Ligue 1- 11 Player Picks for the Weekend

SILLLLAAAA(1)

There is a full fixture list for Ligue 1 this weekend and whilst PSG will win the league this season there is still so much to be proven, won and lost from now until May. Who will get the other 2 places for the Champions League? And on Sunday night we will witness one of the grandest fixtures in European football when PSG take on in form Marseille. Below is our list of players to watch out for this weekend that you may want to add to your Ligue 1 Fantasy team.

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Steve Mandanda 8.5m

Mandanda hasn’t always had it easy this season and that is why he is in 7th place in Ligue 1 fantasy standings. But his current form has been terrific where he has shipped just 2 goals in the past month or Marseille. He picked up 7pts last weekend and a good performance this weekend would see him into the top 5.

Defender: Yunis Abdelhamid 6m

The Reims defender has been in good form in the back four who have been able to keep a few clean sheets already in 2019 as the club are now in the top 5. Reims play Nantes at home, and we could well expect them to achieve another clean sheet against a side who are in 14th place.

Defender: Kenny Lala 5m

Lala has been an unsung hero of the defence of the Strasbourg team. While it is true that his defenders conceded 2 goals last weekend that was against Lyon. But they have a good chance to keep a clean sheet as they play newly promoted Nimes at the weekend and Lala who has 43pts already should be looked into.

Defender: Dante Costa 6.5m

Dante Costa won’t ‘costa’ you a lot and the Nice defender has already garnered 36pts this season. Nice are at home against Toulouse on Friday night where they will be the favourites to win and could well keep a clean sheet, helping Costa’s cause.

Defender: Thiago Silva 9.5m

The PSG talisman has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in Ligue 1. PSG play Marseille at the weekend in a game which could go either way when we look at recent form. At the same time history tells us this might be a very difficult match for Marseille and PSG may be able to keep a clean sheet. Silva is 9.5m but has scored a massive 61pts so far.

Midfielder: Maxime Lopez 5m

Maxime Lopez has just got on with what he needs to do at Marseille and whilst he only has 29pts in midfield, he remains a luxury player at a good price of 5m that can change a game. Marseille do have a difficult match against PSG but they will be 100% focused as they try to reach 3rd place in the standings. He is more adept at assists than scoring goals.

Midfielder: Thiago Mendes 7m

Mendes has been very solid for Lille this season in the middle of the football pitch and Lille will be taking on Monaco who have struggled this season even though they are playing much better now. But Lille at home should be able to ease to victory and Mendes could be a key player.

Midfielder: Xavier Chavalerin 6m

Chavalerin is just 6m and has done very well for his team Reims this season starting 26 games. Reims have been a revelation and remain a strong contender for European football and are playing an average form team in Nantes this weekend. In recent months the player has scored a few goals and assisted well. He could be worth a pick this weekend for his price.

Midfielder: Younousse Sankhare 8m

Looking at his season the Bordeaux midfielder Sankhare looks overpriced but he is the type of player that can make teams of the weekend and he might be able to help his club when they will be at home to Rennes. Rennes will be tired after the Arsenal game in the Europa League and Bordeaux could take advantage of that. Plus Sankhare has assisted in 3 goals this season.

Striker: Nicolas Pepe 8m

Pepe is excellent value to add to your team as he has been one of the best strikers in Ligue 1 this season. We will pick him because he is in form and will face the defence of Monaco who have been less than impressive this season. He has 84pts and has scored 17 goals this season and assisted in 8.

Striker: Gaetan Laborde 5m

Laborde is just 5m and the Montpellier striker has scored 10 goals this season and is always a danger and attacking player. Montpellier play play Lyon but Lyon have been shipping goals lately which could work out for Laborde and he should be looked into.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com  

 

 

 

 

Controversy in Ligue 1 as Saint Etienne lose the plot against league rivals Lille

PEPPPPP(1)

The match between Saint Etienne and Lille was billed as match of the weekend in Ligue 1 given the teams standings. It was 5th v 2nd and 2nd one.

Saint Etienne have really punched above their weight this season and looked odds on for a European place and maybe even a Champions League one, but recent form had dipped before having to meet Lille who have been a revelation this season. Though Lille will not win the league as they are 14 points behind PSG and have played two games more they are eyeing 2nd place.

The game was a frantic one but was littered with 6 yellow cards and then Lille grabbed the game just as it looked like it was heading for a 0-0. Tensions had already been strong beforehand but when one of the starlets of the season Nicolas Pepe scored for Lille with just three minutes remaining you could have heard a pin drop in the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard.

With only one team realistically going to win from there on, the problems started. And it felt like the Argentina team level problems from the 1990 World Cup final when a few Saint Etienne players simply lost the plot.

