Ligue 1: Week 33: 11 Player Picks for the Weekend

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Another game for PSG and another chance to win the league, but they lost their game in hand over Nantes in midweek. It means that they have missed out on winning the league for the 3rd straight game. Still such is their lead that they will still win the league- they need just 1 more point from 6 games, but they have made heavy weather of it all.

Alongside PSG’s game with Monaco to possibly decide the league outcome we will take a look at the fixtures this weekend in Ligue 1 and try and pick out the players that could earn you points for your Fantasy Ligue 1 team. Formation 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Stephane Ruffier- Saint Etienne

Ruffier is valued at 7.5m and has been part of a Saint Etienne team that has conceded just 4 goals in the past month. He has also kept 3 clean sheets from the last five games as they travel to Reims this weekend he could be worth picking up.

Defender: Dante Costa- Nice

Costa has put in some great displays over the past few weeks for Nice and let’s not forget here is a team who have kept 3 clean sheets in a row. Also they will play the bottom club in Caen and will be at home, so will be favourites to pick up the points and keep another clean sheet.

Defender: Malang Sarr- Nice

Let’s stick with another Nice defender who have done so well at the back and that is none other than Malang Sarr who has also played the majority of the season. They are facing the poorest side in the league and will be at home. Sarr is great value too at just 5.5m.

Defender: Kenny Tete- Lyon

Lyon have been in poor form but at the same time surely this will not last as they try and consolidate 3rd place. They will be at home this weekend against Angers in 12th place. Tete has only played 10 games this season but has been the choice of late and is valued at 6.5m.

Defender: Diego Carlos- Nantes

It’s true that Nantes have not kept a clean sheet in over a month but that will end at some point and the club will be at home against Amiens who have only scored 8 goals away from home. There is a good chance they will get a clean sheet and Diego Carlos can score goals too, he did so in Nantes last game against PSG. He is valued at 6m.

Midfielder: Julian Draxler -PSG

Draxler has had a mixed season with PSG but he is set to play when the club take on Monaco due to injuries. He can score goals too and has netted 7 times this season and set up another 3 goals. Draxler can be bought for a bargain 6m.

Midfielder: Mathieu Debuchy- Saint Etienne

The Ligue 1 Fantasy player of the week is in good form and very confident and it’s possible that against Reims he can shine again at the weekend after scoring 2 goals. His distribution is excellent too and he can be brought into your team for 7.5m.

Midfielder: Jonathan Bamba- Lille

Jonathan Bamba has been consistent of late for Lille and he scored against PSG in Lille’s last game which they won 5-1. Lille will be away at the weekend but this is against Toulouse where they will be expected to win and he could well get on the score sheet. Bamba is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Florian Thauvin- Marseille

Marseille will play Guingamp in 19th place and will be the odds on favourites to win this game. Thauvin has the quality to score from midfield against such opposition and if he isn’t already in your team could well be worth picking, Marseille could get a few goals in that game.

Striker: Kylian Mbappe- PSG

Mbappe was dropped from PSG’s last game v Nantes because he criticised the commitment of the team. But coach Thomas Tuchel has many injury worries and needs Ligue 1′s leading scorer. This is a game in Paris against Monaco where if they win or draw they win the league. Mbappe could score and get the winner and vital points to crown a fantastic domestic season.

Striker: Nicolas Pepe- Lille

Pepe has been one of the finest young strikers not just in Ligue 1 but in Europe this season. Lille will play Toulouse and Pepe has just scored against PSG and found his scoring boots once more. Pepe can add to his tally again at the weekend and is valued at 8m.

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Lille destroy PSG in stunning fashion as Lyon lose again

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For the second week in a row PSG have blown the chance to wrap up the league title and both have been in quite stunning fashion. The first was when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting missed the sitter of a century to the club in front against Strasbourg. That was one shock to take away and analyse. But it got worse at the weekend when Paris visited Lille, the 2nd best team in France this season and were soundly demolished 5-1.

