PSG win 6 goal thriller against Lyon as brilliant Lille close in on 3rd place

A meeting between the two most successful sides in French football over the last 20 years was always going to garner the most attention and PSG and Lyon who have won 14 league titles between them in the last 17 league seasons didn’t let anyone down.

The game in Paris ended 4-2 to the league champions and whilst Lyon played their part they simply could not handle just how good PSG were. Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe had seemingly wrapped up the game early on as PSG went in at half time 2-0 up. In the first half they had dominated possession and allowed no shots on target for the visitors.

The game was, in effect, over just a few minutes into the second half when PSG went 3-0 up courtesy of a bizarre own goal scored by Fernando Marcel. It was bizarre in the fact that it was such a good clinical goal- had it been a PSG player we would have been talking about it for some time. The player was obviously devastated and sunk to the ground in disbelief, he knew the game was over.

But then a miracle almost happened as Lyon’s Martin Terrier and Moussa Dembele who has been so good for Lyon this season both scored in the space of 7 minutes and suddenly Lyon were back in the game it was 3-2 with half an hour still to play. But PSG showed quality as they took down the level of the game and controlled the pace. Finally with ten minutes to go Edinson Cavani scored for the home side to win the game 4-2 and it was an important redemption goal for the Uruguayan who has felt left out of the side and was so close to leaving in the January transfer window. PSG remain on top with 61 points and are 12 points clear of Marseille.

Marseille did win at the weekend but they were quite disappointing at home against the bottom side Toulouse winning just 1-0 through a Dimitri Payet goal, Payet is on great form lately but Marseille had just 3 shots on target against a club who have conceded 49 goals this season and more was expected of them. Nonetheless a win is a win and it was actually a decent weekend for Marseille because Rennes in 3rd place could only draw 0-0 at home to Brest.

Rennes have put unnecessary pressure on themselves now to claim a top 3 place, they have no wins in their last 2 games and only 1 victory in their last four. The pressure was maximised because Lille won their 3rd straight game in a row to move within one point of Rennes. Lille beat Angers 2-0 away from home and the club have started to improve on the road after a nightmare start, in form Victor Osimhen opened the scoring for Lille who eased to a win.

Montpellier are in 5th after a 1-0 win over Bordeaux as Andy Delort scored his 9th goal of the season. The win was even more impressive for Montpellier as they played a large section of the game with 10 men after Solomon Sambia was sent off.

Strasbourg’s good form continued and they have now won 3 games from their last four to go into 6th place after they easily beat Reims 3-0, a direct rival for a European finish. The club got their revenge over Reims after the side had knocked them out of the Coupe de la Ligue at the quarter final stage with a penalty shoot out. Reims had zero shots on goal in the whole game and they have slipped to 10th place as a result.

Are Monaco recovering and starting to show what they can do under new coach Robert Moreno? Well the club did win their 2nd game in a row as they beat Amiens away from home 2-1. It was only Monaco’s 3rd win on the road and a first for Moreno away from home. However Monaco were heading for defeat, with just a few minutes left of the game Amiens were winning 1-0. But Ligue 1 top goalscorer Wissam Ben Yedder struck for the equaliser and then Islam Slimani became the hero of the day scoring in injury time. Cesc Fabregas had only been on the pitch for 4 minutes as he came off of the bench to assist in the winning goal. That moves the club up to 7th place.

Bordeaux moved to 8th after they beat Metz 2-1 away from home and the club have now gone their last 4 matches unbeaten. Remi Oudin a new signing from Reims got the winner for Bordeaux with just five minutes remaining to start his career with his new club in memorable style.

There is just 3 points between 8th and 5th and so much to play for in the league regarding European places. Marseille have taken a large step in the right direction to qualify for the Champions League and now have an 8 point lead over Rennes in 3rd place. PSG look like they have won the league, but will the upcoming Champions League games distract the team, if so it is only Marseille who have the smallest of chances of catching them. Watch this space as the league hots up with just 14 games and 42 points left to play for.

