Sorry for being late. Je suis désolé et paresseux. I must also apologise for knowing next to nothing about the Ligue 1. Blame Channel 5’s old weekly “Goalazzio” programme where I could watch Del Piero and Totti in their prime. Blame the Premier League being far more entertaining. Blame most other leagues being more entertaining. Blame the French teams for making a tradition out of selling all their best players to foreign lands where they could truly realise their potential. Blame there only being two good French teams on FIFA 12 (three if you count Lille, but virtual Hazard was often as dissapointing as he appears in the flesh). So yes, you’re about to read a league preview of a league that has already started, written by a guy who’s knowledge of the French Ligue consists mainly of watching Juninho freekicks on youtube.
So, instead of pretending to do a team by team summary of the Ligue, I’m instead going to concentrate on the fight for the Champions League spots. Because, lets face it, the majority of people reading this blog won’t care that much about Ligue 1, but they might if a French club progesses into the latter stages of The Champions League. Which leads me nicely onto…
League Position Predictions
The above photograph of Ibrahimovic standing with an almost aphex-twin look of malice on his face, Eiffel tower in the background, has to be one of the most menacing images of sheer cold-hearted mercenary intent backed by Qatari billionaires in recent memory (no I’m not forgetting the Welcome to Manchester debacle). The transfer itself was not really a shock; Ibra has been floating from club to club (Ajax, Juventus, both Milan clubs, Barcelona) for his whole career. But the statement of intent from a club who have also acquired Milan’s best defender, Tiago Silva, Napoli’s highly coveted Lavezzi, and Santos’ Lucas Moura, cannot be denied. They’ve spent 129 million euros on these four players. They clearly intend to win the league.
They clearly wanted to win the league last year of course, but didn’t. Even though they appointed Carlo Ancelotti as manager. Last season wasn’t the first season in which Carlo and his eyebrows -which look as if they’re being controlled by some sort of billionaire puppet-master – failed to win a league with an expensively assembled side, but most people haven’t forgotten the double he won in his first season at Chelsea (aside from Roman; very quickly forgetting), so the potential is definitely there. And they only lost to last year’s surprise winners Montpellier by three points.
Another reason it would be foolish to assume they won’t at least challenge for the league is their squad. It is quite ridiculous now. They will be a five star team on FIFA for sure. Sorry to keep mentioning FIFA, but shameless product endorsement can’t just be lavished on Sports Interactive, can it Greg? Give EA a chance.
Anyway yes, their squad:
On paper this is a very strong team, so I predict they’ll win the ligue. They almost did last season, but they’ve now bolstered their squad with more world class talent. Any team with that amount of Brazilians should do okay, and if City can buy the league, why can’t PSG?
Yes, they won last season, but considering I’ve not heard of or seen any of their players in action, I’ll say the confidence they will have taken from winning the league against billionaire behemoths will give them the drive to be there or thereabouts this season. I could be totally wrong, and they could slump into mid-table obscurity. This is a bluffer’s guide, I did tell you.
3. Olimpique Lyonnais
I’m used to seeing these guys in the Champions League, so I expect to see them fighting for a place again this season. They have had some great players amongst their ranks during their time (Juninho), and they still have some of my favourite players in their squad: Michel Bastos; Gourcuff; the most underrated Argentinian striker of all time, Lisandro Lopez. And Kone, don’t forget Kone. Finishing in 4th place last season, they’ll be in the champions league this season, but they’ll get to to the first knockout stage at best, if they even qualify.
Yes they sold “the best player in France,” aka the narcisstic slut called Eden Hazard who courted all the big clubs this summer like a whore looking for the richest fool. Lille will be fine without him, based on seeing him fall flat on his face in the Charity Shield trying to do a rather simple flick:
Their right-back, Debuchy, was impressive against England in the Euros, Mavuba is an absolute powerhouse, and their recent acquisition of the clinical Champion’s League winner Salomon Kalou will assuage the melancholy memories of their whore who absconded to London.
Having recently travelled to this beautiful city, I can’t imagine how anyone would want to play football there, what with the constant heat, the sunshine, the beautiful architecture, and all the women. Hazard would love the Bordello district.
And there you are: a preview to a season by someone who knows absolutely nothing about French football. Aside from knowing that Zidane would miss Frank Ribery if he tried to do to that dimunutive Frenchman the same headbutt he did in that world-cup final, and all the Thierry Henry goals ever, especially the indescribable backwards-facing volley he put in at Old Trafford.