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.

Valenciennes defeats Lorient 3-1

In a match between two of Ligue 1's Cinderella teams, Valenciennes defeated Lorient 3-1 to take a share of the Ligue 1 table top spot with Nancy.

Going into tonight's game, Lorient had a one point lead over their opponents, but Valenciennes proved to be too much.

Gregory Pujol scored two of Valenicennes' goals, while Sebestian Roudet scored the third goal in the 88th minute of the match.

Lorient's lone goal was scored by defender Sylvain Marchal.

Valenciennes has done a great job in producing goals this year. Striker Johan Audel is amongst the goal scoring leaders. But along with Audel's contributions, the team has spread their goal scoring to make Valenciennes more of a credible threat.

Unlike Valenciennes, Lorient has relied on very few goal scorers this year. Both Marama Vahirua and Rakif Saifi have scored four goals this season. But beyond these two players, the goal scoring seems to be few and far between.

This was one of many tests for both of these teams. With traditional powerhouses Lyon, Marseille and Monaco winning last week, it will be up to these type of Cinderella teams to keep up with the pace. Both of these teams, along with Nancy and Strasbourgh have shown they can be real contenders.

The question is; will these teams last until the end, or will they falter to the likes of Lyon and Marseille? Only time will tell.

Next week, Valenciennes plays Metz as home which should be an easy victory. Lorient, on the other hand, play against Strasburg in the Stade de la Meinau in what should be a highly watched game.

French League Cup Results

Nantes won the battle between two of last season's Ligue 1 participants with a 1-0 win over Sedan at home, Claudiu Keseru scoring the game's only goal in the 60th minute.

Troyes beat Gueugnon 2-0 thanks to a brace from Yahia Kebe with Grenoble, third in Ligue 2 losing 1-0 away to Niort.

The biggest win of the evning came at Laval with the host team winning 3-1 over island outfit Bastia. Other Corsican team Ajaccio also lost, 2-1 at home to Clermont, a double from Rudy Carlier proving the difference.

Both Le Havre and Boulogne recorded 2-0 victories over Châteauroux and Reims respectively while Montpellier, Brest and Amiens all won on penalties after extra-time.

The draw for the third round of the League Cup, the stage at which the Ligue 1 clubs enter, will take place on Friday, August 31 at 13:00 (CET). Eighteen of the 20 top-tier clubs will go into the hat with Lyon and Marseille receiving byes to the last 16 due to their participation in the UEFA Champions League.

The next round take place on September 25, 2007.

League Cup, Second Round Results(For match details, please click here)
Nantes 1 Sedan 0
Le Havre 2 Châteauroux 0
Montpellier 1 Dijon 1(Montpellier win 4-1 on penalties aet)
Troyes 2Gueugnon 0
Amiens 1Guingamp 1(Amiens win 3-2 on penalties aet)
Ajaccio 1 Clermont 2
Boulogne 2 Reims 0
Niort 1 Grenoble 0
Sète 2 Brest 2 (Brest win 6-5 on penalties)
Laval 3 Bastia 1

Toulouse destroyed by Liverpool

While Toulouse only lost 1-0 in the first game of this qualifying series with Liverpool, they were totally owned in the second game played in England.

Dirk Kuyt scored two goals, while Peter Crouch and Sami Hyypia added their own goals as well in Liverpool's 4-0 win.

With the pressure off of Toulouse to perform in the Champions League, maybe their attention will be more focused on Ligue 1, where they are currently in the bottom half of the table.

Qualifying for the Champions League might have saved Toulouse this week. Their game against Ligue 1 leader Nancy, which was to take place Wednesday, has been rescheduled.

France U-17 Team Advances in World Cup

Even though they lost to Nigeria and tied with Haiti, France's U-17 team advances in the U-17 World Cup in Korea.

In their first game, France lost to Nigeria 2-1. France had the advantages in shots, not cards and eleven corners to Nigeria's two. Still, it was Nigeria that was able to dent the net more than France. France's lone goal came from Bordeaux's 16-year-old Henri Saivet.

Their second game should have been an easy win against Haiti. But France ended up being locked with a 1-1 tie with their former colony.

Again, France had dominated most of the game. But inthe 57th minute, Badis Lebbihi was sent off. This prevented France from scoring again, though they dominated the game with 57% possession. Rennes prospect Damien Le Tallac scored the goal for France.

The third game was the one that eventually assured a place to the next round with a 2-1 win over Japan. Said Mehamha and Emmanuel Riviere socred for France which, again, dominated their opponents.