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Ligue 1: Weekend Picks for Matchday 21

Cup competitions have dominated French football this month as they usually do in January but the league returns this weekend as Marseille will be trying to close the 8 point gap to PSG at the top. They will also be trying to fend off the threat from Rennes. The top 4 then is up for grabs still and the relegation battle, well take your pick from the bottom 8 teams. If anything Ligue 1 is a super close contest.

Below we pick the players who could make an impact at the weekend, based on form and also the teams that they will be up against, maybe you will fancy having some of them in your team?

Formation: 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: Steve Mandanda- Marseille

Steve Mandanda has conceded just 3 goals in the last 5 Marseille games and the club will be at home to Angers at the weekend where they will start as the favourites. Mandanda has 33 points and has 7 clean sheets so far, he is valued at 8.5m.

Defender: Hiroki Sakai- Marseille

Hiroki Sakai has been in brilliant defensive form for Marseille who should get all three points at the weekend when they play Angers. Sakai has been involved in games where he has kept 6 clean sheets. He has 21 points and is valued at 7.5m.

Defender: Joris Gnagnon- Rennes

Joris Gnagnon has 21 points and Rennes have been very impressive lately in not conceding goals, just 2 in their last five games. On Friday night the club will play Nice away from home and on the road they have not conceded a goal for their last 3 matches. Gnagnon can be yours for 8m.

Defender: Damien Da Silva-Rennes

Da Silva alongside Gnagnon has built a very good partnership and the player has started 18 games for the club. With 33 points so far he is ranked as the best defender for his club. He has kept 7 clean sheets and can be bought for a bargain 5m.

Defender: Axel Disasi- Reims

Reims have a really good defensive record in the league and it is even better at home. The club have conceded just 5 goals all season and Axel Disasi has been involved in 10 clean sheets. He has earned 48 points and Reims will be at home this weekend against Metz who are in 17th place.

Midfielder: Yoann Court- Brest

Yoann Court has started 13 games and has acquired 32 points. He has been involved in 10 goals with 7 assists. Brest are at home to Amiens and they have a very solid record at home losing just one game this season and that was to PSG. Court could make an impression here and he is valued at 6m.

Midfielder: Aleksandr Golovin- Monaco

Golovin has scored 3 goals and been involved in a further 3 and has really spearheaded Monaco’s season which has been a massive improvement on the last one. He is always involved in attacks and Monaco will be the favourites and be at home against Strasbourg.

Midfielder: Jason Denayer-Lyon

Denayer has had 17 starts but has just 12 points. He has faced a few problems this season and can be bought for just 3.5m. He isn’t always picked so this could be a risk including him but Lyon are at home to the bottom side Toulouse and will be big favourites not just to beat them but to do it convincingly.

Midfielder: Xavier Chavalerin- Reims

Reims will be big favourites to score goals and win when they take on Metz at the weekend. Chavalerin has only scored 1 goal and assisted in one but he is due more and Metz could be the perfect opponent for him to impress. He can be bought for 6m.

Striker: Wissam Ben Yedder- Monaco

Ben Yedder has been brilliant since Monaco signed him, and he is the top goalscorer in Ligue 1 with 14 goals. Monaco will be at home to Strasbourg and who would bet against him scoring at the weekend? He is valued at 7m which is simply a bargain and he has 62 points so far.

Striker: Andy Delort- Montpellier

Andy Delort performed well in the Coupe de France and he scored 2 goals as Montpellier sailed into the round of 16, after beating Caen 5-0. Delort will have a ton of confidence coming into this game and could be a good pick. He has 27 points so far this season and can be brought in for 7m.

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PSG march on in Ligue 1 and it’s all change at Monaco

The Ligue 1 season has reached the half way point and it is no surprise to see that PSG are in 1st place. They have 45 points and have indeed not even reached their own personal half way stage as they have a game in hand. Continue this type of form and the club could finish the season with 96 points.

