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 & 2 Player award nominees announced.

Did Lisandro Lopez get left out?

Today, the Union Nationale des Footballeurs professionnels made their nominee announcements for their season ending awards of the year. While many of the players on the list aren’t a huge surprise, there were some players that were. Here are the nominees for the upcoming awards.

Best Player : Eden Hazard (Lille), Moussa Sow (Lille), Kévin Gameiro (Lorient), Nene (Paris-SG)

Best Young Player : Mamadou Sakho (Paris-SG), André Ayew (Marseille), Marvin Martin (Sochaux) et Yann Mvila (Rennes)

Best Goalkeeper : Hugo Lloris (Lyon), Mickaël Landreau (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Stéphane Ruffier (Monaco)

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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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Matchday 31 – What did we learn?

Benoit Cheyrou - the real "Player of the Year"?

1. Could lackluster end of season leave a bad taste in people’s mouth? – Usually around the end of a season, teams at the top of the table start elevating their level of play to try to either win the league or make a run for a Champions League position. But right now it doesn’t seem as if any of the teams really want the Ligue 1 title. Marseille, Lyon, Rennes, Lille and PSG have all played “less than average” games over the past few weeks, and one must really ask if any of them have the drive to win the championship. Instead of the best team pulling ahead of the rest, it is starting to look like “the team that doesn’t play the worse” might win this championship, which could damage the reputation of Ligue 1.

Because of this, we really can’t say who is the favorite to win the championship. We can’t pick out one team (like we did with Marseille last year) and say “ah ha, that is the team that will win it, they have the drive.” Instead, the end of the season might resemble the end of The Blair Witch Project, where people will be scratching their heads while leaving the theater saying “that’s it?”

So please, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, PSG or Rennes, can one of you please pick up your play so we can have at least a little bit of an idea on who really intends to make a serious run at the top spot in the table?
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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′s Wish List for Winter Mercato Part II (Monaco to Valenciennes).

A Sessegnon move to St. Etienne the best option (Reuters)?

We are continuing our quick “needs list” from the other day with the rest of the teams, starting with Monaco.

Monaco – Easily, Monaco has to be one of the biggest upsets of the season. Yes, they do miss Nene, but they still should be a decent mid-table team. Still, one seriously has to wonder if the organization really thought that Daniel Niculae could provide Monaco with the same offensive success as Nene. Yes, he is a solid player, but really?

Anyway, Monaco seems to have some major problems with both their midfield and up front. Their midfield is sub par, though they do have a few players like Nampalys Mendy, who seems to have a bright future. Also, offensively, Chu Young Park really needs to find both some midfield and up front support, so that he isn’t the only one producing offensive chances. Therefore, finding some good, solid forwards and midfielders should be Monaco’s priority. If they don’t build their team now, they might lose some quality players. While Park has a contract extension until 2013, Ruffier’s contract expires in the summer.

Montpellier – During the off-season, many were wondering if the Costa-Montano tandem could be replaced by the Estrada-Giroud pair. And even with a few injuries this season, these two players have been able to work well together. True, they aren’t at the level of Costa-Montano, but they have the potential.
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Who should be France’s “Number Three” Keeper?

Has Jeremie Janot made a case for being France's #3 keeper?

Of course, as we all know, positions in the French National Team, especially after the arrival of Laurent Blanc, can be like a game of musical chairs. Match after match, we could see different players. And, as of right now, anyone could have a chance to play on the World Cup team in 2014.

Even with this being said, the position of goalkeeper is pretty much set. Hugo Lloris continues to be the best keeper in France, and one of the best in the World. And honestly, after his exclusion by UEFA as a nominee for “2010 Team of the Year”, I would be upset if I were Hugo.

Still, he is the number one keeper for France.

France, as well, has a number two keepers. Yep, Cedric Carrasso. Carrasso has shown this year that he is easily deserving of the number two spot. And if he keeps playing like he has for Bordeaux this season, he could even challenge Lloris for the top position, considering Blanc is the coach. But I highly doubt that, and Blanc should consider such a move.

Of course, technically, Steve Mandanda is the second keeper for the French National Team. But as time passes, Mandanda looks worse and worse. He seems to be out of position more and more, as well as committing more errors than he did a few years ago. Therefore, should Mandanda be the third keeper for Laurent Blanc’s team?

Here are some possible choices for the third keeper for France:
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