Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ligue 1 Weekend Review

SM Caen get the win of the week with their Saturday victory over Toulouse, which prevent the latter club from moving to second in the table. Not as much scoring this week, perhaps due to the mid-week slate of games that were responsible for numerous changes on the pitch by many clubs.

Saturday, November 1st:

Auxerre 0-0 Valenciennes - Valenciennes was unable to get off a single shot on target and had only 38% of the possession, but they still managed to steal a point off Auxerre. Bezzaz almost got things started for Valenciennes in the 11th minute with a blast over the crossbar, but after that it was all Auxerre, all the time. Valenciennes GK Penneteau was called upon to make a double-save on Niculae in the 13th minute, and was threatened by Oliech soon after. Auxerre almost stole the full 3 points in the 92nd minute, but Penneateau tipped the shot over the bar and the resulting corner was cleared easily.

Lille 2-0 Nantes - In a match featuring 55 total fouls (30-25), Lille managed to outlast a listless Nantes for the full 3 points. Da Rocha was the only one who seemed dangerous, having a shot cleared off the line by Mavuba in the first half, and forcing Lille GK Malicki into a nice save in the second half. Lille got on the board when Rami got a touch on an Obraniak free-kick (which may have gone in even without the touch) in the 39th minute. Almost immediately after the start of the second half, Favergue used a long run to score the game's only other goal.

Lorient 1-1 Grenoble - Lorient had the better chances in this match, keeping Grenoble GK Wimbee extremely busy starting with a strike from Abriel in the 7th minute that was well-saved. The first half was relatively uneventful, but the second half started quickly with Courtois forcing a great save from Lorient GK Cappone. A short while later, in the 53rd minute, Courtois scored on a vicious volley off a cross from Feghouli. The action continued with Robin taking down Gameiro in the box, with Abriel slotting home the PK in the 59th minute. Gameiro was involved again minutes later, as he beat Wimbee, but the shot was cleared off the line by Robin. Lorient then was given an incredible opportunity when Courtois was sent off with a straight red card for a late tackle on Amalfitano in the 71st minute, giving him this week's "Goal-scorer to get carded" award. Unfortunately for Lorient, they were unable to capitalize on the 1-man advantage, and Wimbee preserved the point in injury time when he stopped a well-struck header from Soro.

Nancy 1-0 Bordeaux - Although they dominated the match, Bordeaux suffered their first defeat in their last 7 league tilts. Things started off very poorly for Bordeaux in the 1st minute when Henrique was called for a handball, and their performance continued to slide downwards. The situation worsened when Bordeaux GK Rame was injured in the 22nd minute during a collision off a Nancy corner kick. The match settled down, but back-up GK Valverde still looked unsure in the 70th minute when Hadji intercepted a sloppy pass and sent home his shot from 20 yards out for the win.

Nice 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain - Nice got off 10 shots on goal, and all it took was for 1 of them to count for the 3 points. Now unbeaten in 5 matches, Nice actually started off slowly. Hoarau was put through on a strong ball from Sessegnon, but Nice GK Letizi made an excellent stop. Letizi was called upon again almost immediately, this time to stop Sessegnon. Bamogo finally got off a good shot for Nice in the 25th minute, but it was well-saved by PSG GK Landreau. The increased pressure paid off in the 39th minute when Mouloungui headed home a Hellebuyck corner. Things were more even in the second half, as Landreau tipped a shot by Fae over the bar in the 58th minute, and Letizi made a great save on a shot from Giuly in the 66th minute.

Toulouse 0-1 Caen - In a fairly surprising result, Caen managed to prevent Toulouse from moving up to second in the table with their first away win of the season. The vast majority of the pressure for Caen came from Savidan and Nivet, who made the Toulouse defense look foolish throughout most of the match. The best chance for Toulouse came from Didot, who forced a save from Plante. After that Savidan forced Toulouse GK Carasso into numerous saves (and sent a few chances just wide). Nivet was a substitute in the 75th minute, and 4 minutes later he was played through by a clever back-heel from Savidan and sent his shot from 25 yards out into the upper 90.

Marseille 3-1 Saint-Etienne - This match was statistically dominated by L'OM (shots on goal 9-2, possession 62%-38%) and it finally showed on the scoresheet. Saint-Etienne GK Janot saw his busiest game of the season, with much of the pressure applied by Ben Arfa. It began early, when Janot was called into action to make a save on a Ziani free-kick in the 10th minute. In the 20th minute, Ben Arfa sent in a corner that was headed home by Cheyrou for the first goal of the match. Saint-Etienne equalized almost immediately when Gomis sent a blistering shot through the defense and a stunned Mandada in the 22nd minute. Ben Arfa then got loose in the 30th minute, forcing Janot into yet another save. When Janot took down Kone in the box in the 37th minute, Ben Arfa stepped up to calmly slot the PK home. Ben Arfa almost beat Janot again, but the Saint-Etienne made an outstanding save in the 55th minute. But the youngster was determined to finish off Saint-Etienne, and in the 71st minute Taiwo headed home another excellent Ben Arfa corner.

