Kevin Gameiro to PSG: Why it’s so Important for Ligue 1

At 2:30 PM (CET) on June 12th, 2011, the official website of Paris Saint-Germain FC announced that Kevin Gameiro had signed a four year deal. Outside sources claim that the fee was 11 million euros with additional incentives possibly worth 15 million. This marked the end of the transfer saga of one of Ligue 1’s brightest stars, having lodged 56 goals and 19 assists in his last three seasons and scoring/creating a goal every 133 minutes this season. Gameiro had been heavily sought after by several clubs, including Valencia, Newcastle, Villareal, and Sevilla in addition to PSG. The diminutive striker had nearly transferred to Valencia in January, agreeing to terms with the club, before Lorient noticed that Valencia hadn’t actually made an offer…oops! Gameiro stayed the second half of the season and came in second in the Ligue 1 scoring charts for the second year running.

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A Collection of Stars: French Born Players Who Don’t Play for France

Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid, Mohamed Sissoko of Juventus, Marouane Chamakh of Arsenal, Sebastian Bassong and Benoit Assou-Ekotto of Spurs…

This is just the beginning of a long list of players with two common traits: having been born in France and playing for another national team.

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Dave’s Rant: Thoughts on European Football/Soccer.

I was introduced to soccer in a different way compared to many who read this site. Like a typical American, I was never raised watching the game, and watched my American sports instead (which I still do). My first introduction to soccer was by Playstation, when I purchased FIFA Soccer 97. After that, I didn’t watch my first live games until the 1998 World Cup. Yes, I might have never seen a soccer match, but I knew the players well just by the fact that I played them on Playstation numerous amount of times.

Therefore, my first ever soccer game that I ever watched was US vs. Germany in the 1998 World Cup with my good friend Kartik Krishnaiyer. Yes, that wasn’t exactly the best match for me to watch. And yes, what made it even worse was the fact that Steve Sampson was an idiot using a 3-6-1 formation. But still, I saw both teams play with heart. Unfortunately for the US, we saw Yugoslavia and Iran play with the same heart. I, of course, watched the final in which France defeated Brazil. And with my trip to Paris less than two weeks later, I was both hooked on soccer and French football. Also, due to my extensive hours of playing Playstation, I became a supporter of Paris St. Germain (the reason I am not now is a different story).

Being an American, we are used to not having the same teams win every single season. If a team dominates for a while (like San Francisco and Dallas in American football in the 80s and 90s), other teams still have a chance to knock them off. But even when dynasties are created, like the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, they eventually fall and become the Oilers of 2011, the worse team in the NHL. Therefore, there is diversity when it comes to watching sports in the United States. Even the mighty New York Yankees in the salary capless MLB get scares in their own division from Tampa Bay and the Boston Red Sox.

This was the reason that I only followed the EPL closely for two years. It only took a tiny bit of observing to realize that the same teams win over and over again. And unless you get a lucky break, like your team being bought out by a billionaire like Manchester City, you have no chance of ever celebrating anything, or even have the thought of celebrating anything, if you aren’t one of the big boys. That is what makes American sports so great, as even the Tampa Bay Lightning can claim a Stanley Cup.
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Would Eden Hazard or Gervinho fit at Manchester City?

After Lille’s impressive championship run, which saw them win the double, it is only natural to wonder if any of their star players are going to stay with the team or move on to newer pastures. And while this is a big unknown, it doesn’t stop the rumors from flying around.

Of course, the biggest names that people have been talking about regarding a move are Eden Hazard and Gervinho. Many expect Hazard to stay with the team. Now with a double under his belt, the price for him continues to rise. And since his contract now extends to 2015, it will be harder to pry Hazard out of the hands of Michel Seydoux, who will now look to make an impression on the European stage.

On the other hand, Gervinho’s contract expires in June of 2012. And with his contract expiring in a year, it only makes sense that transfer talks surrounding the Ivorian forward would be front page news.

