Mevlut Erding to Newcastle?

I enjoy the fact that this picture doesn't exactly suit the occasion...

After the news broke that Kevin Gameiro had signed for PSG, speculation was rife over the future of Mevlut Erding, who had a disappointing 2010-11 (hitting the net only 9 times in 34 appearances) and plays a similar role to the former Lorient man.

Newcastle, who have been linked to seemingly every notable Ligue 1 player in the last few weeks, have thus far failed in their pursuits of France-based attackers, having been turned down by Gameiro and Gervinho in favor of other moves. However, all this may change quite soon, as Erding, whose failure to maintain his prolific Ligue 1 strike rate has made him increasingly unpopular with PSG fans, will most likely not be an asset new PSG owners the Qatar Investment Authority want to maintain.

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Ligue 1 Matchday 34 Preview: Are there some big games this weekend?

Going into this weekend’s Ligue 1 matches, everyone can see the one big match that will be looming over all other matches, which is Sunday night’s heavyweight match between Lyon and Marseille, now termed the Olympico.

But of course, there are a number of other matches that will be going on that will have just as much of an impact on what could happen in the Ligue 1 season as the big OL vs. OM match does. Therefore, lets take a brief look at the upcoming weekend.

Lille is the team that is current leading the league. Luckily for them, they will be playing Nancy on the road. Nancy, a team that many people expect (and, sadly, want) to be relegated to Ligue 2 this season. They will be fighting for the Ligue 1 lives against the championship front-runners. Unfortunately for Nancy, Lille have the second best road record in Ligue 1. True, they will be missing the services of Yohan Cabaye, but his absence shouldn’t hurt them against an opponent that they should easily defeat. And if Lille is able to grab a valuable three points while both OL and OM are slugging it out (which could end in a draw), they could truly make this a two-horse race for the Ligue 1 title.

In other matches, a number of teams vying for the final Europa League spots will be squaring off against one another.

One of those matches will be Lorient hosting Toulouse. Both teams are coming off positive wins. And while Toulouse’s 2-0 win against Lyon might look more impressive than Lorient’s come-from-behind victory at Lens, they are still coming off a high nonetheless. For Lorient, Kevin Gameiro, who was looking like he might have slowed down about a month ago, is showing that he is back and with full force. But what will hurt Gameiro is that Toulouse’s defense looks to be back as well.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 20…what did we learn?

Is Gomis the best he has been since his St. Etienne days?

After the long winter break, and a bunch of major upsets in the French Cup, which saw one coach get fired, we are now back on the Ligue 1 season, where everything seems to be ‘business as usual’. So, what did we learn this week from another matchday of Ligue 1 action.

Gomis and Toulalan are back – One of our contributors, Martin Michelot, said on his twitter the other day during the Lyon game that Bafetimbi Gomis was “overshadowing” Lisandro Lopez. That is a very good sign for Lyon. In the past few matches, Gomis, who was the target of many boos and whistles (as an American, I still don’t get the whole whistle thing) has been showing his worth to the team. He has scored six goals in his last seven Ligue 1 matches. And by the reaction of the Lyon crowd on Saturday, with chants of “Bafe, Bafe” echoing around the Stade de Gerland, Gomis has gone from zero to hero.

Another player that impressed was Jeremy Toulalan. Toulalan looked like the player of old, doing one amazing play after another. He looked defensively sharp as well. Basically, he looks like he is on his way back. Many of my non-Ligue 1 football friends only knew Toulalan from the World Cup, and talked about how horrible and useless he was. Of course, many of them didn’t know what he used to play like with Lyon. Hopefully, Toulalan getting the “I was going to retire from football” thoughts out in the public might have taken the monkey off his back to play well. Hopefully, we will see more of the old Toulalan like we did this weekend.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 18 Saturday Preview

Can young gun Youssef El-Arabi pull Caen from the Ligue 1 cellar?

Well, another week of Ligue 1 action, and finally the top five favorites for the Ligue 1 title are first through fifth. And, of course, three of those teams will play on Sunday, with the big Marseille vs. Lyon match looming.

So, lets dive right into the previews for Saturday’s matches.

Lens vs. Caen – Yes, a match that will basically mean absolutely nothing. The winner “might” move out of the relegation zone, while the loser, of course, will stay in the relegation zone. This is a sad fact considering many people had higher hopes for these teams, at least finishing at mid-table.

