Although the amount of work I put on this site seems to have gone down considerably what I’ll do is link you to anything external that I’ve done that might be worth a wee look

First up is my piece on Rennes midfielder Yann M’Vila for WhoScored.com – It is a stats based piece but gives you a pretty good idea about the player and what you can expect from him.

YANN M’VILA – Mr DEPENDABLE

Next is my weekly Ligue 1 column for MirrorFootball – This week is a bit of a round-up, a doffed cap towards Montpellier for being the only team to win all three games. And a little bit on Javier Pastore’s debut.

MirrorFootball – Ligue 1 Blog

And lastly this week we have my preview for all ten Ligue 1 games this weekend. Highlights include Toulouse v PSG and Lille v Marseille. All written for the wonderful WhoScored.com

LIGUE 1 PREVIEWS – WEEK 4

More coming next week…. Toulouse, more on M’Vila, maybe something on a Europa League team of my choosing.

Have a good weekend everybody!

 

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Sunday night saw the end of the 2010/11 season in Ligue 1 and Andrew and Chris have recorded their last regular podcast of the season to discuss all the thrills and spills of the final days action.

After rounding up all the best action from Week 38 in Ligue 1 they then discuss some of the comings and going from the league. A look at who will be joining the league from Ligue 2 and doff a cap toward Les Bleus three international matches next week.

You can listen to the podcast here or if you right-click on that link, you can download the MP3.

Alternatively, you can subscribe via your reader of choice or via our iTunes feed.

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Throughout today ten French teams will battle it out for a place in the last eight of the Coupe de France. Last night the well fancied Stade Rennes were surprisingly dumped out by Ligue 2 side Reims. With the game poised at three all Rennes were awarded and missed two penalties, and of course then lost the game 4-3 in extra time.

Everyone likes a shock and last night’s was good but there is one team that everyone should be looking out for today. Sochaux after their fantastic 5-1 demolition of Rennes at the weekend make the daunting trip to the small town of Chambéry. Why “daunting” I hear you ask?

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After the awful performance and result against Wolves on Wednesday it seems that the Liverpool fans have called time on the managerial reign of Roy Hodgson. The defeat leaves the proud club only three points off the relegation places and eleven points adrift of European football.

Last season’s seventh place finish was bad enough for the fans but they still qualified for the Europa League which is the bare minimum they will accept. The prospect of missing out altogether would be a disaster.

It would seem the fans no longer want Roy in charge of their team, the body language and attitude of players would suggest they no longer want him in charge either, as soon as you lose the dressing room is it not time to pack up and go?

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Second in the new Ligue 1 – 20 for 20 series, a young star starting to turn heads in France this season.

Starting his second season in charge of Stade Rennais Frédéric Antonetti had a tough task in front of him. Asamoah Gyan, Jimmy Briand, Moussa Sow and Ismael Bangoura had all left the Brittany club in the summer giving the former Nice manager a selection headache. However as the season has progressed it looks like he could have the perfect cure right under his nose.

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Unfortunately I can’t keep up with the Le Beau Jeu podcasts but who knows what will happen in the New Year. My love for Ligue 1 has not gone though so without further a due, here I go with my Ligue 1 previews and predictions.

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Very interesting news came out on Friday; New French manager Laurent Blanc announced that all 23 members of the 2010 World Cup squad would not be picked for next month’s friendly against Norway. On Thursday the 5th of August Blanc will name the players pick for the match on August 11th, but who will he choose.

As an avid follower of French football this is a really interesting time, will he go for experience and steady the ship, or will he look to the future to set an example to the 23 players expelled that there is a future without them and that they are not automatic picks.

This morning I have had a look round the available players and had a go at picking a 18 man squad that I would pick for the match, a list of about 35 players was narrowed down to 24, and then the final cuts were made till I had the 18 men I could see taking the FFF forward.



