PSG win 7 goal thriller as Rennes move closer to Marseille

If there is one thing that seems to be certain with PSG it is entertainment and following their 4-4 draw at Amiens last weekend the club scored another 4 goals, except they won this time beating Bordeaux 4-3.

No one really expected such a fight from Bordeaux who showed a lot of character in not just coming to Paris in order to defend. PSG had gone a goal down but veteran striker Edinson Cavani soon equalised. The star of the team this past weekend though was Marquinhos who can sometimes be seen as the forgotten man, but he scored two goals and Kylian Mbappe got the winner in a fantastic energised game.

But there would still be a negative to take from the match as Neymar received two yellow cards and was sent off in the very final moments of the game and now he will miss the trip to Dijon. However PSG have pulled clear at the top by 13 points, and that was helped as Marseille lost 3-1 at home to Nantes. It was the clubs first defeat in over 15 games and it wasn’t a good performance which was capped off by Alvaro scoring an own goal.

Marseille losing meant that Rennes took full advantage and their 2-1 home win over Nimes took them to within 8 points of 2nd place. M’Baye Niang scored both of Rennes’ goals as his good form continues. Rennes needed to win because Lille also picked up 3 points in 4th place with their victory over Toulouse. Toulouse who are rock bottom were never given a chance and this was a match where Lille ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Loic Remy scored a brace and the club have won 4 from their last five games, as they chase down 3rd position.

Monaco’s winning run came to an end but at least they didn’t lose and instead they drew 1-1 away to Dijon. Lyon won their first game in almost a month by beating Metz away 2-0 and that was seen as a very good result for the club as Metz had picked up in form lately even in the bottom half of the table. But the club are still behind Strasbourg who were involved a dour 0-0 draw against Amiens- the same Amiens who had put four goals past PSG, but that is football.

Reims have lost just one match in their past five and they got a decent 1-1 draw away to Saint Etienne and are in 8th place. They were losing 1-0 and heading for defeat until they were rewarded a penalty in the final minute which Boulaye Dia scored for the away side.

Reims European hopes are still alive even though they are drawing too many games and the reason for that is how close the league still is with only 12 games left to play. The club are in 8th and yet are only seven points behind 3rd place, so there really is all to play for.

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Do Mestre’s Neymar revelations spell the end for Dembele?

The last thing that Barcelona needed was confirmation that Ousmane Dembele was ruled out of action for the next six months.

On the cusp of a return after being out since before Christmas, the Frenchman broke down once again, and this time the injury has turned out to be worse than first feared.

Not only will he miss the rest of this season, but also the European Championship and 2020/21′s pre-season. Continue reading

Rennes make a bid for the Champions League as Neymar and Mbappe overshadow PSG win

Rennes made big strides to try and qualify for the Champions League as they beat Nantes in a five goal thriller winning 3-2 at home. Raphinha was the hero for the home side grabbing two goals. Rennes would be a major surprise to make the Champions League but that is what finishing 2nd gives teams and they edged up each week to Marseille. The gap is just three points.

And the gap is three points because Marseille have imploded, or rather look like they are. The club have not lost for 10 matches but that makes no odds when you are drawing games and not winning them and they drew yet again on Sunday night, this time in disappointing fashion away to Bordeaux with the game ending 0-0.

That draw effectively ended Marseille’s already slim hopes of winning the league. Only a few weeks ago they had shortened the gap to league leaders PSG by 5 points but now that stands at 12 and it looks very difficult to think that PSG will drop so many points and Marseille will go on such a consistent run.

As for PSG, not many people would think that they had a fantastic result at the weekend when they overpowered Montpellier to win 5-0. Pablo Sarabia who has been in good form for the club opened the scoring.  It was interesting to see that from the five goals scored only one was scored by either Kylian Mbappe or Neymar. And it was Mbappe who got it, with Neymar assisting. All should have been well then with such an emphatic victory but it wasn’t.

The referee booked Neymar after an exchange of words that saw the Brazilian at half time question the officials, to which they replied, ”speak French”. Then there was Mbappe who realised that he needed one more goal to be joint top goalscorer in Ligue 1 with Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder. But PSG coach Thomas Tuchel instead took the player off for Mauro Icardi and Mbappe was furious with his coach. A heated exchange of words could be clearly seen and Mbappe sat in the dug out looking very gloom. Now the inevitable has happened and the media have linked Mbappe with a move away from Paris. One has to feel for Tuchel, he doesn’t always get it right but at the same time he has quite a few egos in the dressing room.

