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Lille beats Liverpool, Is Ligue 1 superior?

A few months ago, Liverpool and the EPL world was introduced to Cesar Delgado. While many of us knew before the Liverpool vs. Lyon that Delgado was one of the best substitutes in Ligue 1, the English media where wondering ‘where did this masked man come from.” Well, they found out soon enough.

And yesterday, Liverpool and the EPL were introduced to not only Lille, but star midfielder Eden Hazard as well. Hazard rifled a long free kick that passed by everyone on put Lille in the win column with a 1-0 victory.

During yesterday’s match, Lille were in control most of the time, with the exception of some bright spots for Liverpool, Lille piled on the pressure and the start and end of the game. They looked good on the offensive side of the ball. But when there were some defensive hiccups for Lille, goalkeeper Mickaël Landreau, who I personally think is making a statement for being considered for a spot on the French National Team, made one spectacular save after another.

In the other Europa League match, Marseille travelled to Benfica where they drew the Portugese side 1-1. Hatem Ben Arfa, who seems to be  on great terms with the team now, was the lone scorer for Marseille.

So, after Lyon’s impressive play against both Real Madrid and Liverpool, and Lille’s performance yesterday, is Ligue 1 starting to get more respect around the world?

When a Ligue 1 team defeats any team from the big three (EPL, La Liga or Serie A), it is always considered a ‘major upset’. But if you were to look at yesterday’s matchup, I would have to say that Lille had the better squad. Yes, Liverpool is known around the world because they are Liverpool, but their team really isn’t that great. That is why they are in the Europa League instead of the Champions League.

Lille, on the other hand, are one of the most underrated teams in Europe. From top to bottom, Lille has one of the best teams on paper. They are able to control the call both offensively and defensively. On offense, if top scorer Gervinho isn’t scoring, they can always rely on Pierre-Alain Frau, Yohan Cabaye or Eden Hazard. And as we saw in goal, Mickaël Landreau is simply amazing this year. Yes, you might call Lille the “Team of the Comeback Players”, with Frau and Landreau, but Lille are able to play an impressive style of football right now.

So, before people start talking about this being some sort of “upset”, just ask yourself….is Liverpool really this good?

Also, before you make that statement, you also might want to ask yourself….”do I know anything about Ligue 1?” If you answer ‘no’ to this question, then you should have the authority to determine if this was a major upset or not.


7 Responses

  1. Ligue 1 is particularly strong this year, and I think I repeat it often in the podcasts we’ve had.
    Big teams – Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille – are still in title contention and new teams – Auxerre, Lille, Montpellier – have joined the fray. Now I think it is definitely a question of teams getting better than of the big clubs getting worse. French soccer is overall improving.
    Why? Because salaries are under control, teams are not allowed to build up debt like they are in Spain or the UK, and there is stability within the clubs. Lille can take a few years to build a team and start getting results now. Aulas took over in 1989 and only started getting results in the early ’00s. All clubs, maybe with the exception of Marseille and Paris, are built with patience.
    Definitely an exciting year for L1 : 6 clubs in title contention, newcomers with great academies, more L1 players in the FNT… If only players did like Gourcuff and decided that L1 was worth it, we wouldn’t be celebrating Lyon’s feat but only another victory.

  2. Its about time that the world started to recognize French teams for their quality, previously, Serie A, La Liga and the Premiership only saw Ligue 1 as a feeding ground from which they could buy talented young players for cheap. In fact, the Ligue 1 teams are still proving unable to keep their most talented players but there are always more great talented players coming in and great management has put French clubs in European contention.

    Give credit to this French team and league. Bordeaux has been nothing short of amazing (Juventus, FC Bayern). Lyon has taken out a team that they ever could. (Liverpool, Real Madrid), plus Lille and Marseille and still competing strong in the Europa League.

    As a Ligue 1 fan, I’m very happy to see Ligue 1 teams performing well in the Europe.

  3. all you need to know is Ligue 1 is better than German league Ligue 1is in the top 4

  4. I think that Liverpool, who are currently 7th (assuming Villa win one of their 2 games in hand), being beaten by Lille who are 5th in Ligue 1 (if they win their game in hand) shows that there is a good depth in Ligue 1. I think that if you looked at the top 3/4 from each league, the EPL is very much superior, but the game gets interesting if you look at the progress of, say, the top 8 or 9 teams.

  5. Ligue 1 is definitely improving but no way has it come close to or even eclipsed the EPL in just one season. I’m just glad that they’re getting some more publicity though than in years past. It was always “Lyon win the league every year because the rest of the teams are so terrible but Lyon themselves are weak as well compared to the likes of La Liga, Serie A, and the EPL so they just get bounced whenever they make it into the knockout rounds of the CL.”

    Perhaps that’ll change now. Although it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Bordeaux after Chamakh, and most likely Gourcuff, leave in the summer. Lyon will still be there, as will Marseille (maybe not in the CL next year), but I’m not so sure some of the mid-table squads who are now making a push for the title, Montpellier and Auxerre, will be able to make the same sort of noise should they somehow secure a CL berth.



  7. I doubt Gourcuff will be leaving. He made his decision to stay at Bordeaux and signed a lengthy contract. He’s committed.

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