Will Koeman’s Dutch bias cloud his time at Barcelona?

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for Ronald Koeman at Barcelona.

The former Dutch international and Barca player has had to deal with the fall out from Lionel Messi wanting to leave, overseeing Messi’s best mate, Luis Suarez actually leaving, watching with interest to see how a vote of no confidence in the president who hired him was doing and all the while trying to get the Catalans playing well.

For the latter point, he couldn’t really have done any better. Continue reading

Ligue 1: Player of the Weekend: Memphis Depay

There were quite a lot of challenges to Memphis Depay for Ligue 1 player of the weekend, with players scoring braces of goals and defenders getting the winner in Monaco’s case and keeping a clean sheet. But Depay gets the nod after he scored a hat trick.

Lyon beat Dijon 4-1 and that was important for three reasons: The first was eradicating how poor the club had started last season which gave them no chance of challenging PSG for the league title. The second was that this game, their first of the season came just days after losing at the semi-final stage of the Champions League, naturally the club would be feeling down, so this win back in the domestic league is a great sign. The final reason was getting one up, at least psychologically on PSG, as the champions will not play a game until September 10th. They were given an extra 10 days rest given that they had reached the Champions League final.

Back to Depay who has always remained a quality purchase for Lyon. Last season he was very important for the club and amassed 40 points. He scored 9 goals and also assisted in a further two. That was probably his weakest link last season not setting up more goals.

However Depay has started the season in brilliant style by scoring a hat trick. Lyon were 1-0 down when they were awarded a penalty with just six minutes left of the first half which Depay converted. But even more good news was to come when Depay scored again right on half time. That goal had put Lyon 2-1 up at half time from a losing position and that was key to Dijon losing their hearts in the game. Depay wasn’t finished though and completed his hat trick after his side were awarded another penalty in the second half. The other Lyon goal came through an own goal. The only blemish for Depay was that he was booked during the game.

Despite the man of the match performance and a blistering start from Depay there was a downside to what he said after the game speculating on his future, Depay said: “I do not see the future, I do not know if I will do the full season here. I have been here for four years, I became captain. After you have to look at your career, there is no Champions League. At the moment I don’t know.”

And that could be key for Depay’s future at Lyon. He wants a move to possibly Barcelona and certainly wants to play in the Champions League. For now Lyon are happy to have Depay, but is Depay happy to be at Lyon?

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Lyon in crisis as they sack Sylvinho after just 141 days in charge

Lyon have sacked coach Sylvinho after just 141 days in charge as the club have made their worst start to a Ligue 1 season in 23 years.

The news of Sylvinho’s sacking was a shock given that he had just taken the job in the summer but Lyon have been very poor by their standards in the league. The problem for the ex-Arsenal player was that he did not have a resume to back up that everything will work out well, this was his first proper managerial job- and to be fair it showed.

Tactics went out of the window and chaos ensued as he directed the defenders not to cross the halfway line and then wouldn’t let star players such as Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele play together.

Pre-season results were also poor barring an away win against Arsenal. Although Lyon looked to be PSG’s strongest challengers at the beginning of the season as they opened up the campaign with 2 wins, scoring 9 goals and conceding none, that has dramatically changed since then.

Lyon have won just 2 games all season and at the time of Sylvinho’s sacking the club are in 14th place with 9 points a huge 12 points behind PSG. But has the club jumped the gun and not thought through this properly?

In truth given time Sylvinho may well have found the right system and there has been encouraging moments but keeping him would mean giving up European football for next season and seeing the club possibly finish out of the top 10, that would be too much for a proud team like Lyon. It does seem early to pull the trigger but a wider thought would have been taken on, and this could be the right decision. For Sylvinho this will come as a big blow, but at the end of the day Lyon could well be to blame. Is it correct to appoint a manager with no first tier experience in the game? That is why sporting director Juninho could be next to go.

The next question turns to who will replace Sylvinho? Laurent Blanc has been made the favourite and that could be a good solid choice. Arsene Wenger’s name has appeared once again, but the former Arsenal great looks unlikely to coach again, although he has admitted that he misses the game. Another name being linked is Jose Mourinho, with the money the club have maybe he would be tempted, but in the past he has dismissed coaching in Ligue 1.

We should know the outcome in the next 10 days or so as Lyon try and save their season.



Brilliant Lyon emerge as the team to stop PSG in Ligue 1

Well what a start to the Ligue 1 season it has been for Lyon, who have won their opening two games of the season. But what has caught the attention is the way they are winning their games.