Sunday, November 2nd:

Le Havre 2-3 Monaco - Monaco put 12 shots on goal (Le Havre had only 6), and they needed every one of them to come out of the match with 3 points. Monaco started off more quickly, with Park (who has been in outstanding form over the past few matches) forcing Havre GK Revault into saves in the 12th and 13th minutes. In the 20th minute Cufre headed home a Mollo corner, and the scoring was opened. Revault stopped Park again in the 24th and 26th minutes before Le Havre finally got their first shot on goal through Lesage, who was stopped by Monaco GK Ruffier. In the 40th minute, Licata was unmarked and received the pass for an easy goal and Monaco went into the half with a 2-goal lead. Almost immediately after the start of the second half, Nestor scored his first Ligue 1 goal off a cross from Ben Idir to pull 1 goal back for Le Havre. Just 3 minutes later, in the 50th minute, Park finally beat Revault with a shot coming off an Alonso cross. Le Havre made things interesting in the 60th minute when Monaco GK Ruffier gave up a rebound on a Lesage shot and Alassane sent the shot home, but the rest of the second half was a continued Monaco assault, with Revault stopping Licata twice and Park once. Freddy Adu watch: Freddy didn't even make it on to the bench for this match.

Rennes 1-0 Sochaux - Ligue 1 basement dweller Sochaux, on just 6 points from 6 draws for the season, started off the match in the worst possible manner when Jokic fouled Sow in the box with 21 seconds elapsed. Briand drove home the resulting PK for the only goal of the match. Sochaux's season got even worse in the 8th minute when Erding, just returning from a thigh injury, had to come off due to a thigh injury. The rest of the match was an advertisement for the seemingly-new focus of Ligue 1 clubs on long-range shots. Mezague's shot from 35 yards forced a save from Rennes GK Douchez, while Pagis had an incredible 30-yard strike stopped by Sochaux GK Richert. The other action in the match came when Sochaux gaffer Francis Gillet was sent into the stands by the match officials for "unpleasantness."

Lyon 2-0 Le Mans - Lyon bossed Le Mans up and down the pitch for the entirety of the match, and the end result was never in doubt. The pressure started early from Benzema, Juninho, and Fred (who had his header saved by Le Mans GK Pele in the 16th minute). Toulalan then sent a long ball through for Benzema, who crashed it home off the left post in the 22nd minute. The best chance for Le Mans came in the 37th minute on a cross from Stromstad to Coutadeur, but Cris got his foot on the ball and it rolled back harmlessly to his GK Lloris. The pressure from Lyon continued after the second half, and they were rewarded in the 57th minute when Benzema sent a cross into Delgado, whose shot rebounded to Juninho for the easy finish. With the 2-0 lead secure, Lyon relaxed a bit, content to play keep-away.

So after Matchday 12, the top of the table looks like this: (1) Lyon, with 27 points on an 8-3-1 record and a +10 goal differential; (2) Marseille, with 23 points on a 6-5-1 record and a +9 goal differential; (3) Bordeaux, with 21 points on a 6-3-3 record and a +7 goal differential; and (4) Toulouse, with 21 points on a 6-3-3 record and a +1 goal differential.


phil said...

Freddy Adu. I remember when he was supposed to be a star.

How long before Benzema makes the jump to EPL? I heard a rumor in the August window that Lyon made him available, but for an extraordinary amount of money.

Mike Georger said...

the only team in the EPL that could afford benzema is chelsea. united may have the money if they want to spend on top of a billion in debt but they dont need more strikers anyways. but i dont see chelsea shelling out either.

he will end up in spain i would think. real and barca dont have the youngest sets of strikers anymore.

or he can continue to play in the champions league for half the tournament and stay in france, i dont give a shit

The Fan's Attic said...

if Freddy can't on the field at Benfica or Monaco...he might as well come back to MLS, right?

phil said...

Perhaps if Landycakes defects to a foreign league, Freddy will find himself in L.A.

The NY Kid said...

Last year, Benzema, Ben Arfa and Nasri were all made available, but obviously only Nasri came to the EPL.

I think that Ben Arfa and Benzema will both stay put for at least another year - they are playing CL footy and having great seasons with their clubs.

Andrew said...

Is that the path all French footie players take? Ligue 1 to the Prem to La Liga?

If Adu can't cut it in Ligue 1, where to next? Not the Bundesliga. Perhaps a lower tier Prem club? I could see him plying his trade (i.e., riding pine) at Black Cats, along with Cisse. Or not.