It threw shockwaves around the league given that PSG had previously lost just 1 game all season and when, on the rare occasion, they do lose they don’t concede 5 goals. It was a strange game that actually started with a Thomas Meunier own goal to put Lille in front, but PSG were level on the 11th minute through a Juan Bernat effort, but he would later be sent off to compound the misery for the champions.

Both Meunier and then Tiago Silva were taken off early on through injuries and it was shortly after this point that Lille saved their best moments for the game. In 30 second half minutes Lille scored 4 goals, PSG were in shock and the game fell away. The club will put it down to a bad day at the office, but the party poppers just keep getting delayed for a side that are still 18 points clear with a game in hand.

PSG will play Nantes away from home next weekend when all they will need is a single point to win back to back league titles. The sticking point in that game could be that Nantes have just pulled off one of their finest results this season by beating Lyon in 3rd place 2-1. That means back to back defeats for Lyon and with it they look like to have conceded runners up spot to Lille. The gap between the two teams is now 8 points with 18 remaining to be played.

Saint Etienne beat Bordeaux 3-0 and they are now just 3 points behind Lyon for a final Champions League position. In short Lyon simply have not been good enough this past month and could miss out on participating in next seasons competition. Marseille beat Nimes 2-1 in an enjoyable but nervy encounter for the home side which puts them on 51 points and five points behind Lyon just to add the pressure.

Montpellier beat Toulouse 2-1 which was good enough to move up to 6th place. But it was disappointment for France’s most historical club Reims who have had a superb season back in Ligue 1 when they could only 0-0 with Monaco, they are on the same points as Montpellier with 48 but their succession of draws is damaging their chances of finishing in a European position.

Finally Nice make the top 8 and while they remain undefeated in their last 4 games, it was another dour 0-0 draw away to Rennes that doesn’t raise much interest in how the team will finish up this season.

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None of the top 6 teams win as PSG blow title celebrations

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What a weekend it was in Ligue 1 with so many surprising results and upsets as the challenge for a European finish hots up with just 7 games and 21 points left on the board.

The biggest shock perhaps was Lyon losing against bottom placed Dijon. Lyon were also at home in 3rd place chasing down Lille and yet they were defeated 3-1 against a team who had previously won just 2 games away from home. The win boosted Dijon from bottom to 18th and even gives them a small amount of hope with survival. They are just 7 points behind 17th placed Amiens. Game on!

Lyon slipped 5 points behind Lille as the challenge for an automatic Champions League spot nears closer. But in some respect Lille also blew a great chance to go 7 points clear knowing in advance that Lyon had lost, Lille played on Sunday but could only draw 1-1 with Reims.

PSG were supposed to be confirmed as the league champions for a second year in a row on Sunday night when they played Strasbourg in Paris. But it wasn’t to be- Strasbourg whose form has vastly got better since winning the Coupe de la Ligue against Guingamp, were good enough to draw 2-2 with PSG. The draw means that PSG have lost their 100% record at home.

But the major talking point of the game was when the clubs were locked at 1-1 and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had the easiest chance he will ever get in his career to score a goal. A simple tap in with the ball on the goal line and no challenge. He somehow caressed the ball along the goal line and onto the post. It was one of the worst misses in football history and at the same time it was also deemed one of the best defensive recoveries too.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel elected to start Kylian Mbappe from the bench so there didn’t appear to be such a seriousness about the game on true reflection. But that miss could well spend the end of Choupo-Moting’s short lived career with the team from Paris, although we should not forget that he did score earlier in the game. Of course the title is just a stay of execution and PSG could officially wrap it up with their next game which is incidentally away to 2nd placed Lille.

Saint Etienne were not able to take advantage of Lille and Lyon dropping points and could only draw 2-2 with 17th placed Amiens. However the club went away happy in the end given that Remy Cabella’s 95th minute equaliser saved them from defeat.

