Friday, June 20, 2008

Raymond Domenech - LEAVE, please, just go away!

Well, going into this Euro 2008, I didn't think that France had that great of a chance, honestly. With Henry and Viera hurt, and the great Zizou no longer a fixture on the national team, I though France's chances were pretty dim.

Still, thought they might have been able to advance to the knockout stage.

But, of course, we didn't!

After watching the three disastrous games, there was a number of places that one could see faults.

The most noticeable change I saw on the field was the lack of leadership. In the past, Zidane was not just a great player, but a field marshall as well. He would tell his players were to go, what to do and he would argue bad calls. Basically, he would be a 'part' of the game, not just a player in the game.

This time, there was no leadership. Nobody as really stood up and said 'hey, I want to be the leader of this team'. Whenever France was called for a foul, the players rarely argued the call. That is the difference between the Zizou and the post-Zizou era.

But to say the lack of leadership is the reason that France did horrible would just be a joke.

Ninety percent of the reason that France lost was Raymond Domenech!

So, bear with me while I stand on my soapbox and let it all out.

First....player selection! Did anyone else question this line up? Well, lets just look at the players that Domenech sent and did send.

David Trezeguet? Where was he? Is he still alive? You would have to wonder if he was if you watch the French national team with regularity. This was the man who had the golden goal that lead France to their Euro 2000 Championship. But Domenech just doesn't want the guy to play. Why? Is it that there is a rift between Henry and Trezegeut? Who knows? Still, where was France's 3rd all-time goal scorer?

Nicholas Anelka? Why was HE there. I can understand why Henry, Benzema and Gomis were selected to the team. Buy why Anelka? He has proven nothing on the international level. He doesn't have great skills. He is a ball hog, and always tries to do everything himself (though one can say the same about Henry as well). Still, this guy shouldn't ever be allowed near the French national team!

Who should have been on the squad? Well, let me list them: Trezegeut, Djibril Cissé, Givet and Silvestre would be a great addition to the team.

Who shouldn't be on the squad? Here ya go: Anelka, Francois Clerc and, yes, I hate to say it, Gregory Coupet.

I have always been a Coupet fan, but I think his age has caught up with him. He rarely moved. I just stood there and just watch the goals scored on him. While, on the other hand, Mickael Landreau (who I feel should be the starting goaltender) wasn't even put on the squad.

So, that is just who should have been there and who shouldn't have been there with the players that were either on the squad or recent call-ups. But there are other players that Domenech hasn't even looked at but have turned heads in France. Some of these players are Mamadou Niang of Marseille, Rafik Saifi of Lorient and Johan Audel (I'm going out on a limb on this one) would all be great additions to the team.

But it wasn't just the selections, it was Domenech's choice of starters as well. Game three, against Italy, he doesn't start Willy Sangol? WHAT? That doesn't make any sense whatsoever.

So who replaces him? Francois Clerc? Clerc for Sangol? CRAZY! That is nearly as crazy as me trying to trade Tom Brady for Rex Grossman in my fantasy football league. That god my friends put some sense into me. But it seems nobody is putting Domenech in his place.

Alright, honestly, I could go on for hours. I can blame many people. I can blame Arnese Wenger, teaching Henry to make his goals look 'pretty'. Thanks to that kind of teaching, Henry kicks the goal over the net instead of an easy goal in the net that would have changed the dynamics of the French-Holland game.

Ok, ok, I will quit now! The main point here....get rid of Domenech NOW. Don't wait, can his ass.

And while I have heard a lot that Didier Deschamps is pretty much the front runner, I think the FFF should strongly look at Laurent Blanc as well.

Perrin out, Puel in at Lyon

After a season which saw Olympique Lyonnais win their unprecedented seventh straight title, Alain Perrin has decided to step down as the team's coach in favor of moving the team in a 'different direction'.

Replacing him at the helm at Lyon will be former AS Monaco and Lille manager Claude Puel.

Puel was among a list of two other top managers that Lyon was looking at. The other two were Didier Deschamps (who many have linked with possibly taking over the French national team) and current Bordeaux manager Laurent Blanc.

Lyon gave Puel many options, like picking an entirely new coaching staff, if he liked. Instead, Puel decided to work with the current staff. One member that he did bring over from Lille is Patrick Collot.

The pressure will now be on Puel, who will have to fill in at one of the most important jobs in French football.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Transfer deadline bring stars to Ligue 1

It was a busy last few days for the transfer market, and some decent players made their way to Ligue 1.

The most notable transfer is Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert from PSV to Lille. Kluivert, the all time leading Ductch national team scorer, joined Lille at an undisclosed amount. After moving from top team to to team, like the powerhouses A.C. Milan and Barcelona (along with stints at Newcastle, Ajax and Valencia), this will be Kluivert's first time in French competition.

Paris St. Germain also dipped into the foreign transfer market by signing Brazilian Ceara from Internacional. The Brazilian will join the club on a three year contract.

Auxerre also picked up Nantes Kenyan striker Denis Oliech. A player that showed a lot of promise when he joined Ligue 1, he is now going to a side that is near relegation.

Sochaux have pick up two players at the transfer deadline. Fabrice Pancrate, who PSG haven't been using this year, will find a spot at Sochaux. The team also picked up Gonzalo Vargas from Monaco. This should give Sochaux some scoring power, as they have struggled to score goal this season, with only four.