On the opening day of the season they made light work of Monaco playing them away from home they ran out 3-0 winners. Then yesterday they played their first game at home and sent their supporters to their homes happy beating Angers 6-0. It means that Lyon have secured first position and have scored 9 goals from two games and have yet to concede. Could there be any better start to a season?

What has made this one special is that the club have had so much change during the summer. First long time coach Bruno Genesio  left his position and was replaced by Sylvinho taking in his first managerial job. Arsenal fans will remember Sylvinho fondly with his time spent at the club in the 2000s.

Quality players have been sold on such as Tanguy Ndombele who went to Tottenham and Nebil Fekir who was sold to Real Betis, this has raised nearly 100m euros for the club. But Lyon haven’t just sat around and it was inevitable that they were going to buy players. In came Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Angers for 22m euros, Joachim Andersen from Serie A outfit Sampdoria for 21m euros and Thiago Mendes from Lille who had performed so well last season for 19.8m euros. And so from the sale of Tanguy Ndombele Lyon were able to bring in 3 fresh and quality players. Right now it is paying dividends.

Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele scored two goals apiece and it just shows that there are goals all over the pitch for this Lyon side. The real surprise has been the impact that Sylvinho has had on the team especially with his lack of management experience. This season was always going to be a turning point of sorts for the club, but it seems for now to be turning in the right direction.

With PSG’s shock loss, Lyon are top of the table though we shouldn’t get too carried away after just two games it is the clubs application, confidence and goals which has lit up the league in its earliest of stages.

In the next month Lyon will face some tough competition having to play the likes of Montpellier and PSG, and by the end of September we will have a clearer picture if Lyon will be a genuine threat to PSG’s dominance over Ligue 1. For now they certainly are.

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Ligue 1: Week 32: 11 Player Picks for the Weekend


With just 21 points left on the board most options are still open- who will finish in a Champions League place? Who can get the remaining Europa League positions and who will be relegated from Ligue 1? PSG could wrap up the title this weekend too, and below we look at the players that you should consider that have the best chance of earning points this weekend based on the fixtures. Formation 4-4-2.

Goalkeeper: Walter Benitez- Nice

Walter Benitez has been one of the best goalkeepers in Ligue 1 and with Nice he has not conceded a goal for over 180 minutes and just 2 in the last five games. Nice have found form and they will play away against Rennes which will not be easy but if you do not have Benitez in your team you should and the shot stopper is valued at 6.5m.

Defender: Emil Krafth- Amiens

Even though Amiens are in 17th position and have struggled for most of the season Emil Krafth has stuck out as being a good defender recently and Amiens have kept 2 clean sheets from their last 3. They play Dijon at the weekend and have every chance of keeping another one. Krafth can be brought in for 3m.

Defender: Stefan Mitrovic- Strasbourg

Strasbourg have been brilliant in recent weeks and Stefan Mitrovic could have the opportunity in defence to earn some points as the team return home to face bottom club Guingamp. The last time they were at home they beat a much better team in Reims 4-0, keeping a clean sheet. Mitrovic can be snapped up for just 3m.

Defender: Kenny Lala- Strasbourg

Keeping with another Strasbourg player is Kenny Lala, and maximum points could be earned as if expected Strasbourg beat Guingamp and keep a clean sheet. The bonus is that Lala can score goals too, and he has done so 4 times this season. Lala would cost 6m.

Defender: Daniel Congre-Montpellier

Montpellier will be at home against Toulouse and this game could give the team the right opportunity to get back on track. Montpellier have kept 2 clean sheets at home in recent weeks including their last match against Guingamp. Congre who has been a constant presence this season in the back four is valued at 6m.

Midfielder: Florent Mollet- Montpellier

Mollet has played 25 times this season and if Montpellier can put in a decent display against Toulouse which they will be expected to do Mollet could rake in the points. Added to the fact is Mollet likes to get up front and try and score goals and he has 3 so far. He can be bought for 7m.

Midfielder: Marco Verratti- PSG

Verratti is of course one of the best midfielders in his position in Europe and he can score goals too. But his role at the weekend will also be helping out the defence. PSG have a tough away game against Lille but at the same time a good display means the club will win the league. To bring Verratti in your fantasy team will cost 7m.

Midfielder: Cesc Fabregas- Monaco

Cesc Fabregas has been talking Monaco up and is training hard and adapting well. Playing at home against Reims who will have a big travel journey Monaco can start as the favourites and Fabregas may just be able to earn vital points. He is valued at 7m.

Midfielder: Florian Thauvin- Marseille

Marseille have not won a game for their last 3 matches but could get back on track when they will be at home against Nimes. Florian Thauvin can hold the midfield well against such opposition and is not afraid to earn points through scoring goals, he has an outstanding 13 so far this season and he can be snapped up for 11m.