If Lille knows that they aren’t going to retain the services of Gervinho for another season, selling him during this summer transfer would make sense. If they don’t, they risk a chance of going through an incident like the Marouane Chamakh incident at Bordeaux last summer. Therefore, if he is going to move, he must move now. This might reduce the price Lille might get for him. But if they start firm and offer him to the right team (ie…with money) they could make a decent bit of cash.

A number of EPL teams have been linked to these two players. Of course, Arsenal seems to be linked with every Ligue 1 player, so any news regarding Arsenal should be taken with a huge grain of salt. But another team that has been mentioned has been Manchester City. Obviously, City have enough cash to make these deals work. And if Lille decide to sell Hazard, they could really inflate the price that City could pay for him.

But would Hazard or Gervinho fit into the Manchester City system? Let’s take a look.
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Lille do the double, win Ligue 1 title. Sochaux to Europa League.

Lille OSC: 2010-11 Ligue 1 Champions.

Lille OSC: 2010-11 Ligue 1 Champions.

After last week’s big win against Sochaux, Lille, who has not won a Ligue 1 championship since 1954, only had to score one point in their last two matches in order to secure the title. And trying to gain that point in the Parc des Princes isn’t the easiest of tasks. Yet Lille were up to that task as they drew with Paris St. Germain 2-2 and win the Ligue 1 title.

Unlike their French Cup match, which was pretty lame to say the least, this one was a barn-burner which saw a number of close chances for both teams as well as a number of confrontations as well. Lille opened up the scoring just five minutes into the match when Ludovic Obraniak, who scored the only goal in the French Cup final, knocked one in, making the score 1-0. After that, Paris were able to take control of the game, with a number of opportunities coming close for the home side.

In the third minute of stoppage time in the first half, PSG were able  to finally net that goal, with the goal scorer being Guillaume Hoarau, leveling the match at 1-1.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 37 Preview – Can Lille clinch it?

Only two more match weeks left in the season, and we still don’t have a clear idea regarding what teams will be where in two weeks time. As we mentioned on our “what if” article, even Lille aren’t technically assured the Ligue 1 championship just yet.

In one way or another, almost all of tomorrow’s match ups will affect either relegation or qualifying for European competitione, with the exception of Arles vs. Lens. Therefore, what matches should you watch and why?

Unlike other previews that we do, we aren’t going to look at the technical aspects of the game. Instead, we are going to take more of a look at their standing positions, and what they need to do to accomplish whatever it is they are trying to accomplish.

The most important match of the day doesn’t involve Lille, Marseille, PSG or Lyon. Instead, it will be the game between Sochaux and St. Etienne. Even with a poor performance against Lille on the road in the midweek, Sochaux look to get back on track and move closer to securing an Europa League spot.

Both teams will be suffering from injuries. For Sochaux, they continue to be without Jacques Faty (who has more than likely played his last match for Sochaux) as well as Édouard Butin. But for St. Etienne, the situation will be worse. Emmanuel Riviere will miss the rest of the season. Jeremie Janot will also not be available for the team. In addition, Albin Ebondo and Sylvain Monsoreau are uncertain. Therefore, they will have an uphill climb in this match in order to win.
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Ligue 1’s “What If” Scenarios for European Competition.

With only two matchdays left in Ligue 1 season, everyone starts to figure out what combination of points, goals and so on will lead to where a certain team might be in two week’s time. Therefore, we will ‘try’ to attempt to tell you where all the teams are regarding their current position and their chances of going to Europe or not.

Lille (for the title): A draw in one of their last two matches and they win the Ligue 1 title.

Marseille (for the title over Lille): 1. Need Lille to lose both of their matches as well as win their remaining two matches.

2. Would have to beat their next two opponents by seven or more goals combined in order to win the title outright. Any less than seven goals, and Lille’s margin of defeat would determine how many goal OM would require.

3. If both teams are tied after goal differential, then OM would have to score six goals more than Lille over the last two matches in order to win the title outright. If OM only scores five goals more than Lille, then a playoff to determine the winner would take place at a neutral site. Four or less and Lille win the title.
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