Marseille lost again, this time to Bordeaux 2-0 and their infamous poor form just before the turn of the year seems to be back. That form led to fan protests to get rid of coach Rudi Garcia. L’OM have not won for 3 games and whilst they remain in 5th place Saint Etienne have pulled 2 points clear of them.

So from the top 8 clubs it was left to Patrick Vieira’s Nice to be the only team to win at the weekend. Nice beat Montpellier 1-0 their second successive result winning by the same score line and that put the team right in the mix on 47 points. It was 7th v 8th in a much frenzied contested match, there was 31 goal attempts from both sides in a game which could have gone either way.

The excitement is continuing to build in Ligue 1 as there is just 5 points between 4th place which is good enough for a Europa League finish and 8th place. Plus relegation could yet involve 6 teams.

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Ligue 1- Week 31- 11 Player Picks for the Weekend

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Ligue 1 returns again at the weekend and we will look into the fixtures and try to predict which players will be worth purchasing for your fantasy team at the weekend, based on the fixtures. Formation to be used is 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Anthony Lopes- Lyon

Anthony Lopes does not top the points in the fantasy league for goal keepers but the Lyon stopper is all set to face Dijon who are bottom of the league and he has every chance to keep a clean sheet at the weekend. And he did so in his last game when Lyon beat Rennes 1-0. He can be bought for 10m.

Defender: Jose Fonte- Lille

Lille are away at the weekend to Reims but Reims have just lost 4-0 at Strasbourg and 2nd placed Lille will be the favourites to win this game and possibly keep a clean sheet. Plus Fonte has put in some sterling performances over the past few weeks and can be brought in for 7.5m.

Defender: Pierre- Yves Polomat – Saint Etienne

True Polomat has played just 7 games for Saint Etienne this season but the most important factor is that he is playing now. Saint Etienne are in very good form and they will play an average side in Amiens. Polomat is great value to take into your team and is only 3m.

Defender: Jeremy Sorbon – Guingamp

Pitting a defender who plays for Guingamp may not look like a great deal but Sorbon has had some solid displays over the last few months. This has included being part of a team that has kept 3 clean sheets in their last five games, no mean feat. Guingamp will play fellow strugglers Monaco and we could see a low scoring game. Sorbon is valued at 7m.

Defender: Marquinhos- PSG

PSG will be playing Strasbourg in Paris and Marquinhos who has been in great form at the back for the club is only 7.5m which seems like a bargain for a PSG player. PSG have been able to keep 3 clean sheets in the past month and he is worth keeping an eye out for.

Midfielder: Nabil Fekir- Lyon

It’s true that Fekir will set you back 10m but at the weekend if you have the extra funds the talented midfielder could be worth it. Fekir likes to assist and score goals he has 9 so far and has set up a further 5 and Lyon are playing the bottom team in Dijon.

Midfielder: Wylan Cyprien- Nice

Cyprien is a fine midfielder who can score goals and his game usually rises to the occasion of the bigger matches. For Nice playing Montpellier in a battle of the south is a big game. Cyprien is outstanding value and can be bought for just 5m.

Midfielder: Jordan Ferri- Nimes

Jordan Ferri is probably the best midfielder Nimes have overall and the club will be playing Caen at home in 18th place. This gives Nimes a chance to get all three points and they could get a few goals. Ferri could be at the centre piece of that and can be brought in for just 3m.

Midfielder: Thomas Mangani- Angers

Mangani had a terrific week against Marseille as the midfielder got both goals and it may be worth sticking with the player once again for this weekend as Angers will be at home and will take on Rennes. Mangani is good value too and can be brought in for 7m.

Striker: Andy Delort- Montpellier

Delort has been on fine form scoring at the weekend and Montpellier have scored 10 goals in their last 5 games he can be bought for just 7m and is on fire, form wise. Montpellier will be playing Nice away at the weekend.

Striker: Memphis Depay- Lyon

Lyon are in hot pursuit of 2nd place and Memphis Depay will be hoping to fire his side to some wins starting at the weekend against bottom club Dijon. Lyon will be at home and they will be favourites not to just win the game but to score a few goals too and Depay could easily be on the score sheet. He can be brought in for 10.5m, but could be worth it even for a week.

