Ligue 1 predictions - 2012/2013 season preview part 3
Here we continue our League 1 predictions. If you havent read the first two Ligue 1 predictions articles we suggest you do so now before continuing. You can find thae articles here: Ligue 1 predictions part 1 and Ligue 1 predictions part 2
Fourth in Ligue 1 last year, Olympique Lyonnais will miss the Champions League this season for the first time in 12 years. However, the club continues to have significant ambitions for this season. Pre-season started with a promising victory in the Champions Trophy against Montpellier (2-2 after penalties).
For his first experience as coach of a professional team Remi Garde, the start to his first season was close to perfection, including the qualifying stages in the Champions League.
But Lyon, like every year, have been touched by majors injuries (Lisandro, Gourcuff, Lovren) and by the inexperience of his young guard performance (Grenier, Lacazette, Kone) in some important games. Despite these problems, they find the strength to qualify for the ninth consecutive times in the quarter finals of the Champions League with a crazy last group stage game in Zagreb (won 7-1).
As the financial situation of Olympique Lyonnais is quite bad this year, they didn’t manage to recruit any additions to the squad except many loan returns (Reale and Yattabare) . However, the ambitions of the club remain high. With young people who have the club in the skin, experienced talented players like Lisandro, Gomis, Lovren, Reveillere, and even Lloris, Briand, who have always fought for the club, one that seems Gourcuff back in shape, they have a chance at moving up the league again.
Moreover, in Europa League, Lyon could have a real role to play, at least one quarter-final and even more.
The OL is no longer on center stage, which could be a real force in the championship including as many have in fact tend to forget. The season depends on Lyon’s injuries but also on the end of the transfer window and who they may add to the squad. We know that Kim Kallstrom has left the club while Bastos and Cris might be following soon. Hugo Lloris should stay, the offers they received are not up to the expectations of Jean-Michel Aulas (Lyon’s President). To expand and strengthen the workforce, the recruitment of defensive players is almost mandatory. In conclusion OL could surprise a few this season, I see them battling with Lille behind PSG.
Possible line-up: 4-3-3
Olympique de Marseille
Olympique de Marseille‘s ambitions are downwards this year with the départure of carismatical’s coach Didier Deschamps (new coach of National French Team). However, OM replacement Elie Baup retains a quality workforce that is more than capable of doing well this season.
Indeed, this year the priority will be progress in Europe and finish better in the league. Marseille’s President believes his side can finish in the top five: "If we end up between the 2nd and 5th place, we will have made a fine championship. Logically, Paris has a team to finish first. After all in football remains open, we saw that Montpellier was champion, so everything is not always written as one can imagine. I think if all goes well, the OM can finish between 2nd and 5th place. Keep a place in the European Cup above all, with possibly a place in the Champions League, is necessary for good health club, be it sportingly and financially. “ This also indicates that Olympique Marseille will take seriously their spot in the Europa League like Lyon.,
The only addition to the squad was the young hope of Nantes, Raspentino Florian, who will bring his enthusiasm on the front of the attack. Otherwise, Marseille will stick with their current squad going into the season, no movement will be made unless a departure (Azpilicueta, Mbia or Diarra) occurs.
The departure of Didier Deschamps sounds like the end of an era in Marseille. If ambitions are scaled back, along with investment in the team then Marseille will rely on a new dynamic coach who will not revolutionize the Ligue 1 but was able to develop his ideas to fit the players in his squad (4-2-3-1)
If the team can find its balance, Marseille could be very surprising. Marseille has still quality players who have an interest in showing it to their advantage to hope to join a big club, which was not the case last season.
Possible line-up: 4-2-3-1
In addition to the PSG and its delusions of grandeur, there is the LOSC that has truly led this summer transfer window and for good reason: Eden Hazard (20 goals 15 assits last season) had to be replaced. This has been done very quickly since the coming of Marvin Martin was formalized just after the Euro, facilitated by the relatively advanced contacts already taken the previous summer. Then the leaders were able to convince Salomon Kalou from Chelsea, for him also the contacts were established even earlier. When the Ivorian made regular visits to Lille in the company of Gervinho, Rudi Garcia obviously did not miss the opportunity to take the temperature with the Chelsea player. This quality recruitment should allow Lille to start again this season with big ambitions (top 3 minimum) despite losing their best player, especially since Marvin Martin has impressed during pre-season matches.
