Ligue 1 Matchday 18: What did we learn?

Ligue 1...watch...and learn! (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Another week of Ligue 1 action gone, and it is only a one day break until we have our last matches of 2010, starting with Lorient against Montpellier, which should be really interesting. So, what did we learn in Matchday 18?

1. Nene is the best player in Ligue 1 – Yes, PSG did draw against Monaco, which really seems like a loss to most PSG supporters, but the play of Nene was simply stellar! He has an amazingly accurate shot, as well as being able to nail goals at long-range. It just seems like whatever he touches turns into gold.

But still, even with Nene playing well, PSG seems to be playing better as a collective group. Except for the 10 or so seconds of collapse during their match against Monaco, where Stephane Sessegnon went down to injury and the PSG players lost concentration, they looked great in their match. The only question still seems to be the goalkeeping, and if Edel is their man. Even with that being said, Nene is easily making a statement for being the Ligue 1 Player of the Year. And should we really be surprised? It seems that everyone forgot that Nene was one of the leading scorers last year. And with scoring 14 goals last year, he will easily eclipse that this year, as he is only one-off that total at 13. Could he score 30 this year? We shall see.

2. Snow and football should start mixing – I know that the snow is bad, but maybe some of these Ligue 1 teams should start investing in snow equipment. Lille, Lens, Valenciennes and other cities in the north should “assume” that some time during the Ligue 1 season, there will be snow.

Listen, I just saw the Metrodome in Minneapolis collapse, which required the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL to move tonight’s game to the University of Minnesota’s TFC Bank Stadium, which hasn’t been used in months. Within five days, they removed all the snow from the stadium, which was about two feet all around. In addition, they had to power up everything. They needed hot water through the pipes, need to turn on all the electricity, and do everything to get to stadium operational for tonight’s match. And, trust me, Minnesota has a lot more snow problems than Lille.

If the Ligue 1 teams got some snow removal equipment, removed the snow before the match and then again at half time (which should be more than sufficient), then they should be able to play these matches.

Basically, suck it up!

3. Two forwards at Toulouse actually works – For a while now, many Toulouse supporters have been asking for Alain Casanova to play two forwards up front. His constant refusal to do that led to many wondering if Andre-Pierre Gignac’s performance last year was slipping because they would only play one forward.

Well, Casanova decided to play both Yanis Tafer and Federico Santander up front, and it worked. Toulouse were able to beat Lorient 3-0. Not only was the Lorient defense required to check the two forwards, but there was more room for midfielders like Paulo Machado to work. And guess what, Machado had a goal.

Now with Soren Larsen available for Toulouse, Casanova should start thinking of doing this more often. Because, honestly, having Daniel Congre as one of our leading scorers wasn’t looking so good.

4. Time to reeducate Ligue 1 officials? – During a few of matches this weekend, there were some questionable calls by the officials. Some will tell you they were the right call while others will beg to differ.

In the PSG match, Stephane Sessegnon went down to injury. Instead of blowing the whistle, referee Lionel Jaffredo continued play. This lead to the second, and game tying, goal for Monaco. In this case, Jaffredo should have blown the whistle and play should have been stopped. Jaffredo was purely at fault here, but the PSG players should know that they should always play until the whistle blows. Therefore, it is PSG’s fault for allowing the goal.

At Bordeaux, Jaroslav Plasil went down to injury late in the match. At first, there was no problem. He went to the sideline, was patched up, and then waited to rejoin the game. And waited…and waited. It was nearly three whole minutes after he was ready to rejoin the match until referee Tony Chapron let Plasil rejoin. During that time, there was enough stoppages in play where Plasil could have rejoined. Instead, Chapron kept him on the sideline. Eventually, Plasil decided to rejoin the match himself, after waiting on the sidelines for nearly two minutes, and Chapron yellow-carded him. Again, one must question why Chapron kept Plasil on the sideline, when he could have easily returned to play.

Finally, in the “big” game, two of Marseille’s goals were “questionable”. The first Marseille goal, which ended up being disallowed, was called for offsides. And while Loic Remy wasn’t directly involved with the Andre-Pierre Gignac shot, he was purely  “gaining an advantage by being in that position” he was purely NOT “gaining an advantage by being in the offsides position” (from the FIFA “Laws of the Game”, page 31), as he was was not obstructing Hugo Lloris’ chance of seeing the Gignac shot. Therefore, it was the right wrong call. (Editor’s note: Forgive me on the mistake, because Fox Soccer TV decided to cancel the match at the last minute, I wasn’t able to see a replay until just now. Therefore, my mind is changed).

During the second goal (which was actually their only goal), a Benoit Cheyrou shot was deflected by Mathieu Valbuena. Many Lyon supporters in this case were wondering if Valbuena was offsides. Again, a number of replays showed that he was actually onsides, and again, the correct call was made. Therefore, unlike Chapron and Jaffredo, referee assistant Nicholas Pottier made the right wrong call.

5. All is not well in Lorient – Last week, there was some talk about Kevin Gameiro staying at Lorient. But after this week’s loss to Toulouse, and coach Christian Gourcuff criticizing Gameiro’s play during the match (which Gameiro has now made public), it seems as if a winter transfer out of Lorient is imminent. Speculations are starting to swirl around about which teams might pick up the rising star. Arsenal and Bordeaux seem to be the front-runners, though a number of teams have been mentioned. Liverpool, Newcastle….uh, no.

Still, even with the talk of a transfer, Gameiro continues to say that he will play just as hard for Lorient no matter what his transfer status is.

6. Montpellier continues to be the classic “under-achievers” – Another week of Montpellier football and another week where they outplayed their opponents and were not able to get anything more than a point out of the match. Montpellier did a good job defending Auxerre’s banged-up offense, but were not able to create opportunities of their own. And whereas Montpellier started to look like they are playing good “team ball”, now it seems as if Rene Girard’s plan is “give it to Giroud”. It isn’t unlike the situation in Toulouse last year with Gignac. But still, while Olivier Giroud is proving to be a good player, he can’t carry MHSC on his back, even if they are suffering from some injuries themselves.

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2 Responses

  1. Remy’s outstretched foot did not obstruct Lloris’ view… at least from the camera angles shown during the match…

    • You are right. I put my reasoning in the updated post. Forgive me because I wasn’t able to see a replay until just now. Damn Fox Soccer TV!!!!! Anyway, Marseille were robbed!

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