In addition to these transfers, Sochaux also grabbed former French U-21 international defender Damien Perquis from Saint-Etienne on loan with the option for a permanent move.

Earlier in the week, Monaco have agreed the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Nene from relegated Spanish club Celta Vigo for a fee of around €7m. The 26-year-old winger is expected to sign a two-year contract with the French side. Nene is new Monaco coach Ricardo Gomes's second signing following the arrival of Lyon defender Jeremy Berthod.

Monaco has also signed Brazilian defender Adriano from Italian side Atalanta.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Domenech calls up 24 Players from Ligue 1

Even though many of the superstars of Les Bleus are in other countries, Ligue 1 has their share of players, which will make up the majority of their side in the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Italy and Scotland.

Here is the French squad that has been called up by Domenech:

Goalkeepers Mickaël Landreau (PSG) Sébastien Frey (Fiorentina) Ulrich Ramé (Bordeaux)

Defenders Eric Abidal (Barcelona) François Clerc (Lyon) Julien Escudé (Séville) Patrice Evra (Manchester United) William Gallas (Arsenal) Philippe Mexès (Roma) Bakary Sagna (Arsenal) Lilian Thuram (Barcelona)

Midfielders Alou Diarra (Bordeaux) Lassana Diarra (Chelsea) Claude Makelele (Chelsea) Samir Nasri (Marseille) Jérémy Toulalan (Lyon) Patrick Vieira (Inter Milan)

Strikers Nicolas Anelka (Bolton) Karim Benzema (Lyon) Sidney Govou (Lyon) (pictured)Thierry Henry (Barcelona) Florent Malouda (Chelsea) Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich) David Trezeguet (Juventus)

French Matchday 6 results

Earlier in the day, Marseille continued their losing ways in a 2-0 loss to Nice.

The question was if Lyon would continue their unpredicted slide against second-to-last place Sochaux. The answer was a 2-1 win for Lyon. The Lyon goals were scored by Mathieu Bodmer and Karim Benzema. This was Benzema's 4th goal this season.

While the Ligue 1 site is saying that "Lyon is back into championship form", I say don't look too much into this victory. They were against a horrible Sochaux team that is poised for relegation. Lyon doesn't have a top team to play until they play Bordeaux in October. They do though, however, have a match against Le Mans next week. This could jump Lyon over Le Mans. And with Lyon's next matches being against Metz and Lille, there is a highly possibility that they will be contending for the lead in the league table.

Rennes continue to impress with a 2-0 win over Auxerre. Auxerre currently has a -11 goal differential, which is leading to many of their problems. Still, Rennes is having a quiet, successful season. Stephane Mbia and Jimmy Briand scored the two Rennes goals. Newly acquired Sylvain Wiltord came in as a sub at half-time.

Paris St. Germain scored their first victory of the year with a win over a good Le Mans team. Le Mans, with a victory, could have been tied for the league lead, but PSG had other plans. Sylvain Armand and Amara Diane scored the two PSG goals. This victory moves PSG to 13th in the Ligue 1 table, with their next game being against the stuggling Marseille.

Monaco defeated Lille 1-0. Monaco continues to have an impressive year, possibly returning to their 2000 form. This match saw a lot of physical action with six yellows being shown. Frédéric Piquionne scored his 4th goal of the season for AS Monaco FC.

Bordeaux defeated Metz 1-0 on a goal by Alou Diarra.

And finally Saint Etienne defeated Strasbourg 2-0. Strasbourg look to be a possible Cinderella story in Ligue 1 this year, and they still could be. But this defeat moves Strasbourg to 7th in the table with 10 points.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Marseille loses again

The final whistle has just blown in Marseille and l'Oheme has lost again.

The final score was 2-0, with Nice being the victors.

Vincent Hognon and David Hellebuyck scored the two Nice goals.

Boudewijn Zenden was a sub in this match and was called on in the 60th minute.

Marseille has still not been able to score goal, now scoring only five goals in six matches.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Wiltord calls Lyon chairman 'ridiculous'

RENNES, France (AFP) - Sylvain Wiltord has launched a bitter attack on his former Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas following the two month saga over his transfer to Rennes.

"From time to time Mr Aulas went too far," Wiltord told Friday's L'Equipe newspaper.

"He didn't have to feel the need to speak out every time he saw a microphone. He'd have been better off speaking to me to sort out any problems, he's been ridiculous," the France international added.

Wiltord was particularly annoyed by an incident back in April when he felt he was unfairly singled out by Aulas for partying with other teammates before a French League game with Rennes.

Wiltord also took exception to the way Aulas handled his protracted move to Rennes.

"People aren't stupid. With him (Aulas) one time it's pink, one time black, one time it's blue one time it's green. He should keep quiet, and not only with me."Wiltord added: "Mr Aulas said once that the only player he'd ben prepared to offer a lifetime contract to was Eric Abidal.

But when Eric left for Barcelona, not just any club, he said that he'd made too many defensive errors. I leave you to act as judge on that.

"The 33-year-old striker, who has won 92 caps for France and made 125 appearances for Rennes from 1991-97, will earn 150,000 euros a month back at his old club, a significant salary cut from his days at Lyon.