Lille got an important victory away to Strasbourg by winning 2-1. It was only Lille’s 2nd away victory of the season and came courtesy of a Victor Omishen penalty, the player has been in great form lately and that win took the club into 4th place and six points behind 3rd placed Rennes.

Lyon just can’t find enough consistency and after going their last 3 games unbeaten they came unstuck away to Nice, who have not lost a game in Ligue 1 for two months. To make matters worse for Lyon Fernando Marcal was sent off early on. Though the hosts also lost a player they just shaded the game. To be fair to Lyon with 7 strikes on goal they were hardly poor, but they will have to pick themselves up once more. The objective this season has to be a European finish and despite this fresh set back they are just two points from their target.

Reims propped up the table again and into 7th place after they surprised Angers and won 4-1 at Stade Raymond Kopa. Reims had been behind and the surprise was not just the comeback but the fact that they scored so many goals. Prior to the game the club had scored just 17 all season. What was also interesting is that Reims had just 4 shots on target and everyone of them ended in a goal.

With Nice beating Lyon as mentioned above they have moved into 8th and that has cost Nantes who lost to Rennes a top 8 place.

There are midweek games in Ligue 1 this weekend and Champions League and Europa League spots will be up once again for grabs.

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Kylian Mbappe’s row with PSG coach Thomas Tuchel could highlight a move away

Even though PSG beat Montpellier 5-0 in front of their home fans controversy was never that far away. Both Neymar and Mbappe were involved in skirmishes. Neymar’s story has been covered on here but involved getting booked. But Mbappe’s was much closer to home.

The star striker had scored in the game meaning that he now has 14 goals and is in 2nd place in the goalscorers chart one behind Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder, and perhaps that is why he flared up when PSG coach Thomas Tuchel ordered him to come off.

He was substituted for Mauro Icardi and Mbappe did not go quietly. Clearly it could be seen on the touchline his confrontation with Tuchel. Mbappe was furious as Tuchel tried to cradle his hands on his head and calm the player down.

In that moment it was evident that despite his brilliance as a team player and natural goalscorer and already of course a World Cup winner with France to see the little boy in him. He will probably look back on incidents like this and laugh them off, or at least he should do. Tuchel obviously took off Mbappe as PSG were 4-0 up at the time with just over 20 minutes remaining, why not bring on Icardi?

After the game Tuchel said: ”I’m the coach someone has to decide who goes off and who comes on it’s me. He is very intelligent, he knows what he is doing. He doesn’t like going off, nobody likes going off These are not good images, but we are not the only club that has to deal with this sort of thing. It’s not good, because it opens up subjects that go against the team’s state of mind. Too bad.  I explained to him why we did this, and it will stay that way. I will always decide the technical aspects. We don’t play tennis, we play soccer and we have to respect everyone.”

Tuchel added that the argument is not over. “I will make a decision, We have training at 11am, we will talk about the match with the group. I’ll see if I talk about this or if I do it individually. It will depend on my night’s sleep too.”

Speculation has now grown that Mbappe could want out of the club. He has always been linked to Real Madrid but the club would have to find at least 250m euros to make this happen, or perhaps a few player swaps could help.

Tuchel though seems blameless in the whole debate, he acted as a coach and did nothing wrong. Mbappe is an amazing player but sadly he has shown to throw his toys out of his pram on a few occasions in the past when he hasn’t got his own way. PSG and Tuchel will hope that this story can blow over.

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Referee Jerome Brisard got it wrong with Neymar at the weekend

Even when PSG win games 5-0 Neymar appears to have arguments with someone but one could feel for the player this weekend.

PSG destroyed Montpellier 5-0 and even though Neymar did not get on the score sheet he did make an assist for Kylian Mbappe’s goal.

For Neymar it all kicked off as the first half was approaching closure. The Brazilian tried a fancy flick which looked great, although the ball did go out of play. Then, for some reason the camera’s zoomed in on him and referee Jerome Brisard it was hard to know what at that point was going on, but it looked heated. Some have claimed that Neymar was screaming that he was trying to play football. But words were exchanged and it is possible that at that point Neymar said something to the referee and then was booked. Which almost tipped Neymar over the edge.

