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Old 30-07-2007, 02:33 PM
Roman Abramovich Roman Abramovich is offline
 
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Default The Official French League Thread

psg to win the league 14-1.
great. i mean great. i mean super odds.
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Originally Posted by liam2me View Post
read the whole thread then come back to me and tell me who's the 'daw' (WTF is a daw anyway?) actually don't bother.
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  #2  
Old 30-07-2007, 02:34 PM
Edmund Blackwater Edmund Blackwater is offline
 
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Throw up psg's squad there.
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  #3  
Old 30-07-2007, 03:35 PM
AmadeusDC AmadeusDC is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roman Abramovich View Post
psg to win the league 14-1.
great. i mean great. i mean super odds.
Jaysis Roman, I've been following PSG to some degree since the early 90's and the one thing I know is to NEVER bet on them. No matter how perfect it looks they'll fuck it up........ (the odds are tempting though).

-AmadeusDC-
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  #4  
Old 30-07-2007, 03:46 PM
ebenezer ebenezer is offline
 
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If your punting on the French league, look no further than backing under 1.5 goals or a draw yankee.
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  #5  
Old 30-07-2007, 03:56 PM
afeencalleddan afeencalleddan is offline
 
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PSG were rubbish last season but I think they made one or two signings and more importantly appointed Le Guen as manager. He was a legend of a player for them and he has the Ligue 1 pedigree as manager with Lyon. 14/1 seems a fairly decent price alright and Lyon seem very short at around 1/2.

Lyon do look a little bit vulnerable this season after another change of manager and the loss of several big names. I know Perrin looked shit when he was with Portsmouth but he has a decent enough record in France with smaller clubs. He brought Troyes from obscurity to ligue 1 and won the cup with Sochaux last season. Still though, he hasn't ever won a league title so the Lyon situation will definitely be worth monitoring.
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  #6  
Old 30-07-2007, 03:56 PM
lionelhutz lionelhutz is offline
 
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didn't they finish just above the drop zone last season? waste of money.
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  #7  
Old 30-07-2007, 04:14 PM
afeencalleddan afeencalleddan is offline
 
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Originally Posted by ebenezer View Post
If your punting on the French league, look no further than backing under 1.5 goals or a draw yankee.
The Eircom league has been just as bad, if not worse, this season.
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  #8  
Old 02-08-2007, 11:33 AM
Sound Sound is offline
 
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Vive la revolution!'Paul Marshall
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France may be the country that 'invented' the revolution, but even by their own high standards, the machinations of the Ligue 1 close season have almost been on an equal footing with anything that kicked off in 1789.



GettyImages
Florent Malouda has swapped Lyon for Chelsea this season.

Off-field intrigue involving ministers of state, the threat of a players' strike narrowly averted, the figurative guillotine falling on a host of bosses and all the usual hustle and bustle of the summer transfer window have meant there is more than your usual fair share of column inches to fill.

However, for the seventh consecutive season, the question remains: Can anyone stop Lyon cantering to the title before November?

A record 17-point gap between the champions and second-placed Marseille last season does not bode well for a thrilling climax to the coming campaign.

But like in all the best spy novels, the enemy - this time - may well come from within. Like every summer, hands are being wrung around the country as the best French talent heads for more lucrative climes, and even Lyon are no exception.

Former Chelsea man Tiago has shuffled over the border to Juventus, while the double departure of left-back Eric Abidal to Barcelona and Florent Malouda to join his former Guingamp team-mate Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge means Lyon's left flank is now even weaker than that of New Labour.

The arrival of Fabio Grosso from Inter Milan to replace Abidal is designed to fill that particular void and if the Italian can recapture his World Cup-winning form and avoid dropping off during 90 minutes as his predecessor had a tendency to do, then he will do well.

A bigger question mark hangs over the head of 20-year-old Hatem Ben Arfa, for whom the 'highly-rated' tag has been bandied about in carefree fashion for just a tad too long.