Ever since Neymar came back from injury at the beginning of December PSG have really stepped it up and before the Christmas break the club were playing their best most confident football of the campaign so far.

They have scored 11 goals in their last 3 matches and along with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe is finding his shooting boots. Mbappe has 11 goals and 4 assists so far.He is in 2nd place in the Ligue 1 fantasy rankings.

PSG currently have a 7 point lead over Marseille and in effect that could be 10 points with their game in hand to play. As for Marseille they have been solid and none of their ‘circus’ football and unpredictability which has dogged the side over the past few seasons has been seen. The club have no losses in their last five games picking up 13 points in the process and their last match ended in a 3-1 win over Nimes.

It’s possible that Marseille have one eye on the title though PSG would really need to collapse but the club are thinking 100% about 2nd place which would give them a Champions League place for next season. Lille at the moment are the real threat to that and they have been impressive given the personnel they have lost last season.

Lille are 5 points behind and indeed lost 5-1 away to Monaco in their last game but they have won 9 games this season and remain a threat. Rennes have also been a major surprise in 3rd place with M’Baye Niang sticking in the goals for the club, he currently has 8 goals so far this campaign.and Rennes are one of the best teams in the league for pure form having won their last five games. From 2nd to 4th it really does look exciting in the league.

Nantes and Reims have blown hot and cold this season and if only they could have a little more consistency they could be challenging Marseille for 2nd place but they have fallen 9 points and 10 points respectively behind. Both sides and especially Reims have shown mean defences in the first part of the season.

Monaco have been brilliant and look almost back to their best. They are unbeaten in 4 games won their last match 5-1 against Lille, also knocked Reims out of the French Cup and are in 7th place. But that was enough for Leonardo Jardim who was sacked for the 2nd time in 12 months. The new coach has been named as Roberto Moreno who managed the Spanish national side for some time. Oh and Monaco have the leading scorer in the league in their ranks in Wissam Ben Yedder who has scored 13 goals, he has turned out to be a superb buy.

It’s incredible to think that from 8th to 13th only two points separates the teams and it is Angers who are clinging on to that 8th position. A derby win against Nantes 2-1 last time out propped them up the table.

So Ligue 1 is really fighting on all fronts and for once PSG are not completely clear in the distance. Can Marseille catch them and can Marseille hang on to 2nd place? Watch this space as the 2nd half of the campaign gets under way.

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Julen Lopetegui keen to put his stamp on Sevilla ahead of 2019-20

Lopetegui Sevilla wasted little time in appointing a new manager following the conclusion of the 2018-29 La Liga season, with former Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui stepping into the hot seat at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Despite a difficult 12 months, in which Lopetegui controversially left his post as head coach of the Spanish national team – to take up the post with Los Blancos – which ended poorly, after just three months, he is hopeful of resurrecting his career in Andalucia.

Caretaker boss Jaoquin Caparros’ strong end of season run secured Europa League football for the incoming Lopetegui, but there is still work to be done at the club.

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Top La Liga Strikers in 2018/19: Wissam Ben Yedder

ben.yedder.siviglia.esulta.2016.2017.750x450(1)

Wissam Ben Yedder has just finished his 3rd season with Sevilla and it was his personal best yet as he helped the team to finish in the top six and qualify for the Europa League next season.

There were improvements in all of Ben Yedder’s game this past season and at 28 his best years could still be ahead of him.

Before this season Ben Yedder had never scored more than 11 goals in La Liga but he managed 18 and on top of that he assisted in another 9 goals, meaning that he contributed to 27 of Sevilla’s league goals. Overall Ben Yedder earned 91 points finishing just 2 points behind Barcelona’s Luis Suarez.

Ben Yedder started the season very slowly earning zero points from his first two games. And then against Levante where Sevilla were away from home, everything changed. The match finished 6-2 to Sevilla and Ben Yedder was the man of the match as he scored a hat-trick and assisted in another goal, with bonus points he earned 16 points in one game.