One interesting thing regarding this match is that Vedran Runje is expected to be part of the Lens team on Saturday. After a clash with Lens supporters after the teams 3-0 loss to Lorient on the road, Runje was said to have been punished by Gervais Martel regarding the incident. But, it seems like being suspended from playing isn’t part of the punishment. Still, it will be interesting to see how the crowd at Lens, who are always amongst the most vocal in Ligue 1, will react if Runje gets the start, which is expected.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 16: What did we learn?

For our American "Craig Ferguson" fans. Just Google it...

Another week of Ligue 1 action, and another week of questions answered and unanswered. So, what did we learn this week? Lets dive right into to.

Lille has a powerful offense – I don’t know what it is in the air around this time of the year in Lille, but for some reason when winter starts, Lille’s offense kicks it up a notch and goes into high gear. And they proved that yet again with a 6-3 victory over Lorient. Yes, the Lorient keeper Fabien Audard might have been red carded, but he had already allowed four goals before that time.

In addition to Lille showing their stuff, Moussa Sow has shown that he is one of the top players in Ligue 1 right now. Sow recorded a hat-trick, giving him 13 goals on the season. Oh, and if you are wondering if he might be shooting for a Ligue 1 record, he isn’t. Marseille’s Jisop Skoblar scored 44 goals in the 1970-71 season.
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Ligue 1 Matchday 16 Saturday Preview: Wake up call for some teams.

Lloris will need to have a big day against Montpellier for OL to win.

Last week in Ligue 1, we had a number of evenly matched teams playing one another. This week, it is a different story. Instead, we have some really good and stiff competitions. Some team will be able to show if they have what is take to stay at the top of the Ligue 1 table. Some will show if they are really a cinderella story, and have just been messing with us the last 15 weeks.

Arles-Avignon vs. AS Nancy Lorraine – if Brest isn’t going to be in the relegation zone this year, who is? Of course, we already know that Arles-Avignon will be down there. But Nancy makes a good case for demotion as well.

So far this year, Nancy hasn’t had any consistency. They have quality players like Youssouf Hadji, Marama Vahirua and Paul Alo’o Efoulou who haven’t produced. Goalkeeper Gennaro Bracigliano, who suffered a finger injury not too long ago, seems to have been replaced by Damien Gregorini. Again, that isn’t helping the team. Basically, they really don’t have anything going for them.

The only thing they have going for them this week is that they are playing Arles-Avignon, who are even worse than they  are. During the off-season, there was a lot of talk about Arles-Avignon bringing in a lot of new players from around the world. Most of them are average at best in the leagues they came from. And if the team is basically “new”, how can the team create chemistry amongst the players? Arles was a disaster from the start.

Prediction: Nancy wins 3-1.
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Can Montpellier bounce back against Monaco?

Week after week, everyone expects Montpellier to fall flat on their face and start moving down the standings. Coach Rene Girard even said at the start of the season that his team’s goal was to avoid relegation, and that they would eventually move down the standings. Even team boss, the colorful Louis Nicollin, expected his team to have a decent, but not great, year. Still, with 30 games already in the books, Montpellier look to be poised to not only avoid relegation (which is now mathematically impossible), but to actually play in European competition as well.

Last week, Montpellier got a wake up call from Lille, another team looking to make a charge for one of the three Champions League positions. With a returning Gervinho (and for those of you who put money on Niang or Nene to win the scoring title after Gervinho’s injury, all I have to say is ‘not so fast’), Lille dominated the southern French side with a 4-1 victory. Pure and simple, Montpellier were outplayed during the entire match. Lille dominated in possession, quality chances on goal, basically everything. Still, Lille seems to be a team that, if they can keep together, be destined to be the next Lyon or Bordeaux.

But back to Montpellier. They lost. They were dominated. But does this mean anything? Even the mighty Bordeaux loses to St. Etienne, so anything is possible in Ligue 1. Still, Montpellier play today against Monaco, a team which is one of the ‘hotest-coldest’ teams in Ligue 1. One string of good matches and they look like they can challenge for the top five. Another few weeks, and they look destined for the midtable. And with only eight matches left to play in this season, Monaco’s season looks to be heading toward the latter.

So what should we look for in today’s game?
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