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Ligue 1 Matchday 6 Preview

US Boulogne CO  
  FC Girondins de Bordeaux


Boulogne have started off the season quite well. Since winning promoting, the team from the sleepy Nord-Pas-de-Calais town have done well, standing 8th in the table. While Boulogne’s schedule has been extremely easy so far this season (playing Auxerre, Valencienne, Grenoble and St. Etienne), the only game they have dropped has been against Rennes, and that was a 3-0 decision.

Bordeaux is coming off a great draw in the Champions League match on Tuesday against Juventus. After this win, Laurent Blanc said in a press conference that the same lineup that took the pitch against Juventus will look quite different to than the lineup that will go against Boulogne.

“Bordeaux has a group of 24 players selected by the coaching staff. With two games so close together, and even four for some (international games included), we need to provide an opportunity for some players to breathe and others to show what they can do,” said Blanc. According to Bordeaux newspaper Sud Ouest, there is a high possibility that Yoann Gourcuff, Marouand Chamakh, Wendel, Alou Darria and Jaroslav Plasil would be getting some rest.

Still, even with a number of good player possibly on the bench, Bordeaux should win this game. What will be interesting is to see how deep this Bordeaux team really is. If they can pull off an impressive win playing mostly B-team players, then they will more than likely just plow through Ligue 1 like they have done so far this season.

  Stade Rennais FC


Well, things aren’t going to get any easier for Grenoble. Even though they are at home, the lack of an offensive will hurt against a team that is still undefeated and sitting in 6th place in the table. So far, Grenoble’s has only produced two goals this season, both by forward Danijel Ljuboja.

Rennes has only allowed four goals this season, and look to continue their undefeated streak in Grenoble.

Honestly, there isn’t much more to say about this game except that Grenoble could possibly hope for a draw in this one. Otherwise, it looks like they will get their 6th defeat of the season.

       FC Lorient  
  AS Nancy Lorraine


After a strong game against Lyon last week, many are wondering if Lorient can take that positive energy and turn it into a win at home against Nancy. Lorient have had an up-and-down season, with both of their loses this season coming from the hands of two top notch teams (Lyon and Monaco). Still, Lorient sits 11th in the table and hope to take advantage of a Nancy team that has been on the skids lately.

Nancy, a team that started the season 2-0 with impressive wins against Valencienne (3-1) and Monaco (4-0), have since lost two and drew one. In their current slump, the team has allowed five goals while only scoring two. Their last match was a scoreless draw against a struggling Toulouse side.

But this is the story of Nancy. The first few games of the season, they always look like they can be a contender. But just a few week in, they seem to always fall back to earth and end up finishing mid-table. And the big question is if Lorient can show that they are the team that showed up against Lyon or not. This should actually be an exciting game if last week’s game is any indication.

      OGC Nice  
  AS Monaco FC

While the derby between Lens and Lille is getting all the attention this weekend, another derby is going on in the south as Nice and Monaco face off. Nice, which is located only eight miles away from Monaco, have been impressive looking on the pitch, but yet to turn that into success. After starting off with a win against St. Etienne and a draw with Rennes, Nice has been scoreless in their last three games, while allowing nine goals. Their last lost was to last place Auxerre, who had not scored a goal until their 2-0 victory over Nice.

If Nice plans on having more success, they need to have Loic Remy do his thing. Remy, who has looked impressive this season, has not been able to put the ball into the back of the next but once. If Nice play on moving up the table, the really need the 22-year old, who produced eleven goals in only 32 games last season, to start scoring.

On the other hand, Monaco has just come off a great win at home against Paris St-Germain. Both sides looked great in the match, and the game could have gone either way. Still, Monaco was able to net some late goals which secured them the victory. And since this win, they have also started some hype of possibly being in contention for a Europe League spot. Nene, Nimani and Chu Young Park seem to have hit their marks.

Still, Monaco have lost both of their road games this year, while only winning at home. Will the hostile atmosphere lead to another Monaco road collapse?

AS Saint-Etienne  
  AJ Auxerre


Both Auxerre and Saint-Etienne have looked horrible this year. Both cannot produce goals. Both allow a lot of goals as well. This is just not a very good matchup. The only thing positive is that once side might find their way out of the relegation zone. While, on the other hand, the other might move down to it. Therefore, this is an extremely important matchup for both teams, no matter how boring it might be.

FC Sochaux-Montbéliard  
  Valenciennes FC


Another match that will have mid-table implications will the that between Sochaux and Valencienne. Both teams have been playing about where most people expected them to be, 15th place for Valencienne and 13th place for Sochaux. A win by any team and a slip up by a team in front of them could lead to a substantial climb in the standings. Still, as or right now, both teams are trying to get out of the bottom half of the table.

American Charlie Davies is expected to start for Sochaux and can hopefully produce. Since scoring two goals in Sochaux’s first match against Auxerre, the American striker hasn’t seen the goal since, yet has had a number of chances. Davies is becoming a fan favorite, not only to the  faithful at Les Lionceaux, but also in the Ligue 1 community as well. Hopefully his successful play will help Americans become more aware of Ligue 1.

Still, this should be a tight matchup, and anything is quite possible.

Olympique de Marseille  
  Montpellier HSC

Last week, I said that Montpellier’s match against Lens would determine if the team is for real or not. I take that back. This week’s matchup against Marseille will determine if Montpellier is for real or not.

The small, quaint club of Montpellier, who have an atmosphere of a small family and run it as such, will take on the mega-super-huge-giants of French soccer, Marseille. This is a pure matchup of David and Goliath. Will Montpellier slay the mighty Marseille giant?

So far this season, Marseille have looked less than impressive. While they are still undefeated in Ligue 1 play, their game on Tuesday against AC Milan proved that they still have a lot of work to do in order to gel as a team. Their defense looked poor. Their attack looked unorganized. Yes, they have as great players and the do look impressive on the pitch, but as individuals and not as a team. I hate to use this old quote, but there is no “I” in team.

I want to see Marseille do well, I really do. But as of right now, Didier Deschamps isn’t getting the job done. Hopefully their game against AC Milan will be a wakeup call. And if they can pull off a victory against the third place Montpellier, they will find themselves right back into the thick of things….as if nothing happened.

But this is a must win game for Marseille. A draw doesn’t help them. Even Monpellier manager Rene Girard said that his team’s goal this season is to keep out of the relegation zone and that they are playing over their heads right now (not exactly the best managerial tactic to motivate your team against Marseille, I must admit).

Honestly, I don’t know much about Montpellier…and I think most Ligue 1 followers can say the same. But it should be interesting to watch the game, as for many of us this will be the first time we will see Montpellier.

I expect Marseille to win, and hopefully they can get their season on track.


One Response

  1. Watching the Nice-Monaco match, some of the fans started rushing the area where Nice Chairman Maurice Cohen was sitting. The riot police had to come out and everything. Interesting to see what will happen there.

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