Another match that should be highlighted came in March when Sevilla now at home beat Real Sociedad 5-2. It was another hat-trick that earned Ben Yedder 14 points and so in those two games alone, even though they were months apart he was able to acquire 30 points.

Ben Yedder’s most consistent period during the season was in December and over the Christmas and New Year period where the striker scored points in five consecutive games totalling 15 points. And his worse single game of the season came against both Celta Vigo and Real Valladolid where he earned -1 point as he was booked in both games. Indeed while some players worst points is -3 or -5 points or more, to have the lowest points at -1 is actually decent and it only happened twice during the season when his points dipped into the minus category. This is due in part to the fact that he wasn’t sent off this season and was booked only 3 times.

In the last 4 games of the season, 3 of them ended with zero points which was disappointing. But the forward made up for it a little in Sevilla’s last game of the season which ended in a 2-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao and Ben Yedder scored and made an assist in that game.

This season Ben Yedder would have cost you 7m to have in your team but he has just had his best season for Sevilla. In his debut one he earned 54 points, last season that was just 39 and now a massive 91 points, so his fee may rise for next term.

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Sevilla braced for big money bids for their star players

Pablo Sarabia

Sevilla are preparing for a summer of transfer speculation over their top players, after a strong finish to the 2018-19 La Liga season.

Interim manager Joaquin Caparros confirmed earlier this week that he would be leaving the club, after leading them to a fifth place finish and another Europa League qualification spot.

The club will look to appoint a new permanent boss as soon as possible, with links to former AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco and Alaves’ Head Coach Asier Garitano.

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Getafe prove no pushovers in race for LaLiga top four spot

Getafe

Getafe picked up a massive three points in the race for a Champions League place via LaLiga’s top four over the weekend.

The home side beat a Sevilla team on a run of three straight wins to leapfrog them back into 4th position. They are now two points clear of both Sevilla and other top-four hopefuls, Valencia.

Sevilla looked the most likely to score early on. Franco Vazquez put his volley onto the top of the crossbar and Wissam Ben Yedder forced a save out of David Soria minutes later.

VAR played its part, however. Franco Vazquez was penalised for a handball in the 33rd minute and Getafe’s Jaime Mata made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick. Continue reading

Fantasy La Liga picks for this weekend’s Spanish league action

La Liga

Spain’s La Liga returns to action this weekend after the final international break of the season.

Starting with Girona v Athletic Bilbao on Friday night, all 20 teams are in action over a 48-hour period.

We’ve had a look at who we think the smartest fantasy La Liga picks are for the upcoming fixtures.

Have a read and see if any tips stick out which might suit your fantasy La Liga team this weekend.

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La Liga weekend fantasy football picks

La Liga

All 20 La Liga teams are in action this weekend. The action starts with Real Sociedad and Levante who meet on Friday evening and ends with Real Betis against Barcelona on Sunday night.

We’ve had a look at who we think the smartest fantasy La Liga picks are for the upcoming fixtures.

Goalkeeper – Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid) – 11.0 million

Jan Oblak’s pride will have taken a dent in the Champions League during the week. While he was not at fault for any of Cristiano Ronaldo’s three goals, the Slovenian international goalkeeper will be eager to resume normal service with a clean sheet in La Liga this weekend. Oblak has 94 points this season.

Sevilla stay in race for top four with big win over Real Sociedad

Sevilla

There were goals galore at Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on Sunday evening as the home side romped to a 5-2 win over Real Sociedad.

The win keeps Pablo Machin’s team in the hunt for a top-four finish and qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Inspired by the brilliance of their striker Wissam Ben Yedder, Sevilla managed to turn a 1-1 half-time scoreline into a 5-2 victory with a breathtaking second-half display.

Ben Yedder scored a hat-trick after the interval to bring his La Liga tally for this season up to 15 goals.