Ligue 1 Matchday 1 “Power Breakdown” Review.

Goal of the Week – Matchday 1

There were a number of great goals that were considered for the this award. Long-range goals from Toulouse’s Paulo Machado, Caen’s Gregory Proment and Auxerre’s Alain Traore were considered. But even with this stiff competition, Evian’s captain Olivier Sorlin’s volley off a deflected corner wins this weeks “Goal of the Week”.

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Ligue 1 Matchday 22 Preview – Can St. Etienne prove themselves?

Is St. Etienne on their way to the glory days of the 1970s?

Since the start of 2011, the French footballing world hasn’t gone exactly as planned. Since January, Ligue 1 teams have suffered a number of upsets in both the league and the French Cup. Earlier this week, Sochaux were the latest victim of CFA2 side Chambery. And with upset after upset happening on a constant basis, who really knows what will happen next week.

With that being said, we will look at some of the keys to this weekend, and maybe try to make sense of a Ligue 1 season that is far from making sense. So, here is what to watch for this weekend:

Lille and PSG have a chance to run away – At the start of the season, both Lille and PSG were considered possible contenders for a Champions League position. Now, they are easily in control their own destiny as they will take on two teams which are struggling.

Lille will be traveling to Auxerre. Auxerre, who has to be one of the biggest upsets of the season, have not improved whatsoever. Even with a number of injuries, they haven’t even been able to handle opponents that they should have easily beaten. In addition, Auxerre’s last win was at home against Rennes on November 14th, nearly two months ago. And even with most of their key players back, Auxerre just doesn’t look that good. Therefore Lille, who have been on fire in league play, have a chance to really take them to task.
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Is St. Etienne really this good?

Dimitri Payet has a lot to smile about.

At the start of the season, many people were predicting St. Etienne to be one of the worse teams in Ligue 1. Almost everyone was saying that they were possibly going to Ligue 2 next year. I was one of those who also said this as well. Though, I said this more for being “part of the crowd” instead of telling my true opinion, which is that St. Etienne is a decent team. I thought people would point and laugh at me for saying ASSE was decent. I should have stuck by my guns.

So, is it a fluke that Les Verts have been this good? No, not at all.

First, lets look at the team, starting with the defense. No matter how crazy he is and the crazy things that he says, Jeremie Janot has to be one of the top keepers in Ligue 1 right now. He is almost looking like the Stephane Ruffier of 2010, a keeper that can come out of nowhere and be a force. Sure, people knew about Janot before, but he is making an impression this season.
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Bocanegra to Les Verts? Nedved says ‘non’ to Cannes

After losing his starting spot on Rennes, American captain Carlos Bocanegra might possibly be making a move to struggling St. Etienne. according the L’Equipe, Les Verts are looking to strengthen  their back line and Bocanegra might just be the answer.

The team freed up some wages after they decided to terminate the contract of Brazilian striker Ilan early (as his contract was due to expire on June 30th, 2010). And new ASSE manager Christophe Galtier said that Bocanerga is “on the list” of players that the team is looking at.
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Ligue 1 injury update: Matchday 11

Jimmy Briand returning after 9 months

Injury problems at Lyon continue to haunt the club for matchday 11 (rescheduled because of the France-Ireland playoff) as they will be withouth a number of key players in the upcoming match against league leaders Bordeaux.

Like usual, the defense takes a big hit, with Mathieu Bodmer, Francois Clerc and Jeremy Toulalan still not being available for Lyon. They will also be without the services of striker/winger Sidney Govou, who was added to the injury list this week with an injury to his left hamstring.

Manager Claude Puel said that his players are close to returning to the pitch but are just not quite there yet.
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Rennes’ Bocanegra featured on Ligue 1 site

During the last week, a three-part interview of US captain Carlos Bocanegra has been published on the official Ligue 1 website. Earlier in the year, Ligue 1 also conducted an exclusive interview with Charlie Davies as well. Is seems like Ligue 1 has become a very friendly environment for American players abroad.

In the first part of the interview, Bocanegra talked about his club team, Rennes, and how they are struggling to play as a team. “I think the biggest problem for us is that everybody has been in good form individually, but not as a team. Players have been having a good game when other guys haven’t been performing so well. Our problem is in the group effort and getting everyone to play well at the same time,” said Bocanegra.

Also, Bocanegra played his 50th game in Ligue 1 recently. He stated that he played over 100 games for Fulham and hopes that we can do the same thing in Ligue 1 as well.

In the second part of the interview, Carlos said that he wishes that he could express himself at Rennes as much as he can at USNT matches. He said that there is a language barrier. “I try and remain the same, but the problem at Rennes is that I can’t always express myself the way I would like in French and that is hard for me because sometimes I feel like I can’t completely get my point across. But you just try and lead with your actions.”
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Ligue 1 Fantasy Football Guide

I know there are many people out there who are English-speaking that try to play as many online fantasy football games as possible. Heck, I even play fantasy basketball from time to time, having no idea what I am doing. And with many websites, like Yahoo, offering French fantasy football, some fans need guidance on how the pick their starting line up for their team.

I have been involved with fantasy sports since 1988, when I played in a fantasy hockey league on an internet program called Q-Link, which was available for the Commodore 64. I have won my fair share of championships throughout the years. And, hopefully, this site can help you with your starting lineup if you are in a French football fantasy league, but have no idea who to start.

We will be doing this every week, and hopefully you will enjoy it!

And if you have a question about starting players, leave a comment and we can get back to you.

So, on to Matchday 15. Who to play and who not to play is the question. And to start off, I will give you my starters for the week.

But just a note before we start…make sure you do not start any Monaco or Montpellier players as that game has been postponed due to swine flu.
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