Ben Arfa must now stand up and be counted as the 'new Malouda' or Lyon will delve its grubby hand into the rather large pot of cash whipped up by their recent stock market flotation to lure Jerome Rothen away from Paris Saint Germain.

There is even concern over new boss Alain Perrin, formerly of Portsmouth.

Back in 2002, the candidature of Perrin - then an up-and-coming coach at humble Troyes - to replace Jacques Santini at Stade Gerland provoked former Lyon legend Bernard Lacombe to say: "How can you give the keys of a Ferrari to someone who's used to driving a Citroen 2CV?"

Lacombe was (and ominously for Perrin still is) special advisor to Lyon club president Jean-Michel Aulas, and with Perrin's list of clubs since that quote (Marseille, Al-Aïn, Portsmouth & Sochaux) hardly reading like a list of top-of-the-range models, the new man in charge clearly has to prove he won't make a sow's ear out of a silk purse.

Admittedly, in winning the pre-season Peace Cup in South Korea - beating Bolton in the final - and seeing off his old team Sochaux in the Champions Trophy (the French Community Shield) last weekend, Perrin has made a smooth start, but the jury remains out.

Perrin though is apparently planning on installing a revolutionary transfer policy, turning his back on the strategy that saw the club nab Milan Baros last season, by announcing he wants "a centre-forward who scores goals."

Nicolas Anelka and Louis Saha are those rumoured to be in Lyon's sights, as the club finds itself with just three strikers in the first-team frame: Baros, the promising but youthful Karim Benzema and the wilful, yet currently injured, Fred.

While Benzema looks a real gem, Baros' consistent failure to find the net suggests he may be better off taking up tennis, while Brazilian Fred - undoubtedly a talent - may soon be heading for pastures new having swanned off to the Copa America without the club's permission, then breaking his foot and deciding Brazilian medics rather than his full-time employers know how best to heal him.


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Sylvain Wiltord is unhappy at Lyon, but will stay another year.

Perrin has also had to iron out dressing-room unrest with Sylvain Wiltord initially failing to turn up for the pre-season tour to South Korea, while the new boss umpired a manly chat between Sidney Govou and Juninho following Govou's accusation that there was one rule for 'Juni' and one for the rest, leading the Brazilian to turn in the captain's armband in a huff.

On the plus-side, perpetual whinge-bag Alou 'I played in the World Cup final, don't you know?' Diarra has been flogged to Bordeaux, France number one Gregory Coupet has signed a contract extension and Lyon have added to their ranks by again snapping up the best talent Ligue 1 has to offer.

In addition to Nadir Belhadj from relegated Sedan, Mathieu Bodmer and Abdulkader Keita have taken the TGV down from Lille, even if at a combined 24million euros the duo are overpriced and, while their potential is undeniable, they still have much to prove in both the Champions League and Le Championnat.

That leaves rather too many question marks hanging over the squad to be totally confident.

Lyon may still give sub-editors the chance to trot out their 'Seventh Heaven' headlines, but count on it being closer than the last two seasons.

The most impressive of the challengers looks to be Marseille, for whom the phrase 'flatter to deceive' has been a club motto in recent seasons, but who - under the steadying influence of president Pape Diouf - are finally acting more like a football club and less like the sporting equivalent of 'The Godfather.'

Loyal to their recent past, the 1993 European Cup winners have been highly active in the transfer market, but contrary to tradition, have bought wisely and, most importantly, sold with equal level-headedness.

When the lederhosen-clad bürgers of Bayern Munich stepped in with a rather large cheque for 25million euros for Frank Ribery, OM ignored the protests of their fervent supporters, said 'Danke schön,' quickly cashed it in and then set about picking up some rather useful players and Boudewijn Zenden.

Despite a Champions League final display for Liverpool so colourless he must have convinced viewers they were watching in black-and-white, the not-so-flying Dutchman's stints at Barcelona and Chelsea - less so Middlesbrough - mean he adds badly-needed European experience to the club's Champions League campaign.