It didn’t stop there though and at half time the players were seen to go through the tunnel to get to their dressing rooms and Neymar told the waiting officials again he was only trying to play football, of course he was speaking in Portuguese which didn’t go down well and one of the officials looking angry turned to him and said ”speak French”, it is claimed by some TV stations that Neymar replied ”speak French, my ass” and then kicked something.

So, two things here; The first is that why did Brisard book Neymar, and why did a confrontation happen in the first place. Was Brisard right to book him. Wasn’t it not just a heat of the moment thing, after all Neymar had not injured a fellow player. If he had sworn at the referee that is a different matter but it is some thing that we are not clear about.

The second situation seems a lot more darker. Why did a French official feel it was necessary for Neymar to speak French? Would that have suddenly validated his concerns- obviously not, so that seemed quite bizarre to say such a thing. Neymar replying simply added to what many think of him as a cry baby. But in defence of Neymar who also turned 28 it seems from this point of view that the officials were a little heavy handed on him and got it wrong. If anything they made sure to make the headlines especially in France.

As for Neymar he needs to put this recent episode behind him as PSG and him are in glorious form and will want to continue that to the end of the season.

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Ligue 1: Player of the Week: Neymar

One of the best players to ever grace Ligue 1 is the player of the week and that is PSG striker Neymar.

The Brazilian star has been brilliant this season even though he has missed two chunks of it. When he plays he usually scores, and this past weekend he came up trumps against a very good Lille side.

The last time PSG played Lille at Stade Pierre-Mauroy they were so close to sealing the league title and just needed a win, at the time Lille were in 2nd place but couldn’t catch them but the club still had a parting gift and that was to inflict a heavy and rare defeat on them, Lille ran out 5-1 winners.

This season no one was publically talking about revenge but it was clear PSG were after it. They beat Lille 2-0 and there was only one team in it. It was a victory that took the champions 10 points clear at the top and both of the goals came from Neymar. The added satisfaction from PSG’s point of view is that it was Lille’s first defeat at home this season.

Neymar has had his ups and downs this season but at the end of the day he has now scored 13 goals and is just 1 behind Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder. He has also assisted in a further 5 goals, so he has contributed 18 goals from his 13 games that he has played and that is a brilliant return.

He ranks in 5th place of Ligue 1 players in the fantasy rankings with a combined score of 55 points and his 2 goals at the weekend earned him the most points which was 8. His value is 14.5m and for good reason. He just produces the goods time and again.

The game against Lille marked Neymar’s 50th league game in France where he has now scored an incredible 47 goals. Neymar’s first goal of the game came just before the half hour mark as he played a neat one-two with Marco Verratti before unleashing a brilliant shot from 18 yards. The game was wrapped up early in the second half when the visitors were awarded a penalty and Neymar took it, the ball crept in with the power of the shot and that was his 2nd goal of the game. In a very touching moment Neymar paid tribute to Basketball legend Kobe Bryant who he had previously met, Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash earlier that day.

After a summer of discontent when Neymar tried to force a move away from the club, some fans suggested that it would take an almighty effort from Neymar this season for them to forgive him. Well he is doing just that, and he is making it look all too easy. Then again that’s what you get when you spend over 200 million euros on a player.

 

 

PSG go 10 points clear as Lyon continue great form

PSG stretched their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 10 points as they gained revenge over Lille for last season’s 5-1 hammering by beating them in a more conservative scoreline of 2-0. But less goals don’t equal less points and this was an assured rounded display by PSG who are looking like a much more maturer side as each week passes by.

Neymar got both goals, one was a penalty and his total for the season is 13. He has gone into joint 2nd place and is only one goal behind Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder. It was an emotional night for Neymar following the tragic events earlier in the day that saw Basketball legend Kobe Bryant die in a helicopter crash. The both of them were very good friends and Neymar dedicated his goals to him.

