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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Ligue 1 Predictions: 1st and 2nd place.

The Ligue 1 season is less than 24 hours away. As we all know, the faces of a lot of the teams out there have changed. There doesn’t seem to be any one team that hasn’t had to deal with the summer transfers in one fashion or another. But when all is said and done, which team was the one that came out ahead?

Of course, this is all subjective. For all we know, next week we could have some major transfers that could change the face of Ligue 1 yet again. Just look at last year for example. Yohann Gourcuff, Loic Remi and Andre-Pierre Gignac were some of the players on the move late into the transfer window. And last year was considered a “boring” transfer year, with the exception of Nene going to PSG. This year has been much different.

So, which team is going to make the best of what they have? Which team has the complete package? Here are my predictions for 1st and 2nd place in Ligue 1.
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Ligue 1 Predictions for 5th, 4th, 3rd.

5 – St. Etienne: Many people out there are saying ASSE will have a great season, but the jury is very much still out on them.

Of course, there is much discussion about the change of the team over the summer. The big names departing are Dimitri Payet to Lille, Blaise Matuidi to PSG, Emmanuel Riviere to Toulouse and Christophe Landrin to Arles-Avignon (which kind of surprises me). But even though some of these players are gone, there replacements should be able to prove themselves on this stage as well.

The biggest signing for ASSE has to be goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier from Monaco. Does this mean that Jermanie Janot’s retirement is closer than we think? Easily, both of these players know how to play goal, and are some of the best goalkeepers in Ligue 1. But even so, both of them have different playing styles. Janot is more or an acrobat, while Ruffier is stellar at positioning. It will be interesting to see how coach Christophe Galtier juggles the goaltending roles.
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Ligue 1 Talk live on UStream now.

Hi everyone. I am doing the test show for the live Ligue 1 Talk right now. Please come and visit at the address below:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ligue-1-talk

Any questions, comments or whatever, you can add on either this post of send them to @frenchsoccer at Twitter. Like I said, this is just a test show, mostly to deal with technical issues and stuff like that.

2011-12 Ligue 1 Preview for 8th-6th.

With the list getting shorter, the previews will also get shorter before we get to the top team. So here are my predictions for 8th, 7th and 6th.

8th – Sochaux: When making this prediction, I am wondering if I might be putting Sochaux a little higher than they deserve to be. Yes, last year they were able to pull off a shocking 5th place finish in the Ligue 1 standings, which nobody saw coming. But if you look at the talent on their team, it isn’t a surprise. Yes, some of the players were passively observed in the past, but now we know their names by heart.

But looking at the summer, it seems as if Sochaux had a few blows. First of all, Jacques Faty left, which we all expected. Still, even with Faty’s departure, Sochaux should still be able to cope. He was injured during the last few matches of the season, but the team was still able to play some strong football without him.

In addition to Faty’s departure, Ideye Brown as also left the team for Dynamo Kyiv, where he has made an immediate impact, with four goals in two matches. Ideye was easily one of last year’s surprises, scoring 15 goals last season. Still, with Ideye’s departure, Václav Svěrkoš is returning from a loan deal and should be able to help Sochaux up front.
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2011-12 Ligue 1 Predictions: 14th through 9th place.

Now time to continue our Ligue 1 preview for teams that I predict will finish 9th to 14th place. Here we go.

14 – Nancy: Yes, for years and years, everyone talks about how Nancy should be relegated. They aren’t in the most exciting market in France. They might be located in the middle of nowhere. But still, they have been able to stay in France’s top flight during years in which relegation seemed certain.

Going into this year, one could easily put Nancy in the relegation zone yet again. As far as the transfer market, Nancy didn’t really do anything. In fact, they lost Julien Feret and Alfred N’Diaye, which will hurt a little. But as far as transfers coming in, Nancy mostly went with younger players that the jury is still out on. They were able to retain Alexandre Cuvillier from loan, but that was about it.

But there was one big pick up for Nancy, and that is coach Jean Fernandez. After leaving Auxerre, it was a safe bet around Ligue 1 circles that Fernandez was going to go to Bordeaux, a team in which he played for two-year. Instead, his move to Nancy was both a shock and a head-scratcher in football circles. Does he know something that we don’t? Nevertheless, he has always had the eye to find some stunning talent and turn them into superstars. Is that what he is going to do at Nancy?
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