The Anfield connection does not end there with Djibril Cissé having turned down Bolton to play for "the club [he] supported as a boy" in exchange for an eight-million-euro-sized wad of used banknotes, and Benoit Cheyrou - brother of ex-'Pool flop, Bruno from Auxerre. Incredibly the club were not put off by his older sibling's lack of big-club success in England nor, even more incredibly, by Benoit's revelation that the favourite minstrel on the Cheyrou i-Pod is R Kelly.

For all his lack of success in England and the singular lack of a decent first touch, Cissé's goalscoring record of 78 goals in 149 Ligue 1 games means he should provide a goal threat, while the addition of Cheyrou alongside the tenacious Lorik Cana in central midfield should allow Samir 'the new Zidane' Nasri the chance to show enough of his talent to provoke someone to offer an obscenely large amount of cash for his services this time next year.

With Ribery gone, Nasri - Marseille born-and-bred like the headbutt-happy Zizou - will be the creative focal point of the team, and despite looking young enough to have to ask his parents' permission to be allowed out for an evening kick-off, his smooth osmosis into the French national squad suggests the 20-year-old is up to the task.


GettyImages
Nasri: Pipped as the 'new Zidane' in France.

With World Cup final sub Gael Givet enjoying a reunion with Julien Rodriguez - a centre-back pairing which helped Monaco to the Champions League final in 2004 - and captain Habib Beye shunning the 'come hither' looks of the Premiership, OM look to have a squad capable of ironing out the rollercoaster form which saw them fall away last season even as Lyon stuttered.

With Toulouse likely to be stretched paper-thin should they reach the Champions League group phase, and Paris Saint Germain still rebuilding under Paul Le Guen expect Rennes - who have recruited the experienced Mikael Pagis and Jerome Leroy - to make a sustained push for a top-three finish.

The main theme of the summer though has been a managerial merry-go-round the scale of which would have had Barnum and Bailey drooling.

No fewer than seven top-flight clubs will start the season on August 4 with a new man in charge, one being Lens who coaxed Guy Roux away from homely Auxerre after more than four decades, even if the 68-year-old needed government intervention to overturn a league ruling preventing pensioners from coaching a top-flight side.

The most intriguing sowing of new initials on training kit, though, is that of the 'LB' of Laurent Blanc, who has been given his first coaching role at Bordeaux.

A silky world-class defender, Blanc's footballing credentials should ensure Bordeaux are a far more attractive - if not necessarily effective - proposition than they were under Ricardo, the Brazilian who has taken his no-nonsense samba-less strategy off to Monaco.

But with his squad amputated of international duo Rio Mavuba and Julien Faubert - who have headed for Villarreal and West Ham respectively - and having already had a public slanging match with his club president, the head of 'Le President' may soon be the first on the chopping block.
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2007, 12:48 AM
ho chi feen ho chi feen is offline
 
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Is this the end of the line for Lyon?

After six titles on the spin, Lyon may finally be tamed when the new French season gets under way.


August 2, 2007 5:03 PM
This time last year all the talk in French football was still about a butt in the chest. Now it's about a shot in the arm. Because that's what the country's top flight needs after a season in which Lyon chugged to a sixth successive title with unhealthy ease while all the other big sides were held back by strategic straitjackets (hello Bordeaux), suicidal signings or squabbling (Nantes, Monaco, Saint Etienne), chronic inconsistency (Lille, Lens, Auxerre, Marseille) or some strange, recently-diagnosed neurosis whose symptoms can range from any of the above to writhing around at rock bottom. Something doctors dub PSGitis.

But Paul Le Guen may have found a miracle cure for that condition - and that's just one of the reasons why this season promises to be more entertaining than last. On the surface that statement may seem rasher than a strip of bacon; after all:

* For the severalth summer in succession, a slew of top talent (Florent Malouda, Franck Ribéry, Younes Kaboul, Yaya Touré, Seydou Keita, Ismael Bangoura, etc) has defected to richer leagues.