Not one but two players would be sent off and the chaos of course simply played into Lille’s hands. The first to go was Mathieu Debauchy whose frustrations were taken out through un sport man like conduct and he wen 250 seconds after Pepe’s goal for a second bookable offence. But the embarrassment wasn’t over for the home side yet.

Striker Wahbi Khazri lost the plot in the 4th minute of injury time as his side had a chance to score and level everything up. He ended up receiving a straight red which will be a massive miss for his club who rely on his goals, and now he is set to miss at least 3 games in a row as the club try to home on in a European finish.

Despite this setback Saint Etienne coach Jean-Louis Gasset tried to remain optimistic. “We knew Lille were a stronger and faster team on the break. We were lucky not to take a hiding in the first half, but then at the end we were pushing for a winner and lost it on the counterattack with three minutes left. The two sendings-off will handicap our squad which is already affected by injuries.”

Gasset continued: “We wanted to get back on track after the match at Marseille. We tried, but we were clumsy and not good enough technically. There was a bit of frustration after the goal. Our European hopes are not over. We have lost to the three teams – Paris, Lyon and Lille – who are fighting for the Champions League. We have lost to teams who are stronger than us. Now we will try to remobilise everyone. Not everything is to be thrown away, even if we have not been playing as well since January now.”

Play the most popular Ligue 1 Fantasy game here: www.fantasyligue1.com and invite your friends too!

 

Ligue 1 -Player of the Week- Kylian Mbappe

MBAPPPE(1)

Kylian Mbappe scored both goals as PSG beat Caen at the weekend in what was a tougher match than expected for the current French champions, and he has emerged as our Fantasy player of the week.

Mbappe collected a cool 8 points with his two goals which now puts him on an overall points tally of 107 pts. Not only was Mbappe the player of the week but he is the leading player in Fantasy Ligue 1 and is a massive 27 pts in front of Lille striker Nicolas Pepe and his team mate Edinson Cavani.

Mbappe is just 20 years old and what has been incredible is how he has been able to adapt himself so well and shown so much consistency it’s as if he has been playing football at the top level for the past 10 years.

Not only is he leading the Fantasy Ligue 1 rankings but he is also the top goal scorer in Ligue 1 with 24 goals to his name already. He has already surpassed his best season goals wise which came with his former club Monaco in the 2016/17 season when he scored 15 league goals. Overall that season he was able to net 26 times but this season he has 29 and could well have 40 by the end of it.

It’s not just about goals for Mbappe though and he has assisted in 5 goals, with his vision and his pace no defender wants to really go toe to toe with him, and it is clear that Mbappe is one of the best players in the world, and possibly as an out and out striker could well be the best centre forward, even at 20. In that relation he reminds one of the Brazilian Ronaldo who burst onto the scene 23 years ago. Both players share that pace and a willingness to go for goal without hesitation.

If you don’t have Mbappe in your team, perhaps you should do and he can be bought for 10.5m his current value. That is 2.5m cheaper than Cavani who has 7 goals less than him. Indeed Neymar cost 14.5m and that’s 3m more than Mbappe, although to be fair Neymar has missed the past month and could be out until April, so injury has hampered his season performance.

What has also been impressive with Mbappe being in first position is that he has received 3 yellow cards and 1 red. Whilst Pepe and Cavani in 2nd and 3rd place have no cards against them and yet Mbappe still has a huge lead over them.

Mbappe has scored 5 goals in his past 3 games and looks the favourite to be the top goal scorer this season in Ligue 1. For 10.5m he is proving to be not the only the best player of the week in France, but currently the best player in Ligue 1.

Think you know all about Ligue 1 players and the French League? Play the most popular Fantasy Ligue 1 game https://ligue1fantasy.com 

 

 

Should Nicolas Pepe be Manchester United’s next big purchase?

There has been talk for many years about updating Manchester United’s right wing, given the lack of out-and-out wide players that occupy their flank. Both Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard, more natural to the number 10 position, have routinely been placed out wide, while centre forwards Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford have also had stints in unfamiliar territory. 

The Red Devils have lost a part of their attacking force due to the predictability of their right wing.Ashley Young, who has been filling in at right back, is usually ever present in offensive positions, but with his teammate ahead of him usually cutting inside, the opposition know that if they can put two players on Young and cover the space effectively, United’s attacks will come to void.

The Englishman has also received stark criticism over his poor execution of crosses, which is prohibiting their chances of putting the ball into the box.

And so it is about time that Manchester United reinforced their ring with some new talent, with Nicolas Pepe of Lille being the name on the tip of many fans’ tongues.

Ligue 1 is consistently slandered by supporters claiming it is a ‘farmer’s league’, suggesting that because of Paris Saint-Germain’s dominance, the whole division is weak in comparison to the almighty Premier League. But there is a clear reason why English and European clubs continually go to the French market, and that is because they produce some of the best players in the world.