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Ligue 1: Player of the Weekend: Mario Balotelli

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Since leaving the Premier League and joining the French Ligue 1 Mario Balotelli has been able to reinvent himself. Perhaps he has found a level where he can consistently shine but the Italian international has been superb, first with Nice and now with Marseille.

Balotelli joined Marseille only in the January transfer window when it was made clear to him that he would not be part of Nice coach Patrick Vieira’s plans. And since joining Marseille Balotelli has consistently been one of the best strikers in the league.

At the weekend he earned 8pts in Ligue 1 fantasy standings amongst the very best performance of all players in all positions. He earned these points as Marseille drew 2-2 with Angers, but Balotelli scored both of Marseille’s goals. On a personal level Balotelli had a fantastic game but given that his side with his goals were leading the game 2-0 and at home the match ended in disappointment for the former Inter Milan player.

Balotelli has really struck up a friendship and a connection on the pitch with Lucas Ocampos and it was Ocampos who assisted for both of Balotelli’s goals on Saturday at Stade Velodrome. Both classic style Balotelli finishes even if they weren’t his best ever. The two goals took Balotelli’s total to 7 from just 17 starts this season but the bulk of his goals have come from playing with Marseille in the past 8 weeks.

In the Ligue 1 fantasy rankings Balotelli is ranked 20th but this is mostly due to his non starts as a Nice player. He has 23pts so far but if he continues his form he could easily reach the 40pts marker and perhaps squeeze into the top 10 players. And he may be worth bringing into your team because he needs to keep scoring and helping his team as they try to qualify for the Champions League. He can be bought for 7m.

Marseille coach Rudi Garcia had this to stay after his teams 2-2 draw, bizarrely not praising Balotelli for his goals in this statement, it could be down to the fact that he was angered that his side did not win the game being 2-0 up. “As long as it’s mathematically possible we’ll still believe we can qualify for the Champions League. Of course we believe but we still have to win matches, and tonight we had the opportunity given we were leading 2-0. It’s a bump in the road, getting held at home. We’ll have to recover points on the road. We have to be solid for the whole game. We lost balls that we shouldn’t be losing and Angers took advantage. We played well for the first half-hour and then stopped attacking. We can’t blame refereeing decisions for this”.

Balotelli is richly deserving to be named Ligue 1 player of the week.

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Topical Ligue 1: Top 4 clubs all win as PSG edge closer to 8th title

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It was a weekend which saw all top four clubs in Ligue 1 pick up victories, and so not much changed in the standings.

PSG are ever closer to winning the league, and it is just a question of when and not if as they hold a massive 20 point lead at the top over Lille, and they have a game in hand. Just 4 more points will secure yet another trophy for the club, their 8th in their history and 6th this decade alone.

PSG were at least made to work hard for their win which ended 1-0 against Toulouse and it was that man Kylian Mbappe who got the winner with just a quarter of an hour left to play. Mbappe now has 27 goals this season and is 9 goals ahead of second place Nicolas Pepe. Not only will Mbappe be assured of a 3rd league title- 2 with PSG and 1 with Monaco he will also win the top goal scorers award too.

Lille kept up in the chase as they were involved in a very entertaining game at lowly Nantes to win a 5 goal thriller 3-2. And Pepe was able to score again, one of the brightest stars in European football has really shown just how good he is and it seems questionable if Lille will be able to hold on to him. Perhaps he will stay if they qualify for the Champions League. However Lyon are right behind Lille and just four points shy as they try to grab 2nd place. Lyon beat Rennes 1-0 at the weekend thanks to a Martin Terrier goal.

In 4th place Saint Etienne are just too far behind Lille or Lyon to challenge for that last remaining Champions League place. They are currently 7 points behind Lyon with 8 games to go so it is possible but that dream looks distant. They did beat Nimes 2-1 to keep themselves in contention of  a top 4 place though.