In the next round, France will take on Tunisia on September 1st. So far France's results haven't been what they should be. But with 23 shots on goal for three games, France will eventually sink some of those balls in.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rennes sign Wiltord, Anderson to Lyon

With some of the top teams in Ligue 1 faltering this year, Rennes FC might see this as their chance to strike.

Rennes as accuired French international striker Sylvain Wiltord fron struggling Lyon for a 1.5 million Euro transfer fee.

Wiltord, who has 92 caps for Les Bleus, will be a valuable asset to Rennes.

In addition to letting Wiltord go, Lyon has signed Brazilian defender Anderson for a 4 million Euro transfer fee.
Finally, Valenciennes seems to be making the best of their opportunities on this pitch this year. After being promoted, Valenciennes looks poised to finish midtable. But maybe they have higher goals. This week, Valenciennes loaned Slovak international Filip Šebo from Glasgow Rangers.

Lens Sign Papin as coach

After a poor start to the 2007/08 season, Lens has fired coach Guy Roux as coach and replaced his with former French superstar Jean-Pierre Papin.

Papin took Strasbourgh to Ligue 1 last year, the team that Lens happened to lose to this past weekend.

Papin has proven with Strasbourgh that he can take a team the is struggling and help them on their feet. Though it will be hard to try to do that with Lens this year, which seems destined for the relegation zone.

Roux had come out of retirement to try to help Lens this year.

Domenech suspended for one match against Italy, of course!

French manager Raymond Domenech has been suspended for one match for remarks that he made earlier in the month in regards to to possible match fixing in a past under-21 match against Italy.

FIFA has imposed a one game ban against the French manager. The match that Domenech has been banned from is, well, yes, against Italy. He will not be on the bench for France (as of right now) for the Sept. 8th Euro 2008 qualifier against Italy in Milan. And with France leading Table B by two points over Italy, the loss will be felt.

But there is a chance that Domenech will be on the French side. The French Football Federation said they will meet with the French manager on Tuesday to discuss his side of the story. More than likely, the FFF will appeal the FIFA ban.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

French squad named for Slovakia friendly.

Here is the squad that has been called for the friendly against Slovakia on August 22nd. Most notable are the addition of David Trezeguet, Thierry Henry and Partick Vieira, who have not played for the national team in months. Here is the list for the friendly:

Sébastien FREY
A.C.F. Fiorentina
Paris SG
Ulrich RAME
F.C.G. Bordeaux
F.C. Sochaux

F.C. Barcelone
Juventus Turin
Zoumana CAMARA
François CLERC
Olympique Lyonnais
F.C. Séville
Patrice EVRA
Manchester United
William GALLAS
Arsenal F.C.
Olympique de Marseille
Philippe MEXES
A.S. Roma
Olympique Lyonnais
Bakary SAGNA
Arsenal F.C.
Manchester United
Olympique Lyonnais
F.C. Barcelone
Jonathan ZEBINA
Juventus Turin

F.C.G. Bordeaux
Lassana DIARRA
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea F.C.
Toulouse F.C.
Rio Antonio MAVUBA
Villarreal C.F.
Olympique de Marseille
F.C. Bayern Münich
Olympique Lyonnais
Patrick VIEIRA
Inter de Milan

Nicolas ANELKA
Bolton Wanderers
Olympique Lyonnais
Stade Rennais
Djibril CISSE
Olympique de Marseille
Thierry HENRY
F.C. Barcelone
A.S. Monaco
Juventus Turin

Weekend Roundup - Weekly Stars

Monaco 3 - Sochaux 0: Monaco seems to be one of the only teams holding to last years form, while Sochaux has gone from UEFA Cup first rounders last year to relegation zone contenders this year. This game against Monaco didn't help. Czech international Jan Koller scored in the 1st and virtually the last minute of the game, while former Sochaux midfielder Jérémy Menez scored a goal in the 57th minute.

Auxerre 1 - Caen 0: Toifilou Maoulida was the only scorer in this match between two bottom of the table teams.

Le Mans 1 - Lille 1: Le Mans winning streak ends at three as they tie Lille 1-1. Brazilian Grafite scored his second goal of the season while Nicholas Fauvergue scored for Lille. Le Mans is still in a three way tie for the Ligue 1 lead.

Lorient 2 - Lyon 1: Lyon has had a dismal year so far, and this loss to Lorient had to be the hardest to handle so far. Lorient midfielder/forward Marama Vahirau has been lighting it up for Lorient, scoring both goals for Lorient in this game and has a total of four goals for the season. Karim Benzema scored Lyon's only goal, and has scored two of Lyon's three goals this season.

Since the fist game, which as a 0-0 draw againt Lille, Lorient has been lighting up the scoreboard, scoring seven goals in three games against traditional powerhouses Monaco, PSG and Lyon. As for Lyon, scoring has been a problem this year, with only three goals so far for the 2007-08 season.