Striker: Memphis Depay- Lyon

Lyon had  a poor result against Dijon last weekend but the club and Depay have had extra training and are focused for their game when they play Nantes who are in poor form and have lost their last 3 games. Depay has 6 goals this season which is not a great record but he usually does well against Nantes. Depay is 10.5m.

Striker: Kylian Mbappe- PSG

Mbappe was somehow benched in PSG’s last game and they didn’t win that. At the weekend they will play Lille away which won’t be easy but at the same time Mbappe will be raring to go to prove that his coach Thomas Tuchel should not drop him, even if it is to rest him. PSG can win the league at Lille who are in 2nd place and Mbappe has 27 goals this season, he is valued at 10.5m.

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Should Manchester United re-sign Memphis Depay?

There has been plenty of discussion over the current crop at Manchester United, debating whether they are good enough to win titles, trophies and truly compete at the top end of European football. Since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson there have been some talented individuals who have come and gone in quick succession, but should Manchester United have had more faith in those rising up?

One player that immediately springs to mind is Memphis Depay, now of Olympique Lyonnais.

When Memphis first came to Old Trafford from PSV Eindhoven, there was a sense of unpredictability over who he was and what he could bring. The manager who had signed him for £30 million, Louis van Gaal, had known the wide attacker for a number of years given his involvement in the Dutch national team as well as being well-connected in his native country. Memphis’ rise in Holland was meteoric, having scored 28 goals from the left wing in his final season with PSV before joining the Red Devils.

After the departures of Ángel di María and Luis Nani, Man United were in desperate need of wingers and wide, creative players, so decided to pursue two relatively inexperienced starlets in Memphis and Anthony Martial, formerly of AS Monaco. There was always going to be an adjusting period due to the differences in style between the Eredivisie and the Premier League, but no one perhaps foresaw the complications with the scale of the move. Coming from humble beginnings and rising through the Netherlands at one of the country’s biggest clubs was no comparison to then joining the global powerhouse Manchester United and having the expectation placed upon his shoulders. 

While Memphis was, in the latter years, the main man of the PSV team and had that responsibility to consistently perform, it was a completely different kettle of fish when coming to Old Trafford and playing in front of 80,000 spectators week in, week out, expected to drive a stagnant van Gaal team forward.

In the end, the Dutch international lasted only one season under van Gaal and half a season under José Mourinho, accumulating seven goals and nine assists in his first 46 appearances.

Comparing that to Marcus Rashford’s tally of last season, Memphis had only scored six goals less than the Englishman, which is interesting given it was in six fewer appearances. This was also during Memphis’ first season in Manchester, playing under a new manager, with a new brand of football, and in domestic competitions that he needed to adapt to.

After being sold to Lyon in January 2017 for half the price Manchester United initially bought him for, he was allowed to develop into the player the Red Devils once saw of him. He found his shooting boots once more and in his first full season in France, Memphis found the back of the net on 22 occasions and assisted his teammates 17 times – hugely impressive numbers.

While some might claim that Ligue 1 is not as strong as the Premier League (although English clubs love raiding the French league for players each summer), no one can deny Memphis of his development so far with Lyon. Bruno Génésio, his manager, has deployed Memphis both on the left and through the middle, alternating between a more direct approach and one where he has the ability to take on his man in the outside channels. In his four games last season playing as a striker, Memphis scored six times, coming towards to end of the campaign which justified Génésio’s selection of putting the Dutchman through the middle so far this year.

Memphis helped record Lyon a famous victory in Manchester this season over United’s across-town rivals. While he did not score, he did assist Nabil Fekir’s goal just before half time and continued to be a presence on the break for City’s defenders to worry about. No matter his form, Memphis will always pose a problem for defenders due to his rapid turn of speed and nimble feet.

It has been obvious that Manchester United have so far struggled this season for creative ingenuity, partly down to the manager’s philosophy, but also due to a lack of confidence in the team’s attacking ranks. Alexis Sánchez, brought in last January, scored his first goal since April just before the international break, ending a barren run of games that appeared to be weighing him down. The Chilean has failed to be an added spark in attack that can get in amongst the goals as he did with Arsenal.

And so it begs the question as to whether the Red Devils should re-sign Memphis. There are reports to suggest United will have a first refusal option on any sale; so should Lyon accept an offer from another club, Man United will have the chance to match it and hijack the deal.

Given his talents and clear progression on the pitch – as well as maturing as a human being which was said to be a major problem when first arriving in Manchester – it can be argued that a return to Old Trafford would certainly be an option worth considering. The move to England came too early in his career, along with the untold riches, but with his move to France, Memphis has now developed into a player that can consistently perform to a high level.

