French Ligue 1 Matchday 8 Preview
Another week and another day of games in Ligue 1. Unlike the last few weeks where there have been quite a few large matchups, this week seems to be kind of a slow week in Ligue 1. While there are a few games that will be interesting, most should be pretty straight forward.
League leaders Bordeaux will hit the road against a struggling St. Etienne, while second place Lyon will be taking on Lens on the road. Even with Yoann Gourcuff missing today’s game, Bordeaux should not miss a beat against Les Verts. On the other hand, Lyon will see the return of Michel Bastos, after missing a few games. Lisandro Lopez is still out with a groin injury.
The game that most people will be watching will be Sunday’s match between Marseille and Monaco. So far, Monaco fans have been less than impressed with the play of Icelandic star Eidur Gudjohnsen. In an interview with the Ligue 1 site, Gudjohnsen has even admitted that play in France was a lot more challenging than he though.
“Ligue 1 is completely different to what I expected. It’s very tactical and physical with well organised teams that try and play a lot of counterattacking football. It’s not entirely surprising but last year I played for a team that averaged 70 per cent possession. I need to adapt as quickly as possible but I’m not worried,” said Gudjohnsen.
Along with losing last week to Valencienne on the road, Marseille suffered a midweek loss to Real Madrid by a score of 3-0. Even if there was a highly questionable foul called on Souleymane Diawara, which lead to his ejection and second Real goal, the loss leaves L’OM fans wondering if they really have a chance at winning Ligue 1.
The main problem with L’OM this year has been scoring goals. But after the Valencienne and Real Madrid games, allowing goals has been a problem as well. Luckily for Marseille, Monaco isn’t a high scoring team so far this season, with Nene being the producer of nearly 50% of their goals. That might chance if Gudjohnsen finds his touch.
Another game of note will be that between Nice and Valencienne. While many people didn’t have this game circled on their calendar, this game might tell a lot about the two teams. Nice, who has played far from impressive this year, are looking to take three points at home against a Valencienne team that has looked quite impressive the last few games. With their win against Marseille at home, Valencienne have the chance to jump even higher in the Ligue 1 standings, where they currently sit 10th.
In the north of France, the match between Boulogne and Lille will prove quite impotant for both sides. Up until their last few games, Boulogne have had quite an easy schedule this year. But without a win since August 22nd, they will be looking to turn things around. On the other hand, Boulogne will be playing a Lille team that has to be the least impressive team in Ligue 1 this season. Many expected this team to be challenging for a Europa League spot. That dream seems all but over now. Still, with the talent that Lille have on their team, it will be interesting to see if they actually can get a result away.
The last game of note will be the match up between Paris St-Germain and Nancy. Nancy have had a quiet year so far, putting up decent results on the way. While they did hit the skids for a while their last two matches, a win against Sochaux in Ligue 1 plan and a win against Monaco in League Cup play, has shown that they look to be back on track.
Paris St-Germain need to get back to the form that they showed at the start of the year. Early on, it looked like PSG could challenge not only for a Champions League spot, but the title as well. But with the impressive play of Bordeaux this year, it will be hard for PSG to catch them at this point since they are already seven points behind first place.
Even with a loss to Monaco and a draw to Lyon, PSG has looked impressive. They could have easily won both of those games. But PSG seems to let their guard down in the last minutes of play. And with the decaying play of Marseille, PSG can really make a statement this week. They are currently only two points behind Marseille, who currently hold the last Champions League spot.