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June 9, 2011

Your Ligue 1 Season in Review

Next season's Ligue 1 match ball. Mine are bigger.

Spent your way snoozing through Ligue 1 again, did you? Go ahead, blame it on not having Fox Soccer Plus.

You may remember, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when, that I made some predictions about how Ligue 1 would proceed over the 2010/2011 campaign.

Don’t look now, but I’m going to need Tommy John surgery from patting myself on the back so hard.

Alright, alright, there were a few misses in there too.



Spot on, mate! (i.e. What I Got Right):

The Top 4 – I had Lyon finishing 1st and Marseille finishing 2nd, when in actuality they finished in 3rd and 2nd, respectively. Although I was off on Rennes finishing 4th, they wound up in 6th after looking like a viable Top-4 candidate for much of the season (and my initial prediction was a Top 6 finish).

Relegation – I correctly chose Arles and Lens for the drop, but those were fairly easy picks so not too many “attaboys” for me here.

Players – I had identified Eden Hazard (10 assists; PotY), Bafe Gomis (10 goals), Andre Ayew (11 goals), Nene (14 goals and 7 assists), Kevin Gameiro (22 goals) and Modiba Maiga (15 goals) as being instrumental to the chances of their respective clubs, and they all delivered glowingly (much like myself).

Other – Although I didn’t initially identify him as being important, I started touting young PSG defender Mamadou Sakho as one to watch relatively early in the season, and he came through with flying colors, propelling Les Parisiens to 4th place.



You dolt! (i.e. What I Got Wrong):

The Top 4 – I had pegged Bordeaux to finish 3rd, but they wound up struggling mightily to the point that gaffer Jean Tigana left before the season had even ended. They somehow managed to claw their way into 7th place, but they were never the threat that I had projected them to be. In addition, although my initial preview had pegged Lille’s goal as being a Top-3 finish, I hesitated to place them there in my final assessment. I should have trusted my gut on Rudi Garcia’s side.

Relegation – I had Saint-Etienne and Sochaux projected to struggle this season, fighting off relegation on a weekly basis, but both clubs instead had excellent seasons, with Les Lionceaux winding up all the way in 5th place. More importantly, the struggles of Monaco seemingly came out of nowhere, as I expected them to contend for a place in the Top 5

Players – I didn’t really miss anyone here, although I should have been more emphatic in how important Moussa Sow might be to the fortunes of Lille after his transfer from Rennes.



Season Rundown and Awards (i.e. What Ligue 1 Thought):

Top goalscorer:
(1) Moussa Sow (Lille) – 25 goals; (2) Kevin Gameiro (Lorient) – 22 goals
Top assists:
(1) Marvin Martin (Sochaux) – 17, which set a Ligue 1 record; (2) Morgan Amalfitano (Lorient) – 13, which will fit in nicely next season at Marseille

Player of the Year: Eden Hazard (Lille)
Young Player of the Year: Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
Manager of the Year: Rudi Garcia (Lille)

Team of the Year:
GK – Steve Mandanda (Marseille)
DEF – Anthony Reveillere (Lyon); Adil Rami (Lille); Mamadou Sakho (PSG); Taye Taiwo (Marseille)
MID – Yann M’Vila (Rennes); Gervinho (Lille); Eden Hazard (Lille); Nene (PSG)
ST – Moussa Sow (Lille); Kevin Gameiro (Lorient)



The Real Season Awards (i.e. What I Thought):

Player of the Year: Eden Hazard (Lille). Although Moussa Sow set Ligue 1 on fire with his league-leading 25 goals, it was Hazard that acted as the metronome for Les Dogues. The brilliant youngster (who may have slightly damaged his transfer value with his antics against Turkey last Friday) had 10 assists in controlling the midfield, often forcing opponents to play at his pace or suffer the consequences. More importantly, for any future managers, he displayed a willingness to defend from his attacking position. He’s like Andrey Arshavin, if the Magic Pixie actually ever bothered with defense.

Young Player of the Year: Mamadou Sakho (Paris Saint-Germain). The occasionally mercurial youngster (have you seen his hair?) amassed 5 YCs and 1 RC in 35 matches, but he also contributed 4 goals and marshaled the defense for a resurgent capital side. Reportedly with a €20M transfer fee (and I couldn’t find a link, so it looks like I’m the one reporting it!), the 20 year-old looks set to anchor the backline for PSG next year as well.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Mickael Landreau (Lille). Other than Adil Rami, the perpetual near-international netminder had a decidely average defense in front of him yet still managed to keep 10 clean sheets while making 110 saves.

Manager of the Year: Frédéric Antonetti (Rennes). There is rarely consideration given to managers of sides who finished outside of the Top 4, but Antonetti took his Stade Rennais FC side to heights that few (except me, obviously) thought possible.

Team of the Year:
GK – Mickael Landreau (Lille); pay attention, it’s just a few lines above this one!
DEF – Adil Rami (Lille); Mamadou Sakho (PSG); Damien Perquis (Sochaux); Taye Taiwo (Marseille)
MID – Yann M’Vila (Rennes); Gervinho (Lille); Eden Hazard (Lille); Nene (PSG)
ST – Moussa Sow (Lille); Kevin Gameiro (Lorient)

Finally, the Ligue 1 goal of the year comes courtesy of Jimmy Briand (Lyon) versus Nancy, and I will brook no discussion on this point:



About the Author

The NY Kid





7 Comments


  1. Orr

    Nice work on Ligue 1 all year NYK.

    How many of your team of the season members do you think will be leaving France? Is Taiwo the only one already out?


  2. Gervinho will leave. Maybe Rami and Sakho, if their valuations can be met. Gameiro is looking to Spain for a move.


  3. Outside Mid

    @ NYK: Have to echo what Orr said–good work. I had gone back previously to see your predictions and it was eerily good.


  4. Orr

    @NYK – So you have both Hazard and Sow staying at Lille?


  5. Sow has reportedly already turned down moves to Newcastle and Sunderland, but more importantly I think clubs would be wary of overvaluing 1 excellent season. He only had something like a bakers dozen in 2 seasons total with Rennes before he moved to Lille (on a free, if I remember correctly).
    As for Hazard, he has been firm with his “I love Lille” refrain. Young PotY 2 years in a row, and now big-boy PotY along with a Ligue 1 title is impressive, but he’ll stay one more year for Champions League football. After that, maybe off to Arsenal to replace Nasri (if the rumours of SAF’s interest are true)


  6. Orr

    Good point, how those two fare in the CL next term could be a telling indicator for other clubs.


  7. Outside Mid

    Hazard stays, someone splurges on Sow, Qataris buy everyone else. PSG wins it all!



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