The big surprise involving the top clubs came earlier on the weekend when at home Marseille could only draw 2-2 with Angers and dropped two vital points in the process. Mario Balotelli who has been outstanding for the club grabbed both early goals to put his side 2-0 up and they were cruising but had a terrible and lacklustre second half to collapse.

Marseille’s draw which in retrospect felt like a loss has let in Reims who had the weekend off because of the Coupe de la Ligue final. They will play Strasbourg away from home this midweek and if they win Reims will go past Marseille and into 5th place. Nice beat Dijon 1-0 but did make heavy work of it in an otherwise dull game which saw the hosts reduced to 10 men. Dijon are bottom of the league and will most certainly be relegated while Nice remain in 7th place.

Finally Montpellier also didn’t play because of the Coupe de la Ligue final and they will play in midweek against the losers Guingamp. Montpellier will be at home against a team feeling very sorry for themselves and the home side will feel they can win this game. If so it would take them past Nice and create a bigger gap to Rennes. Having said that Montpellier have only won 1 game in their past five at home.

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Ligue 1- 11 Player Picks for the Weekend: Week 30

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Ligue 1 football is back after the international break and we will be looking at the players you may want to add to your team ahead of the weekend fixtures. We will use a 4-4-2 formation of the players likely to score points based on week 30′s fixtures.

Goalkeeper: Danijel Subasic

Monaco will be at home to Caen at the weekend and they have a great chance to keep a clean sheet. Monaco have kept 3 clean sheets in their last five games and if Subasic also kept a clean sheet in Monaco’s last game. He can be bought for 9m.

Defender: Kamil Glik

Keeping with the Monaco theme, picking any of the clubs defenders this season may not have been the best idea. But the club have vastly improved in the last few months and picking Kamil Glik could be a good idea as Monaco take on Caen. Not only could he keep a clean sheet but he is partial to come forward and score. Glik is 7.5m.

Defender: Hiroki Sakai

Sakai has picked up points lately and the Marseille defender is tipped to do the same at the weekend given that the club will be at home against Angers, a club who come into the game with no motivation, as Marseille are going for a top 4 spot. Marseille have kept 4 clean sheets in a row at home and Sakai could be worth picking for your team at 7.5m.

Defender: Jemerson

Another Monaco defender, Jemerson was part of a back four that went to 2nd place Lille and came away with not only a victory but a keep clean in a 1-0 win, last time out. With Monaco back at home against Caen Jemerson should be looked into and can be bought for 6.5m which looks like a bargain on current form.

Defender: Jose Fonte

Lille’s Jose Fonte did concede a goal in their shock 1-0 loss against Monaco in week 29 and did get booked, losing more points. However we have to respect the fact that he has been part of a defence which has conceded just 2 goals in Lille’s last five games. Lille will travel to Nantes, and keeping a clean sheet there is very possible.

Midfielder: Angel Di Maria

Di Maria has been one of the best players in Ligue 1 in recent months. Scoring plenty of goals and making assists. If he is not in your side then splashing out 9m looks like a bargain as he looks to end the season on a high for PSG.

Midfielder: Xavier Chavalerin

The Reims midfielder has had a solid season and it is partly his link up play as to why Reims have had such a solid season so far. He has scored 2 goals this season and assisted in 2, and at 6m may be worth bringing in as Reims face Strasbourg.

Midfielder: Wahbi Khazri

Wahbi Khazri has had a fantastic season with Saint Etienne and has scored 12 goals and assisted in 2. He is 7.5m and is rated as the 3rd best midfielder in Ligue 1 on form. Saint Etienne will be favourites to win the match at the weekend when they play Nimes at home.

Midfielder: Romain Amalfitano

Amalfitano the Dijon midfielder has not had the best season, but at the same time Dijon will be at home against Nice and there is every chance that the home side can claim something in this game. He has had 21 starts and can be snapped up for 5.5m.

