Adama Traore: Lille’s Malian Midfielder with a Huge Future

Adama Traore: Lille’s Malian Midfielder with a Huge Future

With Lille’s squad stretched by a heavy autumnal fixture list, Rene Girard had few options but to throw young Adama Traoré into a starting berth away at Lyon. The match was lost 0-3 and les Dogues were abject, but this decision to toss the Malian academy graduate in at the deep end looks like it will bear fruit for the northern club. Lille scouts spotted Traoré playing at the Academy Jean-Marc Guillou in Mali’s capital,…

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Is Claudio Ranieri the Man to Save Florian Thauvin?

Is Claudio Ranieri the Man to Save Florian Thauvin?

It’s rare that a week goes past without a new twist in the Olympique de Marseille soap opera. After two consecutive defeats to Paris Saint-Germain and Girondins de Bordeaux, news emerged that Italian coach Claudio Ranieri could be the man to replace Marcelo Bielsa at the Stade Velodrome if, as expected, El Loco should leave at the end of the season. Hometown boy and Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier may be the fans’ choice to take over…

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What is Behind the Rise of Gazelec Ajaccio?

What is Behind the Rise of Gazelec Ajaccio?

In what has been a fairly unremarkable Ligue 2 season, there is one team that everyone keeps talking about. Despite being written off at the start of the campaign, GFC Ajaccio are extraordinarily still inside the promotion places, seemingly with a good chance of making it all the way up to the top flight. In terms of results, it’s been a season of surprises in Ligue 2, but ultimately the current top ten contains most…

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The Melancholy of Yoann Gourcuff

The Melancholy of Yoann Gourcuff

Arguably the biggest Ligue 1 enigma of recent years is Yoann Gourcuff. Practically unplayable on his day, particularly in leading Bordeaux to the title in 2009, those days have been too few and far between during his time at Lyon. As recently as last month, matchdays 28 to 30 provided a resumé of Gourcuff’s whole Lyon career in microcosm: superb against Montpellier, laying on two great assists; missing from the squad to play Marseille with…

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Birthday Boy Claudio Beauvue: The King of Guingamp

Birthday Boy Claudio Beauvue: The King of Guingamp

The ball nestles in the top corner leaving the goalkeeper helpless. The usually sulphurous Toumba Stadium in Thessaloniki is brought to a deafening silence by a vicious drive from outside the box. PAOK Salonika are knocked out of the Europa League, and their assassin comes in the most unlikely of forms, in the shape of Coupe de France holders, En Avant de Guingamp. The author of this success and dealer of the knockout blow is…

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Champions League Preview: Juventus v AS Monaco

Champions League Preview: Juventus v AS Monaco

The quarter-finals of the Champions League are upon us, and two French teams are involved. While the PSG project is the best-known big-money outfit representing Ligue 1, Monaco are perhaps the more interesting team. After a boatload of investment having won promotion for the 2013/14 season, issues chez Rybolovlev have led to cutbacks, and the departure of many of the big-name stars who helped them to a second-place finish – James Rodriguez to Real Madrid, Radamel Falcao…

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Classy Zlatan Keeps Cup From Corsicans #FFWTOTW

Classy Zlatan Keeps Cup From Corsicans #FFWTOTW

The main match of the weekend was of course the Coupe de la Ligue final. A romantic, heart-rending match between those two terribly hard-done-by teams who have been so badly treated in recent weeks by the LFP (let’s not shed too many tears for PSG who, along with the equally indignant Marseille, are boycotting Canal + because of their broadcast of Zlatan’s and Payet’s rants, which resulted in four- and two-game bans respectively. The two…

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Coupe de la Ligue : Could Bastia Beat PSG – Again?

Coupe de la Ligue : Could Bastia Beat PSG – Again?

At the time of our first round-up of the season, SC Bastia were in the relegation zone, having just dispensed with the services of Claude Makelele as manager, and brought in the head of their youth programme, Ghislain Printant, as interim replacement. In their third season back in the top flight they were struggling to pass, hold onto the ball, shoot, stop their opponents shooting, and keep their players out of the referee’s notebook. Now, they…

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