 

#1 Mikael Landreau Lille Goalkeeper
#12 Nicola Douchez Rennes Goalkeeper
#15 Rod Fanni Rennes Defender
#2 Mathieu Debuchy Lille Defender
#3 Bruno Tremoulinas Bordeaux Defender
#4 Julian Escude Sevilla Defender
#5 Adel Rami Lille Defender
#6 Laurent Koscienly Arsenal Defender
#14 Rio Mavuba Lille Midfield
#16 Samir Nasri Arsenal Midfield
#17 Yohann Cabaye Lille Midfield
#18 Moussa Sissokho Toulouse Midfield
#7 Hatem Ben Arfa Marseille Midfield
#8 Lassana Diarra Real Madrid Midfield
#10 Kevin Gameiro Lorient Forward
#11 Jimmy Briand Lyon Forward
#13 Loic Remy Nice Forward
#9 Karim Benzema Real Madrid Forward

So let’s explain this squad a little;

In goals I have picked Lille’s Mikael Landreau, did extremely well to recover from a serious knee injury at the start of last season, a great shot stopper, bags of experience and I think it helps a back 4 if you have a Goalkeeper who has been there to talk you through the match, Nicola Douchez has impressed for Rennes so we would be the substitute, Landreau deserves his place between the sticks for his performances for Lille last season.

Rennes - Rod Fanni

My back four would be: Rod Fanni, Bruno Tremoulinas, Adel Rami and new Arsenal man Laurent Koscienly, at Left Back Tremoulinas adds instant width and an ability to deliver a fantastic cross that new Arsenal man Marouane Chamakh benefited from last season, Bruno can also defend, but I’ve picked him more for his attacking prowess. To balance the attacking instincts of the left back I’ve gone with Rod Fanni of Rennes at Right Back, he also loves to get forward, maybe doesn’t quite have the quality in his deliver but he’s big and strong and can defend well.

In the middle I have gone with a young pairing of Rami and Koscienly, Laurent who was signed for Arsenal has had a meteoric rise in the last 2 years from Tours to the Emirates, I would not bet against him pulling on the national jersey and excelling at this level too, beside him is a young player that’s impressed me loads in the past few years, Rami has been a rock in Lille’s defence for the last few years, constantly linked with moves to various clubs, mostly Lyon, he is great in the air, fast over the ground, and not afraid to get a boot in.

A strong back four, with youthful exuberance, power and pace, with the wise head of Landreau behind to keep them right.

The midfield will play with 2 sitting players and 3 attacking, my sitting players have been 2 of the best midfielders in France recently the tenacious Rio Mavuba and one of the best young midfielders in Europe Moussa Sissokho, Rio has been superb for Lille ever since his loan move from Villarreal, he’s added a needed composure on the ball, most Lille moves go through him, the brains behind Rudi Garcia’s successful team, Sissokho is a very talented very sought after man, often compared to Mamadou Diarra and Patrick Vieria, Moussa can play anywhere in midfield, I want him to provide the energy in defence as well as attack.

Jimmy Briand shows his pace

My attacking players bring not only a balance to the team but also a touch of mystique and creativity, Hatem Ben Arfa, Lassana Diarra and Jimmy Briand, Hatem and Lass don’t come with the best reputation for their attitudes but no one can deny their ability on the field, Lass provides an attacking option however he can also swap with Sissokho when the big man breaks forward, great distributor of the ball, great feet, would be an excellent spearhead to the attack, to the left of him would be Ben Arfa, undoubted skill, great confidence, maybe not as consistent as the top managers would like, however on his day he is up there with the best, to the right of Lass would be Lyon’s new signing Jimmy Briand “The new Henry” loves to play wide and cut inside, explosive pace, scores goals, a wonderful young talent, a handful for any defence, accustomed to playing wide at Rennes, we would be perfect in this role for Les Bleus.

The front man in my attack is not a well known player outside France and is actually still to decide if he wants to play for Blanc and the French but Kevin Gameiro’s 17 league goals last year was the best strike rate in France, also eligible to play for Portugal but he has come up through the French ranks, made his name at Strasbourg he was bought by Lorient to replace Andre-Pierre Gignac and his 28 goals in 2 seasons has certainly done the job, not the tallest player however he uses his body well and has that sixth sense some strikers have to find space, and he is deadly around the box.

What about Nasri and Benzema I hear you cry, very good questions, Benzema basically purely on form, he’s not made the jump to Madrid very smoothly and I feel the other players are ahead of him on that reason and with Nasri, if we were 5/6 weeks into the new season then maybe I would play him instead Diarra or Ben Arfa however a few preseason goals mean nothing to me.

I will be very interested to see Blanc’s squad on the 5th of August, even more interested to see how many I got right, and how close his team is to mine; I would leave to hear your thoughts on this, so please feel free to reply.

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