If Manchester United were to take Memphis back, which should be met with applause from United’s fans, then he needs to be played as an understudy and rotation player with Romelu Lukaku. While he can fill in on the left wing if needs be, Memphis can show his true qualities through the middle and also provide the necessary competition for Lukaku. Just as he is now, when the Belgian goes through a dry patch, there should be no harm of bringing in Memphis who can pose a threat at any time.

When United are struggling for ideas, as they have done this season, Memphis can provide a link over the top with his blistering speed and awareness of playing on the last man. While Lukaku is a striker who can hold up play with his back to goal, the Dutch international can offer a different dimension with a quicker way to get to the opposition’s goal. Linking up with Pogba’s spectacular array of passing, it could be a match made in heaven.

While this might not come to fruition, Manchester United should certainly consider the many upsides of re-signing Memphis and bringing him back to Old Trafford. There is a player full of quality there who would relish at the chance to correct his wrongs first time out.

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Ligue 1 stars Mbappe, Neymar, Fekir, Depay, Thauvin & Cavani back in Action!

Ligue 1 kicks-off on Friday, August 10th with Marseille hosting Toulouse! The French fans have celebrated a glorious summer with the likes of Kylian Mbappe helping Les Bleus lift the World Cup! However, this Friday, Fantasy Football Managers will be looking to the likes of Florian Thauvin to earn precious fantasy points in the long and exciting quest to be crowned best Ligue 1 Fantasy Manager!

While PSG may be clear favorites to repeat as champions, in particular with Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar all on the club’s payroll, Lyon- as long as they keep Nabil Fekir, have an exciting and fun core in Fekir, Memphis Depay, Bertrand Traore and striker Mariano. Marseille have some good players, and not just Thauvin, but it will be hard for them to compete with PSG in a long season due to the low budget limiting the club’s ability to lure quality signings.

Finally, Monaco have sold players again this summer but they have made a habit of rebounding and performing well with the help of clever signings and quality work by coach Leonardo Jardim.

So who will be on your Ligue 1 Fantasy Team? How about Cavani who is PSG’s all-time leading scorer (he surpassed Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record last season), or perhaps iconic Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon?

Remember to play now and invite your friends to join your Mini-League! It is Free to join, so what are you waiting for? If you believe you have what it takes to challenge other Ligue 1 Fantasy managers then click the following link now: https://ligue1fantasy.com/users/register and prove your knowledge of French football!


Marseille miss out as Monaco & Lyon qualify for Champions League

Despite winning 2-1 at home, Marseille failed to qualify for the Champions League with that privilege going to Monaco and Lyon. Monaco recorded a relatively easy 3-0 win at Troyes with Marcos Lopes being decisive again.

The Portuguese attacking midfielder, also known as Rony, scored twice for the Principality club. The most nail-biting game was Lyon’s home match against Nice. The visitors took the lead and it looked as if Marseille would sneak in as the third and final French team to make the Champions League. However, as has become customary in the last 9 Rounds in Ligue 1, Dutchman Memphis Depay carried Lyon with his goals and assists. Depay scored a hat-trick and made sure of Lyon’s comeback to secure Champions League qualification.

Making the Champions League is very important not only because it signals return to top European competition for Marseille but also due to the financial rewards of playing in what is considered the world’s elite club tournament.

Marseille fans will have to wait at least another year before seeing their team take on the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City & Juventus. Do you know French football? Can you compete with the best Fantasy Football managers in Ligue 1? If so, test your skills here https://ligue1fantasy.com

Ligue 1 Player of the Week – Memphis Depay (Lyon)


Time now to find out the identity of the best player in Ligue 1 this past weekend. There were some great individual performances of course – Guingamp’s 4-0 home win against Troyes saw some great outings for the home XI, for example. The one who stood above all the others, however, was none other than Lyon star Memphis Depay. The 24-year-old ran the show as Les Gones ran riot at Stade Saint-Symphorien, emerging 5-0 victors on the road.

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Ligue 1 Picks for the week ahead

Thomas Lemar Monaco

The absence of PSG in the weeks fixture list means there are plenty of opportunities for the stars from the rest of the league to shine this weekend. Here are our picks for the upcoming games.

Anthony Lopes, Lyon – 37 points

Having been at Lyon for 18 years, Lopes is something of a legendary figure at the club nowadays.

The French-born Portuguese keeper will be hoping to add to a haul of ten clean sheets across the campaign as they take on strugglers Toulouse.

Adil Rami, Marseille – 54 points Continue reading