* The fact that eight of the league's 20 teams changed manager over the summer (the second-highest turnover ever) doesn't exactly suggest owners are embracing sensible stability.

But that only tells half the story. Plenty of exciting players have opted to stay in Ligue 1 despite being serenaded from aboard, notably outstanding youngsters such as Samir Nasri (OM), Jérémy Menez (Monaco), Bafé Gomis (Saint Etienne) and Toulouse's Swedish striker Johan Elmander. And, as Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas repeatedly points out, the champions have replaced Barcelona-bought Eric Abidal with Italian World Cup winner Fabio Grosso.

What's more, there's been method to the movement of managers. And discovering whether they were fine or flawed methods will be one of the most fascinating features of the season. Will the virginal Laurent Blanc blemish his blank managerial sheet at Bordeaux? Will promoted Strasbourg survive after ditching another French playing legend, Jean-Pierre Papin, and replacing him with Jean-Marc Furlan, whose attacking philosophy is expected to please fans more than Papin's dull pragmatism, but whose most recent claim to fame is that last season he guided Troyes to ... relegation?

If Strasbourg's decision sounds odd, then Monaco's removal of Laurent Banide was monstrous. Having replaced Lazlo Boloni at the helm last season after the would-be title contenders lost eight of their first nine games, Banide steadied the ship, rescued them from relegation, steered them on a late-season surge that took them up to ninth, and was rewarded with the boot. So Monaco went in search of their sixth manager in less than two years and, bizarrely, opted for Ricardo, the Brazilian whose sepulchral style of football bored Bordeaux fans to death over the last two seasons despite delivering a Champions League berth (in 2006) and the League Cup (last season). You'd be forgiven for deducing that, since Monaco have sod all fans, style doesn't matter to them - but Ricardo's been told otherwise and, hey presto, insists he's going to abandon his Bordeaux beliefs and go for all-out attack. And with sparkling youngsters such as 20-year-olds Menez, Serge Gakpé and Juan Pablo Pino and late bloomer Frédéric Piquionne, that approach could well bring success. Or a seventh manager in two years.

Another side worth training your camera on are Lens. After Francis Gillot decided management was no fun, the Blood and Gold found him a different job and lured the legendary Guy Roux out of retirement. This season, then, we'll get to see whether the coaching guru can work his wizardry anywhere other than at Auxerre, where he wielded his wand for over 40 years. He won't be helped by the sale of Seydou Keita to Sevilla, or the fact that most of his attacking players will head off to the African Nations Cup for at least a month. But with his penchant for powerful attacking and pithy quips, it'll certainly be entertaining.

Of course, the most significant managerial change was at Lyon, where Alain Perrin has replaced Gérard Houllier, who shuffled out of Stade Gerland after somehow blending back-to-back titles with a strong sense of underachievement. Is Perrin the right man to perpetuate their domestic dominance while, despite the loss of several key players and his own lack of Champions League experience, elevating them to a higher European plain?

Possibly. Perrin is sometimes caricatured as a shouty disciplinarian and though there's no doubt he's a stickler for detail (recently, for example, he expelled new signing Mathieu Bodmer from training for misdirecting three consecutive corners), he's evolved since his stint at Marseille and he's clearly become a subtle man-manager. Otherwise he wouldn't have been able to reinvigorate the careers of mercurial magicians Jérôme Leroy and Karim Ziani last season, when he guided Sochaux to sixth place in the league and glory in the cup. He can be relied upon, then, not to be cack-handed enough to divide the dressing room as Houllier did.

Perrin's treatment of playmaker Juninho, with whom Houllier forged a sort of Sven-Goran Eriksson/David Beckham relationship, will be intriguing. The political aspect shouldn't be too problematic, as the Brazilian's no prima donna and, as a sop to the team-mates who complained about his influence, has relinquished the captaincy. What's more interesting, then, is the positional aspect.