No team looks like catching PSG and if one team were going to give a challenge it was going to be Marseille, but they dropped points. Their 0-0 home result against Angers yielded just 2 shots on target between both clubs- both shots coming from Marseille. Whilst L’OM did fall 10 points behind PSG, the good news is that 3rd placed Rennes also drew which means the gap between 2nd and 3rd is still 5 points. Rennes drew 1-1 away to Nice with Flavien Tait scoring for Rennes- this was the midfielders first goal for his club this season.

The trio of Montpellier, Lyon and Nantes are now a threat to 3rd place for Rennes and the final qualifying position for a Champions League spot. Montpellier won their 3rd game in a row after beating Dijon 2-1 with Andy Delort in fine form getting the winner for the home side. They are now 4 points behind Rennes.

The good form of Lyon continues as the club tipped to challenge PSG this season beat bottom placed Toulouse 3-0 in a widely expected result. Maxwell Cornet opened the scoring and it was a game dominated by the home side. Nantes have 32 points but they lost at the weekend, 1-0 to Bordeaux and they could be dropping off given that they have lost 2 of their last three games.

Lille are in the poorest form for top half clubs and their defeat against PSG means they have lost 3 games in a row. Whilst they are in 7th place they have scored just 1 goal in their past three matches and conceded 8 goals, their next game is a tough one, away to Strasbourg. Rounding out the top 8 is Strasbourg, so that match should be an interesting one.

Strasbourg claimed their 4th win from five games with a surprise result as they went to Monaco and beat them 3-1. Ludovic Ajorque who has been in fine form opened the scoring.

Whilst it looks like PSG will be winning the league again, the race for 3rd is looking like one of the most exciting in years. There is just 7 points between 3rd and 8th and even Monaco back in 13th position are just a further point behind.

Round 22 kicks off this Friday.

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Coupe de France round up: PSG squeeze through, Bordeaux shocked

The round of 32 in the France’s main cup, the Coupe de France was the main focus this past weekend as Ligue 1 took a rest.

All eyes were on league champions PSG who had to travel to Lorient. Lorient are currently in 1st place in Ligue 2 and PSG of course top the standings in Ligue 1, so it made for an interesting match up. PSG coach Thomas Tuchel decided to have star players Kylian Mbappe and Neymar on the bench and he didn’t use them. The game was a very tight one which in the end PSG won 1-0 through a Pablo Sarabia header with just 10 minutes to go to break Lorient’s hearts. PSG will now face Pau FC in the last 16.

This will be a dream for Pau FC who are in the 3rd tier of French football, to be able to play against the mighty PSG for a chance in the quarter finals. It is everything Pau FC deserved after shocking another Ligue 1 team as they knocked out Bordeaux, winning 3-2 in what many have called one of the games of the round.

The match finished 2-2 and Pau FC won the game in extra time, there were 15,000 fans to see it and they have been drawn again at home to face PSG- put this in your calendars, the game takes place on January 29th.

Perhaps the game of the round though took place in Nantes where Lyon came to town and won an enthralling match 4-3. Lyon had found themselves 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes and at half time they were 3-1 up. Both teams revised their normal line ups but it was Lyon that showed more hunger in the end. Moussa Dembele who has arguably been one of Lyon’s better players this season seemingly put the game away when he made it 4-1. But Nantes were not completely done and a comeback looked on the cards after goals from Louza and Simon one in the 83rd minute and then another three minutes later. It was a very nervous last five minutes as Nantes pushed for a fourth goal but they couldn’t find it.

Elsewhere Strasbourg beat Angouleme 5-1 with Ludovic Ajorque getting on the score sheet once again though this was a penalty. Saint Etienne were involved in a very good game eventually beating Paris FC 3-2 away. Angers beat Rouen 4-1, Montpellier easily beat 5-0 with star striker Gaetan Laborde getting on the score sheet. Rennes won and Dijon put 5 goals past Nimes and Monaco squeezed through too.

Only the Bordeaux game was seen as a shock result, the last 16 games take place at the end of the month.

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Edinson Cavani’s exit at PSG must be handled with care and respect

Finally it has happened, one of football’s most open secrets is now confirmed; PSG striker Edinson Cavani wants to leave the club.

The Uruguayan told PSG sporting director Leonardo on the eve of the clubs Coupe de France game against Lorient, which PSG won 1-0, although Cavani could not play because of injury.