Ambitions are amplified by delivery of the new stadium, ultra-modern setting in which the LOSC intends to play in big games and make a striking impression.
In addition, Rudi Garcia could probably count on a Dimitri Payet again in possession of all his abilities, which had not been the case for much of last season. Defensively, he will of course compensate for the possible loss of Mathieu Debuchy. However, Lille’s President Seydoux said he will not move and the story is over.
The departure of Hazard will be difficult to compensate, as the Belgian was playing on another level than everyone else last year, but management worked hard to recruit quality players in order to match President’s ambitions.
Coach Rudi Garcia will also guarantee good football this season in Lille, he likes to play an attacking brand of one touch football and favors 4-3-3. They are my favorite to finish second behind PSG and more if Paris struggle against small teams during the season.
Possible line-up: 4-3-3
Landreau-Beria-Chedjou-Basa-Debuchy-Balmont-Mavuba-Martin-Payet-Kalou-Roux or De Melo
After a successful season, Montpellier must now confirm their status in Ligue 1 and be done with the Champions League which has ruined more than one club. The club’s smart recruitment policy allows Girard to maintain a staff of quality and quantity. Despite the departure of Olivier Giroud, they managed to replace the player (Herrera came to replace Giroud and looked fit during preparation) and to increase the size of the team with the arrival of Mounier from Nice. This will certainly give a new dynamic to the team and provide an additional solution offensively. The emergence of young players like Cabella Stambouli and will be a key point of the season with the accumulation of matches.
However, the difficulty will increase this season as the Montpellier style and players will be known by all teams. The surprise being past, it will be as effective and be able to change style when necessary to keep opponents guessing. A top three finish in Ligue 1 seems to be a goal the team could achieve. In the Champions League Montpellier remains unknown to European clubs and playing the way they did last year, they will surprise many teams.
René Girard and his troops will have to manage successful transitions Champions League - a league that can cause the loss of many points domestically. Pre-season was well prepared, it will however not be easy. This over demanding coach will be able to count on a complete group that know each other perfectly to stay at the top of classification this season again.
His formation and tactics will remain the same than last year with only 2 new players to integrate: Mounier and Herrera.
Possible line-up: 4-2-3-1
Paris Saint Germain
The Championship has not yet started but the every move of Paris-SG are seeing glaring media focus, as will be the case during entire season. Thanks to petrodollars of its Quataris shareholder, PSG has been the main attraction of the transfer window this summer in Europe.
Transfers have been massive, everybody in France was shocked when they signed Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lavezzi and Verratti.
Paris is now moving in another galaxy and everybody sees them already as champions, PSG have not won a national title since 1994 and the expectations of the country will be on them.
Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be talked about everywhere and will bring some more attraction to Ligue 1.
It will be interesting now to see how Carlo Ancelotti will manage all players’s ego in the dressing room (Nene, Ibrahimovic, Menez, Sakho, Gameiro).
Former coach Antoine Kombouare was known as someone does not hesitate to speak out if the situation escalates, Carlo Ancelotti, it is much more a psychologist and love being close to his players, always in a professional setting. Witness this story from Thiago Motta and PSG coach while former Inter player still did not feel very comfortable in the French capital: "With Leonardo, we talked about everything, as that it was hard for me to be transferred. Ancelotti invited me to dinner. Him, it is very hard to put players at ease. “In the field, this proximity has also been felt with players like Jeremy Menez. We know the French player is someone who needs to be framed and put in trust to function properly. The coach quickly learned the Parisian and gave him his trust, the Menez has very good end of season.
However, other players have failed to put in and accept the method of the Italian as Kevin Gameiro and Mamadou Sakho showed. Lack of seriousness and ambition are the main reasons for their failures.
Finally, PSG finished second in Ligue 1 and Montpellier was last year Champion to everyone's surprise. But with Carlo Ancelotti, Paris managed to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verratti, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Italian technician has been a tremendous help in bringing these players, a sort of "guaranteed quality" for them (especially Verratti). Proof once again that the change of coach in Paris has been an act of ultimate importance for the future of the club. PSG is of course the big favourite to win the title this year and to reach at least the quarter final in Champions league.
Possible line-up: 4-2-3-1
Sirigu-Maxwell-T.Silva-Alex or Sakho-Jallet-Motta-Bodmer-Lavezzi-Pastore-Nene-Ibrahimovic