For the last four years Lyon have played in the 4-3-3 system originally conceived by Le Guen. In it, Juninho has been supported by two midfielders who do most of the labouring so he can concentrate on artistry. But Perrin is devoted to 4-4-2, reasoning that it allows for much faster and fluid attacking even if it means no longer monopolising possession. He's played this formation for all the pre-season games, including last week's exhilarating Coupe des Champions (equivalent of the Community Shield) victory over Sochaux. Juninho wasn't available for those games: when he returns, how will he fit into the side's new shape? Could the team's talisman actually be squeezed out?

Of course, playing with two up front also demands having two decent strikers, and it's far from certain that Lyon will meet that criteria. Nineteen-year-old France international Karim Benzema is looking every inch the new Nicolas Anelka, but Milan Baros is the same old Milan Baros and Fred, afflicted by injury, personal problems and an obvious desire for a transfer, only reluctantly returned from Brazil this week. Sidney Govou or their explosive new signing from Lille, Abdelkader Keita, could be deployed up front, but both are more effective out wide. Lyon are desperately seeking another option.

Replacing Malouda, Ligue 1's Player of the Year last season, on the left is also tricky. Twenty-year-old Hatem Ben Arfa is promising but unproven; Keita could go there but is better on the right; so the best choice may be Algerian international Nadir Belhadj, who was a wonderful buccaneering full-back at Sedan last season but, by dint of his defensive dodgyness and the arrival of Grosso, may be best deployed in a more advanced role. But that's not for sure; and the freakish injury to Grégory Coupet in training - which is expected to rule the keeper out for four months - adds further doubt to the champions' ability to defend their title.

As it happens, if Lyon wobble, the team most likely to leapfrog them is one who haven't changed their manager. We're not talking about Elie Baup's Toulouse, who, despite clinging on to Elmander (fending off Lyon, among others) and adding Andre-Pierre Gignac, don't have the squad to cope with a title challenge and a Champions League run, particularly as injuries mean they're likely to start the season with a depleted defence. Lille may still have Claude Puel but their playing staff is in more disrepair than their stadium. And the losses of John Utaka and Jacques Faty will ruin Rennes's chances of repeating last season's surprising run, even if the canny captures of Leroy and Mikael Pagis mean they'll be well worth watching.

PSG may not have bought in much new blood (though Zoumana Camara will plug the gap left by David Rozenhal) but, crucially, Le Guen convinced Sylvain Armand and Jérôme Rothen to stay and the manager's steadying influence appears to be bringing out the best in players hitherto beset by fear and confusion. For how much longer 34-year-old Pauleta can prosper, however, is uncertain.
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Old 03-08-2007, 12:48 AM
ho chi feen ho chi feen is offline
 
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So the most obvious challengers are Marseille, notwithstanding the fact that, following last season's promising second place, tradition demands they self-destruct. But they've already bucked one trend by not sacking their manager in the summer, so the signs are good. Particularly as that manager is Albert Emon. Installed last season ostensibly to perform the caretaker role for the fourth time, Emon won over the Vélodrome with a vibrant attacking style. That, combined with the team's recovery from a mid-season slump, convinced the club's rulers to try stability for a change. What's more, despite the comical collapse of Jack Kachkar's attempted takeover of the club, OM have been able to fund a serious, uncharacteristically shrewd spending spree.

None of the arrivals (least of all Bolo Zenden) can replace the searing, match-changing brilliance of Ribéry, but the side still boasts plenty of creativity. The prospect of the freshly-arrived Ziani conniving with Nasri is truly mouth-watering for anyone distraught by OM's 15-year trophy-drought (and dignified enough to overlook the Intertoto trinket). Backed up by the efficient probing of Benoît Cheyrou, they will surely conjure enough chances for Djibril Cissé to squander shedloads yet still top the scoring charts. At the back, Habib Beye and Taye Taiwo remain and Gaël Givet, freed from the morosity of Monaco, should form a solid centre with Julien Rodriguez; and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda will provide competition for the sometimes complacent Cédric Carrasso.

Lyon may finally be tamed.
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