Claude LeRoy: French coach is African legend

January 26, 2015

“Congo’s qualification for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations was a remarkable achievement for an unfancied side, but also a personal triumph for coach Claude LeRoy – one of the grand old men of African football. Frenchman LeRoy, 66, has managed five different African national teams since first taking charge of Cameroon in 1985. He has coached at eight Cups of Nations and has now reached the quarter-finals on seven occasions, winning the trophy once. BBC Sport caught up with LeRoy to find out more about his extraordinary journey – and what continues to drive his passion for African football.” BBC


What has happened to the Marseille attack?

January 26, 2015

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“In the grand scheme of things, it’s very much been a successful season for Olympique Marseille. Short of a massive collapse in form, Marseille have a real solid opportunity to finish in the top three in Ligue 1 (either the two automatic Champions League spots or the third place Champions League playoff spot). Marseille have at times been the most intoxicating offense to watch in Ligue 1, led by Marcelo Bielsa. The manager has infused an eccentricity into Marseille whether it’s through the fluidity of his tactics (the free flowing nature of how the team play three at the back within their 4-2-3-1) or the type of cooler that Bielsa will sit on during the match. But lately the spark has simmered. Marseille for a chunk of the season were on top of the table in Ligue 1 but their flamboyant offense has fizzled out.” backpagefootball


French Football Column: Lyon Stay on Top, Raphael Guerreiro impresses and more

January 22, 2015

“Another round of Ligue 1 games has come and gone. It’s still tight at the top and tight at the bottom as we look at the talking points from week 21. Rampant Rhone Valley – Part One. Lyon consolidated their position at the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory away to Lens, who in turn were playing away in Amiens. After reaching the summit last week, it took a slightly comical own goal and Alexandre Lacazette with his 20th goal of the season via the penalty spot, to ensure Lyon came away with the points and guaranteed top spot at the end of week 21.” Outside of the Boot


Ten intriguing Ligue 1 players this season

January 19, 2015

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Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (AS Monaco)
“The Ligue 1 season is over 50% completed this season, around the point where team and individual success at least for that particular season starts to lose out its novelty act, for both good performances and bad performances. With the financial restrictions that Ligue teams not named PSG have, more times than not Ligue 1 has gotten the reputation of being a league where the majority of their top players develop and leave at a young age to other European leagues. In a season where the goal scoring rate in Ligue 1 has increased from last season’s rate, it’s given way for numerous talents to show their work and in certain case, blossom under a much heavier workload. Let’s take a look at how the ten players have fared so far.” backpagefootball


How Marcelo Bielsa found method in his madness at Marseille

January 4, 2015

“He’s came. He’s saw. He’s in prime to position to conquer. The idiosyncratic Argentine Marcelo Bielsa has guided his Marseille side to the top of the tree midway through the Ligue 1 season. And boy has he done it in style. After picking up a solitary point from their opening two league fixtures, fortunes have changed dramatically in the south of France. Marcelo Bielsa has introduced a brand of scintillating attacking football, yet simultaneously maintained a resolute defensive style, catching the eyes of millions around the globe. As it stands, Marseille sit second only to Lyon in goals scored (38) – averaging two goals per-match – and top the table in attempts (308). But how exactly has Bielsa’s methods made the dismal seventh place finish of last season a mere memory?” backpagefootball


100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Forwards 10 – 1

December 29, 2014

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“It’s hard to accurately predict future Ballon D’Or nominees based on a players current exploits in the early part of his career. But given the propensity of usual Ballon D’Or nominees bearing rather conspicuous goal-scoring traits, you wouldn’t go too wrong in betting Memphis Depay as a potential future nominee.” Outside of the Boot


100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2015 | Midfielders 10 – 1

December 26, 2014

“Hakan Calhanoglu grew up in Mannheim of Germany, before moving on to Karlsruhe, Hamburg and Leverkusen while getting called up to the Turkish National team in 2013. An attacking midfielder by trade, Hakan’s style and elegance on the ball has seen him sought out by some of the world’s best. Mini-Analysis: Operating behind the striker or across the midfield, Calhanoglu’s style of play is easy on the eye. A mainstay in the Hamburg team that narrowly escaped relegation last season saw him bag 11 goals and assist 4 in 32 games.” Outside of the Boot


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