In truth Cavani has wanted out of PSG for a few seasons now and maybe we can mark the moment he wanted to leave when Neymar joined from Barcelona. It took only a few games for the two players to be at logger heads with one another when in one game Cavani infamously took the ball from Neymar’s hands when PSG were awarded a penalty. After the incident the players played it all down, but really no one was fooled.

Before Neymar came, Cavani was the shark in the Paris waters, and then the Brazilian made the world record transfer fee. To add more insult to misery PSG also bought the brilliant Kylian Mbappe, and all of a sudden youth was taking over old. Because of recent set backs with injuries Cavani has gone down the pecking order with manager Thomas Tuchel and has found it hard to reclaim his place.

The problem is that Cavani now must displace what is being quickly known as the ‘fantastic four’. That is Neymar, Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria. Cavani sees no way out and simply wants to leave the club now. At the end of the day Cavani had done fantastic for PSG and has scored 198 goals in all competitions from 292 games. He is just two goals away from the magic 200. But if he gets his wish and is sold before the window on January 31st then he won’t make it.

At 32 Cavani still has another good couple of seasons in him if he stays fit and the rumours are that Atletico Madrid want him. Frank Lampard at Chelsea has also shown interest. Perhaps though Cavani’s future lies at Manchester United who have just lost the services of striker Marcus Rashford for at least the next two months.

What PSG do not want is Cavani’s inevitable exit to end with a bad taste in the mouth, after all the player should go down as a legend with the club having spent 7 seasons with the club. No body wants this to drag on and start to become controversial and it seems clear that the best result here would be to let Cavani leave the club. PSG do not need him now with the embarrassment of riches they have up front.

The question remains what will be Cavani’s next adventure and where will it take him?

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PSG slip up, Marseille take steps forward and Lyon show their strengths

PSG rarely drop points at home, before the Monaco game at the weekend they had dropped 3 points since the beginning of the season, a surprise loss against Reims. They also love playing Monaco where they had scored 14 goals in their last 3 league meetings. But on Sunday evening there would be similar stories and different ones.

Similar in the fact that the goals still came from PSG, add another 3, to the increasing tally they have converted against Monaco. When PSG score 3 goals at home you don’t even think at that point that the away team got anything from the game. Wrong. Monaco scored 3 too in a game that ended 3-3. It has already been voted in France as the game of the season so far, and it was nice to see what many people consider PSG’s real rivals, at least of the past decade go toe to toe with them and not just curl up and give up like they have the past two seasons.

A lot of credit has to be given to new Monaco coach Robert Moreno, the Spaniard admitted that he had set up his team to attack. Striker Wissam Ben Yedder scored one of their goals and the former Sevilla man has been in brilliant form. Neymar scored 2 of PSG’s goals and he is turning out to be having quite a successful season despite his off the field problems at the beginning of the season and the fact he has missed two periods out with injuries.

The result left PSG with 46 points, five ahead of Marseille but PSG have a game in hand. That match is being played tomorrow against ironically Monaco at Stade Louis II.

Marseille will be looking for their first title in a decade and it would be a special one to usurp PSG. But L’OM did record a vital victory over the weekend beating 3rd placed Rennes, who could have reeled them in. Instead Marseille have gone 8 points clear of them through the only goal of the game scored by Kevin Strootman.

Nantes beat Saint Etienne 2-0 as they continue to fall but Nantes have bounced back from defeat in their last game before this one to record 3 wins from their past five games, a Europa League place looks on for the club.

Lille have lost two games in a row after an away defeat against Dijon. Lille’s away form is very poor and it is only their home results that mean that they are 5th in the league. Gaeten Laborde scored again for Montpellier as they beat Amiens 2-1, and the striker is in great form having scored 3 goals in his past two games and helped his side climb up to 6th place.

Lyon like Montpellier may just have found form at the right time in what has been a troubled season for them. They overcame Bordeaux 2-1 with goals from Maxwell Cornet and Moussa Dembele and have gone their last two games unbeaten. And despite Monaco’s heroics they actually dropped a place to 8th, but form is very good for the club who have collected 20 points from their last 30, only goal difference separates them from 9th place Angers though.

The league is tight and there is still plenty to play for, the surprise is that the title is not PSG’s yet and that can only be good for French football.

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