Striker: Mario Balotelli

Balotelli is in brilliant form for his new club Marseille and the fact that his side will be at home against Angers, we expect a few goals. Balotelli has every chance to be on the end of that and have a good weekend. He is 7m.

Striker: Radamel Falcao 

Falcao missed Monaco’s last game as he was suspended for picking up too many yellow cards. He has scored 12 times this season mostly under coach Jardim and could well add to his tally at home v Caen. Falcao can be brought in for 7.5m.

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Strasbourg and Guingamp the two unlikely giant killers to play in Coupe de la Ligue final

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Strasbourg and Guingamp will contest the final of the Coupe de la Ligue on Saturday and nobody could have seen this as a final match up for France’s secondary cup competition.

Strasbourg will start as slight favourites and they did punch above their weight earlier in the Ligue 1 season, but have faltered of late and slipped down to 10th place. Indeed any chances of finishing in a European spot seem distant so winning the Coupe de la Ligue looks to be the only realistic chance for the club of qualifying for the Europa League. They last won a major trophy in 2005 and the famed club will be looking to secure their 4th title overall.

One man that will be looking on will be former Arsenal manager and great Arsene Wenger, who not only was born in Strasbourg but also played for the club and there is no doubt who Wenger will be supporting come the weekend. Wenger will be in official attendance for the game to be played in Lille.

Strasbourg have done brilliantly well to get to the final where they have had to knock out the likes of Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux, that is no mean feat and whilst the club have had an average season to say the least they have really shone in this competition.

But if you think Strasbourg have got to this final against all odds, think again when we look at their opponents Guingamp. The club have been extremely poor this season in Ligue 1 where they have been rock bottom for the majority of the season. Resigned to relegation months back they are currently in the best form of their season and have decided to fight. They have climbed back up to 18th place but are still 7 points from safety and the next few weeks will be crucial for their chances of playing In Ligue 1 next season.

Guingamp have had to climb their own personal Mount Everest and incredibly went to Paris in the quarter finals and knocked out PSG in one of the biggest shocks of the season. Whilst sceptics could feel that PSG were not taking the competition seriously this is completely far from the truth as the Parc des Princes crowd were left in stunned silence.

Guingamp followed that up with a penalty shoot out win against a rejuvenated Monaco under Leonardo Jardim’s return and the rest as they say is history. In truth both clubs come into the final as winners and this should be celebrated. It is refreshing not to see the likes of PSG, Marseille or Lyon here.

Because of this the final remains wide open and we should see a very entertaining game of football where one clubs season could go from being average to great.

Mancini Makes Questionable Choices in The Final Third

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Since being appointed Italy boss after the World Cup debacle, Roberto Mancini has done well to implement a distinct style of play, and identify key players for his setup moving forward. With the defence and midfield all but set, barring a few adjustments, the attack remains Mancini’s last puzzle. While the former Inter tactician has introduced the likes of Federico Chiesa and Moise Kean into the fold, some of Mancini’s choices in the final third have been questionable, to say the least.

In Mancini’s latest selections, Vincenzo Grifo and Leonardo Pavoletti both got the call to represent their nation. The latter, a 30-year-old mid-table journeyman, won’t be on the international scene for much longer and failed at the only big club he was at, while Grifo has only played eight games in league action this season thus far for Freiburg and has never demonstrated to be anything more than a decent squad player.

After years of struggling for options in the final third, Mancini is finally blessed with various talents in the attacking department, be it with Bernardeschi, Chiesa, and Kean among others. Now is not the time to experiment with players who are on the wrong side of 30 or haven’t been consistent in front of goal.

Regardless of their form this season, neither Pavoletti or Grifo will represent Italy next summer, and neither deserves to take valuable experience away from the nation’s budding forwards. What is more puzzling is that the in-form Andrea Belotti was left home, despite his recent resurgence.

