Tag Archives: Marouane Chamakh

Ligue 1 title race still wide open

Stephane Sessegnon has helped Paris Saint-Germain keep pace in Ligue 1, but the winger could be on his way out of PSG during the January transfer window as bigger clubs make enticing bids. (Courtesy Wikicommons)

By Michael King

Entering the second half of the season, there’s little uncertainty in many domestic leagues throughout Europe. In England, Manchester United has a only two-point lead over its inter-city rival Man City, but the Red Devils have a critical two games in-hand. Without having dropped a match, it’s a big margin for Man U. Meanwhile, La Liga is experiencing its annual two-team struggle between Real Madrid and Barcelona. In Italy, perpetually steady AC Milan maintains a five-point lead over Lazio with little sign of the Rossoneri not keeping a champion’s pace. It’s an even odder year in the Bundesliga, where Borussia Dortmund has a seemingly insurmountable 10-point advantage.

It’s not that way in France. In fact, it’s far from it, where 10 teams are within five points of first-place Lille. For a French league that is often perceived as being a notch below others in Europe, an exciting title race should spark substantial interest.

Though there is no clear front-runner, a number of factors will determine who’s crowned league champion. Other cup competitions, results of the January transfer window and integration of new players will substantially impact the on-field results.

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No more excuses Robin van Persie

Arsenal fans have seen Robin van Persie find himself recieving treatment too often during his careers. The Dutch international striker has yet to register a goal this season. (Courtesy Platform3/Ed W)

By Joe Meloni

He wasn’t entirely invisible on Monday night. He dressed for the game, and I’m pretty sure he touched the ball once or twice. He must have – he played 76 minutes.

If you missed Robin van Persie in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea, don’t worry about it. You weren’t the only one.

In the day-old afterglow of Arsenal’s improbable three points, Arsenal fans refuse to discuss anything even remotely negative. They’re not wrong to savor the Kool-aid as long as they can. Big wins haven’t come easy for Arsenal in recent years – especially those against Chelsea and Manchester United. No one really cares which player scored the clinching goal or made the decisive defensive play. Arsenal has three more points than it did when the game started. Moving on.

Still, one of Arsenal’s talismans, van Persie, faded into the background, while the new guys, Samir Nasri and Theo Walcott, led the Arsenal offense.

For years, Arsenal fans and their beloved boss, Arsene Wenger, spoke of van Persie’s health like a mythical creature. No one’s ever seen it for any extended period of time, and we go years without sightings. When we see it, though, it’s pretty amazing.

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Ligue 1 Starting To Take Old Form

Luch Gonzalez (pictured on the right) and Marseille claimed Ligue 1's title last year, ending Lyon'r reign at the top of France's top-division. This year Gonzalez and his teammates haven't been in top form thus far, but things seem to be turning around. (Courtesy Yann Caradec)

By Ryan Fleming

Things haven’t started off in Ligue 1 like anyone anticipated. The French giants, Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux, were nowhere to be found at the top of the league table. Smaller, less notable teams, such as Stade Rennes, Brest and Lille were the teams worth talking about – they still are. But, as the weeks go by, the so-called heavy hitters in France are creeping their way back to their rightful place.

Les Gones fought for a 1-0 win past Nice thanks to Jérémy Pied’s first goal of the season. Despite the missed penalty by Brazilian Michel Bastos shortly after his team took the lead, Lyon proved that, though scoring seems to be at a premium, it is willing to go through a war of attrition for 90-plus minutes and battle for points.

Its hottest signing Yoann Gourcuff has seemed to calm down and get over his horrid performance at the World Cup just in time for Les Gones to take full advantage. Lyon haven’t lost a league game since Sept. 25, a 1-0 against St. Etienne, and have broken the top half of the table for the first time all season.

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Marseille Leading the Way to the Top of Ligue 1

Marseille's home form this season has put the reignning Ligue 1 champions just one point behind leaders Stade Rennes. Courtesy fredGLLS

By Ryan Fleming

Parity in certain leagues, at least so far, is becoming more apparent. In the Bundesliga, German giants Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen are struggling while Mainz and Borussia Dortmund sit at the top of the table.