From Ousmane Dembélé  to Samuel Umtiti to Bernardo Silva and Kylian Mbappé, Ligue 1 has nurtured some of the finest players this generation has and will see, so it remains bemusing as to see why the mockery continues to grow.

This year, the 23 year old Pepe has become a household name, rising to prominence with a high-flying Lille side. Coming into his prime years, the Ivory Coast international would be a catch to Manchester United given his directness and ability to create something from nothing – he is fantastic at unbalancing his opposite man and creating space for either the key pass or incisive shot.

Remarkably, so far this season, Pepe has 17 goals and 11 assists in 28 games, averaging a goal contribution in every single match in all competitions. While the Ivorian traditionally is not an orthodox winger in the sense that he will take on his defender at every opportunity, he does hold his width far more than the likes of Lingard and Mata, and has speed to burn.

Over the last few years, under Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho, Man United’s players have somewhat lacked the courage to move in a direct manner. There have been a lot of sideways passes and a crowding in the middle of the pitch – a lack of considerable width was missing from their game.

That has somewhat changed under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, but the right wing is still a problem area, with not enough happening down it in comparison to the left. Pepe, on the other hand, is an incredibly direct and forward-thinking player, he has the confidence to beat the player in front of him and the ability to pull it off nine times out of 10.

What has been so impressive about Pepe’s performances this season is the consistency. Some players can start explosively and peter out, but the Ivorian has kept up his goal rate and assist tally throughout the season, which is why some of Europe’s biggest clubs will be eyeing him up for a summer transfer.

Even if Lille are in a spot of financial bother, Pepe is unlikely to be sold for anything less than £50 million this summer. Given his age, ability shown and potential to take his game to the next level, the French club are going to play the long game during the transfer window and make sure that a bidding war arises. Based on what has been shown this season, Pepe looks to be one of the outstanding candidates from Europe’s top five leagues.

For a long time now, United have been longing for a goal-scoring right winger, someone to take the game by the horns and provide a threat every time they get the ball. In Martial, they have that on the left, and with Rashford they have it through the middle, but no one of the same ilk on the right. Pepe stakes a commendable claim to be the missing piece to Solskjær’s puzzle in attack.

Do you have what it takes to challenge the best Premier League Fantasy Managers? If you’re up to challenging the best then play www.fantasy-premier.com now!

Lille and Lyon to fight it out for 2nd place in Ligue 1 as PSG go clear

TR(1)

The Ligue 1 title is heading back to PSG, that is a certainty as the club have shot into a 10 point lead at the top. Not only that but the current French champions have 2 games in hand of 2nd place. This league is done and dusted and there is nothing to see here, well almost nothing.

Not many pundits and fans would have expected Lille who have been threatened with relegation in recent years to be in 2nd place, but that is where they are. Yes the league has gone but 2nd place means qualifying directly to the Champions League which would be a fantastic achievement for the club.

Lille have been nothing short of spectacular this season in France. Their consistency has been champion material it’s just unfortunate for them that PSG have been able to build such a strong team at the same time.

Lille have won 15 games this season from 24 and at home they have lost just one game all season. The good news for the club is that there is only one other realistic team that can catch them and that is Lyon. The other good news is that Lyon lost 1-0 to Nice last weekend which means that Lille has opened up a 6 point gap to 3rd place. Could playing in the Champions League really be a reality for the club next season?

Ligue 1 really has become a little boring this season with PSG running away with the title and that is why so much focus has gone on to 2nd and 3rd place. After all it is Lyon who are usually the team right up there and being France’s next best team. Not so this season and it is the common man and fan that would love to see Lille pip Lyon to that 2nd place- for Lille it would feel like they have won the league, make no mistake in that.

And Lille have some great players too- most notably Nicolas Pepe, who has scored some great and important goals this season and he is tipped to make a big name in Europe and World football as his career progresses. He is certainly checking all of the right boxes for Lille.

For Lille to finish 2nd it could all come down to May 4th, that is when they will play a potentially massive game against Lyon which could decide both clubs fate this season. The catch for Lille is that Lyon will be at home.

This little battle has become the most interesting in Ligue 1 this season.

Outstanding Lille setting bar high in Ligue 1

aaaaaa (1)

After 10 games Lille are still there. There means 2nd place in Ligue 1 which is de facto for 1st place because no one will be catching PSG this season. The current French champions have 30 points from 10 games, a 100% record that was underlined at the weekend with another devastating win, this time against Amiens in Paris which ended 5-0. Job done.