The Torino forward has lead the line exceptionally well, and has propelled I Granata into an unlikely race for European football. While he’s had better goal tallies in past seasons, Belotti has become a more well-rounded forward under Walter Mazzarri and is ready for another go on the international scene. At 25 years old, Il Gallo is about to enter the prime of his career, and is an excellent option for Mancini.

Another player who could have also gotten the call ahead of Pavoletti and Grifo was Mario Balotelli. Despite some previous attitude concerns, Supermario’s has been Italy’s most consistent forward over the years, and has done well in Marseille, scoring four goals in his last six games. Mancini had this to say about Balotelli’s exclusion.

“Balotelli still isn’t in peak condition, he’s improving but I expect a lot from him and he can improve further. In general, all of the technical players are improving and this is comforting for me.” (Source: Twitter – @Azzurri)

The reality is that, much like Balotelli, Grifo hasn’t played much for Freiburg, and yet still received a call-up. Had Mancini cited previous indiscipline as his reason, it would have made Balotelli’s exclusion understandable. Regardless, Supermario deserves one more run with the Nazionale, and will likely get the chance next time around.

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While Mancini has done relatively well at blending youth with experience, another player who should have, at the very least, been part of the training camp is Milan’s Patrick Cutrone. Since breaking onto the scene, the Milan forward has demonstrated all the raw abilities of a top forward, and has a knack for being at the right place at the right time.

At just 21 years old, Cutrone, alongside Juventus’ Moise Kean, are easily Mancini’s best long-term bets. Since Krzysztof Piatek’s arrival, however, Cutrone has found playing time hard to come by. Despite this, he deserves a shot with the national team, and could prove useful at the upcoming Euros if given consistent playing time.

Moving forward, Mancini can’t keep turning to the likes of Pavoletti and Grifo as they are taking away development time from Italy’s potential, long-term number nines. Let’s face it, neither will make the final squad while Belotti, Balotelli and Cutrone all have a great shot. The ball’s now in Mancini’s court.

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Controversy in Ligue 1: PSG v Marseille- a sending off, a missed penalty and 4 goals

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This past weekend in Ligue 1 was always going to be dominated by one: PSG v Marseille the fiercest rivalry in Ligue 1 that is more than just a game. In the end it was a game yet again won by PSG who ran out 3-1 winners in Paris and went 20 points ahead of 2nd placed Lille as a result and still have a game in hand of them.

Marseille were aiming not only for a top 3 place which would give them Champions League automatic qualification plus of course there would be bragging rights about becoming the first team to beat PSG in Paris in the league. It wasn’t to be but we were entertained to a thrilling game nonetheless, which as normal had its controversy.

In total 7 yellow cards were shown and in the 2nd half Marseille’s Steve Mandanda who has had an impressive season was shown the red card and sent off. Kylian Mbappe had opened the scoring but the hero for PSG in the absence of Neymar’s injury was Angel Di Maria who scored a fantastic brace.

Even with the game won at 3-1 there was still controversy to be had when Saki tripped Mbappe for a penalty which delayed the game somewhat. Mbappe then stepped up to take the penalty…… and missed! Nobody could have seen that coming, least Mbappe who was looking for his 26th goal of what has been an incredible season for the 20 year old.

Marseille coach Rudi Garcia had this to say about the game. “We have nothing to be ashamed of in this defeat. Up until Steve [Mandanda]‘s sending off we were playing a coherent match. We didn’t let PSG impose their game and we didn’t concede chances. But we didn’t have enough chances in the second half, and that’s where my regrets lie. We could have been more clinical and more enterprising in the final 30 metres. It was also tough to play an excellent first 45 minutes and then go into the break a goal down – it happened to us last season here in Paris as well.”

Garcia continued, “The negative point is that the lads who were here last season   haven’t learnt the lesson and that’s a shame. We need to grow in experience as we have a young team. Still, they did extremely well to equalise early in the second half, but unfortunately we couldn’t hang onto the 1-1 score line for long enough.”

Marseille are still in the hunt for a top 4 place but after Lyon’s win they have slipped 6 points behind with just 9 games remaining.

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