Unprofessional Foul


September 16, 2011

Your Ligue 1 Weekend Preview

If you don't watch you might miss something like this.

There are three important matches kicking off this weekend, two on Saturday and the biggest on Sunday.

Saturday, September 17th:

Toulouse v. Bordeaux – The Derby de la Garonne (named for the river that links the two clubs) has favored Les Girondins in recent years, but that changed last campaign and Toulouse are poised to once again come out on top. Bordeaux gaffer Francis Gillot has been frustrated with his charges, noting that many of his players seem to lack motivation. Curiously, he failed to note that perhaps it is his job to motivate them.

Michael Ciani will be relieved to have Benoit Tremoulinas rejoin him in the Bordeaux defense, as they looked uncertain last week with Florian Marange facing off against Evian. Going forward, the side will hope that Cheick Diabate and/or Nicolas Maurice-Belay will finally find the back of the net, as overall the club’s offensive output has been poor up top (Yoann Gouffran and Anthonty Modeste each have 1 goal).

Scoring on Toulouse may be difficult, as they have the 2nd-best defense in the league despite starting Daniel Congre and the Furious Five in a variety of combinations. That statistic is likely more due to the ability of the side to control possession in the midfield, with Moussa Sissoko, Paulo Machado and Etienne Capoue (the later two both having 2 goals) playing extremely well of late. There have been increasing calls to turn youngster Adrien Regattin loose as the 4th member of that midfield, so he is one to watch.

Overall, 5th-place Toulouse has too much for a disinterested Bordeaux side, playing away from home, to handle, especially if Emmanuel Riviere makes his return. Let’s call it a 1-0 victory for Le TFC, with the goal coming from Capoue.

Lille v. Sochaux – Les Dogues are sitting in 3rd place and looking to stay a step ahead of a crowd that includes 7th-place Sochaux by taking the full points at home here. They come into this match frustrated at having drawn 2-2 with CSKA Moscow in their Champions League match, giving up the equalizer in the 90th minute.

Lille are having a bit of injury difficulties at the moment, with Dimitri Payet out for 3-4 weeks after surgery, and Aurelien Chedjou and Tulio de Melo doubtful. With Marko Basa and Franck Beria also questionable, the side will be starting a patchwork defense that will rely on Mathieu Debuchy to marshal his backline mates into the nearest approximation of competence (note: this does not apply to David “OG” Rozehnal, who is incapable of approaching competence).

Acting in their favor is the fact that the defense can focus almost exclusively on Ryad Boudebouz, who was to this point been the only offensive threat for Sochaux. He will be encouraged by the return of Marvin Martin from suspension, but Les Lionceaux will look even leaner after want-aways Modibo Maiga and Kevin Anin were sent to the reserves for failing to show up to training. On defense hardmen Sebastien Corchia and Damien Perquis will be attempting to deal with the impressive firepower of Les Dogues, as the latter score from all over the pitch.

Lille are absolutely a must-watch side, as Eden Hazard and Ludovic Obraniak are a joy to watch in the midfield, with Moussa Sow providing a spark in the striker’s role. As for Joe Cole, it took the newcomer just 25 minutes to notch 1 assist, which matched his total from 796 minutes of action with Liverpool. This should be a 2-0 win for Lille, with goals coming from Hazard and Benoit Pedretti.

Sunday, September 18th:

Lyon v. Marseille – Both sides are looking to improve on their mid-week performances in the Champions League (Marseille defeated Olympiakos 1-0, while Lyon drew 0-0 with Ajax), but Lyon clearly hold the edge in this contest. Playing at home against a stumbling Marseille side (at least domestically), Les Gones are optimistic that they can use their prolific offense to batter last year’s 2nd-place side.

The defense in this match might not be pretty (the clubs have combined for 15 total goals in their last 3 meetings), with Lyon featuring the shambolic stylings of Bakary Kone and Dejan Lovren, while Marseille put out the LOLtastic Cesar Azpilicueta. With that relatively poor level of talent facing off against offensive prowess of the caliber of Andre Ayew and Loic Remy (Marseille) or Lisandro Lopez and Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon), goals are virtually guaranteed.

Honestly, if you’re not watching this match then you simply hate football and are most likely a terrible, terrible person. Animal. Let’s call it a 3-1 resounding victory for Lyon, with goals coming from Maxime Gonalons, Lisandro Lopez and Bafe Gomis for Les Gones, and Mathieu Valbuena for L’OM.

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The NY Kid