Metz 0 - PSG 0: Stuggling since 2004, PSG still haven't been able to put it together this season. After scoreless draws against relegation zoners Sochaux and Lens, and losing to surging Lorient, PSG has only scored one goal in four Ligue 1 matches. Their luck continued to be bad as they are held to another scoreless draw to last place Metz. Metz can consider this somewhat of a victory to a season that has started off horrible for them. This point, in fact, is the only point for Metz this season.

St. Etienne 0 - Bordeaux 0: St. Etienne missed a chance to gain some on the table leaders at home with a zero-zero draw against Bordeaux.

Strasbourgh 3 - Toulouse 1: Newly promoted Strasbourgh continues to impress with 3-1 victory on the road against Champions League side Toulouse. Nicholas Douchez has played horrible his start for Toulouse this year, allowing six goals in three games. Strasbourgh's offense continues to surge with goals Gabonese Eric Mouloungui, James Fanchone and Kevin Gamerio. The Toulouse goal was scored by André-Pierre Gignac.

Strasbourgh has a strong young team this year. If they continue on their current form, Strasbourgh could be a contender in Ligue 1 for some time.

Valenciennes 0 - Lens 0: Valenciennes lost their share of the Ligue 1 table lead with a zero-zero draw to relegation zoners Lens. Since being promoted, Valenciennes has shown they have what it take to defeat the big boys, beating Marseille and Toulouse this year.

Nice 1 - Rennes 1: These two midtable teams battles to a 1-1 tie. Jimmy Briand was the scorer for Rennes while Bakari Kone scored for Nice.

Marseille 2 - Nancy 2: Marseille blew a two goal lead to draw Nancy in Marseille 2-2. Marseille has been strugling this year, while Nancy is tie for the lead in Ligue 1. Mamadou Niang scored in the 22nd minute, and newly accuired Djibril Cisse scored in the 50th minute.

But later in the second half, Benjamin Gavonon scored on a penalty kick. Youssouf Hadji tied up the match in the 80th minute, and that is where things stood.

Ligue 1 Players of the Week:

First Star - Marama Vahirua (Lorient) - Vahirua tied Johan Audel and Tulio De Melo with two goals against powerhouse Lyon in Lorient's 2-1 victory over the champions.

Second Star - Jan Koller (Monaco) - Koller scored two goals against Sochaux, moving Monaco within three points of the Ligue 1 lead.

Third Star - Youssouf Hadji (Nancy) - Scored equalizer against Marseille, which help Nancy retain a first place tie in the Ligue 1 table.

Ligue 2 Results:
Angers 1 - Ajaccio 0
Bastia 1 - Gueugnon 0
Châteauroux 2 - Libourne St Seurin 0
Clermont 1 - Brest 0
Guingamp 4 - Boulogne 2
Reims 3 - Niort 1
Sedan 0 - Dijon 1
Amiens 1 - Grenoble 2
Montpellier 3 - Troyes 0

Domenech in hot water with FIFA.

France coach Raymond Domenech confirmed yesterday he faced a hearing by UEFA over controversial comments about refereeing he made in a newspaper interview last week.

In an interview with French daily Le Parisien, Domenech had accused Italy of bribing the referee of an under-21 international between France and Italy during the qualification campaign for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

UEFA president Michel Platini said Domenech should provide evidence to back up his allegations or face sanctions. "UEFA have asked for an inquiry," Domenech said. "I'll go there willingly."


Marco Materazzi Reveals All!

For the last year, we have been wondering what caused Zinedine Zidane to headbutt Italian Marco Materazzi in the final of the 2006 World Cup.

In a yet-to-be released autobiography, Materazzi said "I prefer the whore that is your sister" to Zizou, which lead to the infamous head-butt, which, many argue, caused France their second World Cup win in three tries.

Materazzi has appoligized to Zidane about the incident.

But this all come in the light of some recent remarks made by French skipper Raymond Domenech. In recent days, Domenech said that Materazzi should have been Man-of-the-Match for getting Zidane made enough to react, thus getting him sent off. While Demenech didn't directly attack Zidane, he did remark that the "the one who loses his control shows his weakness."

Moussilou to Marseille

Marseille have taken striker Matt Moussilou on loan from Nice with the option of a permanent transfer next summer. Marseille are hoping that the 25-year-old will bolster the team's offense, which has struggled since a knee injury sidelined striker Mamadou Niang at the beginning of the season. Moussilou made only seven league starts for Nice last term before being loaned to Saint-Etienne, where he scored 3 goals in 11 matches.