing mediocre football. Sometimes there are evenings like that and some of the individual performances of my players were well below their real level. A draw would have been a fair result,” said Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc after the Montpellier vs. Bordeaux match.

And he is right! Montpellier deserved the win.

Going into this game, many wondered if Montpellier would be able to keep up with the champions. Bordeaux won their last three games allowing no goals in those games. On top of that, Marouane Chamakh continued with his stellar play. And in addition to that, Yoann Gourcuff was named French Football Player of the Year and Blanc was named Manager of the Year.
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