In Ligue 1, much is the same … for now. St. Etienne is only one point off the leader, Stade Rennes, while Lyon finds itself in the bottom half of the table. Last year’s Ligue 1 champs, Olympique Marseille, find itself back on the path to success; on itself way to finding their rightful place at the top of their table.

Starting off the season with two-straight losses to a little know club, Caen at the Stade Velodrome and away at Valenciennes, immediately signaled the start of perhaps the falling of the typical French giants.

Bordeaux and Lyon have started off the new season in a similar, inconsistent and underachieving fashion – both finding themselves at the bottom of the table early on. Bordeaux, losing their star forward, Marouane Chamakh, midfield star, Yoann Gourcuff and its manager Laurent Blanc to manage the French national team, has its obvious reasons for struggling.

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Bordeaux issues present despite win

Bordeaux midfielder Yoann Gourcuff (right) assisted on his club's game-winning goal on Sunday afternoon. The 2-1 win was Bordeaux's first of the season after an 0-0-2 start. (Photo Courtesy Le Mensuel de Rennes)

By Ryan Fleming

Something happened to Bordeaux late last season: it started losing. That might sound commonplace in a sport where winning or losing can depend more on confidence than skill. But with the now-French national coach, Laurent Blanc, at the helm, the team from Southwest France skidded its way out of European play at the end of the season with a litany of poor performances before its elimination from the Champions League by league foe, Lyon.

In late May, Marouane Chamakh, the team’s most talented forward joined Arsenal on a free transfer suddenly leaving les Girondins with a gaping hole up front and no visible replacement lined up.

Two games into the 2010-11 season, Bordeaux followed its predictive form – struggling to score and without a point from its two league games. In Sunday night’s match against Paris Saint Germain, Bordeaux displayed both its struggles and the likely solutions in the 2-1 win over PSG. Continue reading

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Caen, Bordeaux Among Ligue 1 Suprises

Bordeaux has struggled to start 2010 after striker Marouane Chamakh left on a free transfer to Arsenal and manager Laurent Blanc left to lead the French National Team. (Photo Courtesy Edson Da Silva)

By Ryan Fleming

Something peculiar has happened to start the 2010-11 Ligue 1 season. Division giants, Lyon and Marseille, have fallen big to a little, but mighty team, while Bordeaux continues to search for a remedy to cure their poor form that started six months ago.

It’s a rarity when a lower division title champ defeats the country’s premier club. Stade Malherbe Caen can say it has done that and you can add the country’s runner-up, too. A week after upsetting Marseille, 2-1, at the Stade Velodrome, Caen held off Lyon, 3-2, at home yesterday. Maybe something is brewing in the Northwestern French city known more for it’s important location in the Normandy invasion in World War II. At the very least, it is a sign of change in France’s premier division. Continue reading

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Marseille Looking Good Atop Ligue 1

By Ryan Fleming

It appears as if the race for the Ligue 1 title is all but over. Apparently playing the extra games in the Champions League took too much of a toll on French giants like Lyon and Bordeaux.

Olympique Marseille has found itself standing at a comfortable five-point lead over AJ Auxerre, who currently has 55 points.

Over the weekend Lyon and Bordeaux battled to a 2-2 draw. And when I say battled, I mean battled.

In the closing moments of the match, a mass brawl ensued after a bad foul by Lyon defender Anthony Reveillere. Reveillere and his victim, Benoit Tremoulinas, as well as Jussie saw red in the final stages.

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Champions League Quarterfinals Draw In Perspective

By Kevin Koczwara

The next stage in Champions League play has been set today. Teams have been told who will face in the next round, and who their potential opponents could be.

This year’s quarter-finals and semi-finals have potential to be great match-ups. These next rounds could also become major coming out parties to the smaller clubs involved. With the likes of CSKA Moscow, Bordeaux and Lyon all making it further than expected.

So let’s break down each pairing and each route to the finals in Madrid.

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