As for Lille, no one could have expected such a start from a team who have traditionally struggled in recent seasons showing only glimpses of what they can achieve. This season is very different.  It was only in May that Lille pulled off a fantastic escape from the relegation zone, and the club have worked hard all summer in changing the set up of what is now expected.

Coach Christophe Gautier has come into the team last December and had a mountain to climb, but with survival came some new recruits in the summer and also the real emergence of Nicolas Pepe who is growing into one of the better players in Ligue 1. It was his goal- albiet a penalty that helped Lille win their latest game. The club have acquired 22 points from 10 games, continue at that rate and they will come 2nd and could get 80 points.

Clearly the objective at the beginning of the season for Lille was to finish in the top half- this is an objective that is being easily met, but now the team and their coach and fans must be thinking to take things a little further and finish in a European place, if that ends up being for the Champions League then Gautier would have made a miraculous turnaround.

Whilst Lille are 8 points behind PSG, they can marvel at the fact that they are 3 points in front of Marseille and 5 points in front of Lyon. Monaco who are usually a threat can be discounted this season after their nightmare start has led them into 19th position and they are a whopping 16 points behind Lille. It will be fascinating if Lille can keep up their superb start to the season.

The club have lost just 2 games so far and have won 3 games in a row, at home they alongside PSG have a perfect record of played 5 games won 5, and Lille certainly mean serious business.

On November 2nd just how far Lille have come will be put to the ultimate test when they will travel to Paris to face PSG. By that time if both teams continue to win, the gap could be 11 points in PSG’s favour or just 5. For Lille’s Ligue 1 achievements this season, watch this space.

Lille in pole position to keep Pepe amid Barcelona interest

pepeLille forward Nicolas Pepe has had a cracking start to the season – no headlines there – with five goals from his first eight appearances. Included among those goals was a hattrick in the club’s 3-2 win at Amiens in September, and as a result the 23-year-old has found himself in some demand from around Europe. Spanish giants Barcelona are one club to have been credited with an interest in him, while Premier League outfits Arsenal and Everton have also reportedly been keeping tabs on his progress. It would seem easy, then, to assume he could be bringing an end to his time in France after arriving in 2017 with a move to pastures new, but it would appear that the former Angers forward would prefer to remain with Les Dogues – for now, at least.

Continue reading

Nicolas Pepe could be the next sensation coming from Ligue 1

zzzzzz (1) (1)

There has been a pool of excellent forwards that have come from Ligue 1 in the last few years. Just a quick look around and you can see Anthony Martial plying his trade at Manchester United, Alessane Plea at Borussia Monchengladbach, Alexandre Lacazette at Arsenal and Kylian Mbappe at PSG. Now meet Ligue 1′s new hero, Nicolas Pepe.

Pepe hails from the Ivory Coast and is 23 years old and currently plays for Lille. Although he has starred for the likes of Angers and went on loan at Orleans it is this season that Pepe has made his mark on the league.

Last weekend he scored a hat trick for the club as Lille beat Amiens in a five goal thriller and this has made him a household name for the club. Lille have started the season brightly and Pepe is feeding off of this positivity. Lille have scored 9 goals so far this season and Pepe has 4. But the 23 year old isn’t just about goals. He has also assisted in another 3 goals meaning that he has been involved in 80% of Lille’s goals this season, that is a stat that is mind-blowing and has the likes of Barcelona already sniffing around for his services.

On the links to Barcelona Pepe had this to say: “I’m focused on Lille and I’m having a great time playing in a team that’s performing well and that’s all that matters to me. I’ll let other people speak. I’ve got a great coach who has confidence in me and plays a large part in me expressing myself. I’m doing well on the pitch because I’ve got my family around me. When I go home, my mother, father, sister and brother all make things easy for me. I only have to think about football.”

It was of course a very diplomatic statement but the truth is if a team such as Barcelona do come along for a player that has scored 17 goals for Lille then he will almost certainly be sold, on the flip side is the asking price that Lille should get for such a player. For now Lille is the best place for Pepe to keep on learning and the objective for the club has to at least be a Europa League position.

Lille will face Nantes at the weekend at their home and it seems favourable that Pepe will again be on the score sheet. Is he the new French Ligue 1 sensation? Everything is pointing to yes.

 

Ligue 1 Player of the Week – Luiz Araujo (Lille)

araujo

Time now to take a look at which Ligue 1 star topped all the others this week, and without beating about the bush this week’s best is Lille striker Luiz Araujo. The 21-year-old has had a slightly indifferent start to life in France after arriving last summer, signing from Sao Paulo. This past weekend, however, as Lille welcomed Metz to Stade Pierre-Mauroy Araujo showed exactly why he was so coveted.Scoring one goal and setting up another, Araujo was instrumental as Lille recorded a vital 3-1 home win against their fellow strugglers.

Continue reading