2013/14 Ligue 1 Matchday 1 Preview

Today's big question...will Lisandro's departure hurt Lyon?

Today’s big question…will Lisandro’s departure hurt Lyon?

Well, with the long awaited season upon us, it is time to pull out the jerseys, find those internet streams we haven’t used in the last few weeks, fire up the DVRs for the games we want to watch later and crack out the French-English dictionaries because Ligue 1 season is finally here. Gone are all of the preseason games that mean nothing, as well as the hype around only two teams. Now we are at the point where those “mega teams” need to prove themselves.

Of course, the transfer market this summer makes Ligue 1 a much different looking league than we had before. One of the newly promoted teams is vying for a Champions League spot. Some of the smaller teams have brought in really good talent. Other teams have lost a lot of their players in the summer, and questions remain on how they will perform this season.

So, with Matchday 1, what should we expect?
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Power Rankings for Matchday 2

Because real life gets in the way, it might be harder for me to do a “Team of the Week”. I wanted to do it, but real work must come first. Still, I was able to do the Ligue 1 Talk Power Rankings for this week, and this is what I have. Hopefully by the end of the week, I might have the team, but don’t count on it.

Power Rankings.
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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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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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Ligue 1 Talk’s “Power Breakdown”

For 20 years, I had worked in the field of political science as a statistician. During that time, I had to crunch numbers for every district on the face of the earth to try to predict voting trends. I created spreadsheets that had fields that were over 200 Excel pages long. So, why not apply some of that know-how to French football?

Each week, I will be doing an overview of the Ligue 1 week. Since I can thank Foxsoccer.tv for showing almost every match online, it gives me an opportunity to see all the matches, all the players, and give a fair assessment of play in each of those matches.

There are a few points the “Power Breakdown” will be covering. Some of them has to do with stats, some don’t.

First, I will be showing the “Goal of the Week”. This is just my personal choice of the best goal for that week. At the end of the season, we will have a “Goal of the Year”.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 1 Sunday Predictions

Spiderman on the bench as Stephane Ruffier starts for St. Etienne.

Sorry that I got this one up late, but time difference between the US and France is never that friendly. We only have two matches on the Ligue 1 schedule today, and here are my predictions for those matches.

Dijon vs. Rennes – Truly one of the David vs. Goliath matches of the week. Dijon is predicted to finish 20th almost everywhere.

Rennes, on the other hand, is expected to be fighting for one of the last European qualifying spots.

While Dijon remains an unknown for most people, Rennes isn’t exactly a known team either. One of the things that remains a big question mark today’s match is the maturity of the Rennes players. Knowing very well that he is working with a mostly inexperienced side, coach Frederic Antonetti has tried to address the problem, as is shown here on Stade Rennais Online’s English version. But still, even with the inexperience, Rennes have a well-balanced team and should be able to handle Dijon easily.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 1 Predictions

Could Kevin Gameiro score a hat-trick against his old team?

Finally, time to make the first predictions of the year. True, I might not be as accurate as I was at picking PSG games last year, but I will try to do my best and keep a running total to see how well, or crappy, I do. So here we go.

Ajaccio vs. Toulouse – Even with a few knocks to the team, Toulouse should be the better side today. Yes, traveling to Corsica might be something new, but I’m sure Toulouse can cope with the beautiful landscape. Still, a lot of time when teams are promoted from one league to another, they seem to play better ball in their first few matches. Look at Caen last year. But as far as this match, Toulouse has the players to control the tempo. Moussa Sissoko had a quiet season last year, let’s see if he can start this season on fire. Of course, Toulouse will miss the services of Daniel Braaten, Etienne Didot, Etienne Capoue and new arrival Emmanuel Riviere, but should be able to cope with the line up they have no. Imagine when all of them are healthy. Prediction: Toulouse 1-0.
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