Little Lille Leading Ligue 1

May 11, 2011 — by Suman1

What’s one to do until the highly anticipated Champions League final between Barcelona and Manchester United (Saturday May 28 btw)?  All the big European league winners have been virtually decided over the past couple weekends, and in each case there’s been little drama–the champions have each been atop their respective tables for some time.  Manchester United basically wrapped up the English Premier League with their dominating victory over Chelsea on Sunday. In Spain, Barcelona need just a single point this afternoon in their match against Levante to clinch the title (though really they clinched it with their draw a few weeks ago with a draw at the Bernabeu).  And despite a bit of wobble over the past few weeks, Borussia Dortmund finally did wrap up the Bundesliga crown.

Lille Olympique Sporting Club - Les Dogues

Well, you could finally turn your attention across the Channel/Pyrenees/Alps/Maginot to France, where surprisingly Lille has put some space between them and perennial powers Marseille and Lyon.

Via a SkySports writeup:

A 3-2 loss to fellow high-fliers Lyon on Sunday put another sizeable dent in Marseille’s hopes of defending their Ligue 1 crown. They now sit seven points adrift of table-topping Lille with time running out on the 2010/11 campaign.

Marseille do have a game in hand on the leaders, though, and Deschamps insists his side will not be giving up without a fight.

“Can we retain our title? We have only taken one point from the last two matches, so that hasn’t helped,” he said.

“But there are still 12 points to play for and it is still possible….

Marseille play host to Brest on Wednesday and, with Lille not in action, will be looking to close to within four points of the summit with three games remaining.


Lille–the full name of the club is Lille Olympique Sporting Club Lille Métropole, and hence they are known as LOSC (and also as Les Dogues–The Mastiffs) last won the Ligue 1 in 1953-54, and spent much of the next few decades down in Ligue 2.  But they’ve been doing well over the past decade, highlighted by a couple appearances in the Champions League following top 3 finishes domestically.  The name we’ve been hearing from the current squad is 20-year old Belgian “starlet” Eden Hazard, who may leave Lille this summer for one of the really big clubs elsewhere on the Continent (or in England).

Marseille and Brest kick off in just over an hour, so you could tune in for that one. For an idea of who to watch for on Marseille’s squad, take a look at our post prior to their Champions League Round of 16 match against Manchester United back in March.  That match–along with a handful of additional Ligue 1 fixtures–are available for streaming on

Or you could tune in to see Barça visit Levante UD and presumably celebrate on the pitch at Estadi Ciutat de València (Levante Unión Deportiva being the second team en la ciudad de València; the first, València Club de Futbol, plays of course at El Camp de Mestalla).


Top of the Table: Is Anyone Actually Going to Win the Premier League?

November 22, 2010 — by Suman3

The X-Factor coming back to fitness for the second half of the season

[Editor’s note: Here’s the inaugural edition of something we’d like to make a semi-regular feature: a look at the top of the table.  Here we look (once again) at the Premier League table, but we plan to check in on other tables around the world over the course of the season.]

Someone eventually has to win the Premier League title–but from recent results, it’s hard to figure out who.  Here’s the top of the table as of today–it’s virtually certain to be one of these teams that ends up on top at the end:

1 Chelsea 14 9 1 4 28 9 19 28
2 Manchester United 14 7 7 0 28 15 13 28
3 Arsenal 14 8 2 4 28 15 13 26
4 Manchester City 14 7 4 3 19 11 8 25
5 Bolton Wanderers 14 5 7 2 26 20 6 22
6 Tottenham Hotspur 14 6 4 4 21 19 2 22

But alas none of the top contenders have been especially impressive:

Chelsea lost again over the weekend, this time to lowly Birmingham–their third loss in four weeks, following losses at Liverpool and at home to Sunderland.  And the latest loss came days after unceremoniously dumping their assistant manager; whether or not it contributed to the latest loss, it has precipitated close to a full-blown crisis at Stamford Bridge, with manager Carlos Ancelotti saying “I am not in control at Chelsea.”

Man City had been the team in crisis-mode over the past month, with their home fans booing a scoreless draws against Man U and Birmingham–until they broke out of their doldrums this past weekend in a big way, with a 4-1 thrashing of Fulham.  Following which, Fulham’s manager (and Man City’s former manager–and Man U legend), the “super classy” Mark Hughes, said Man City are still in the hunt: “On their performance today certainly they’re contenders.  They were excellent. If they have belief and there’s some forward thinking, and maybe they’re a bit more attack-minded as they were today on more occasions, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. They’ve got as good a chance as anybody.”

Arsenal had been cautiously mentioned by commentators and supporters over the past few weeks–that this could be year they finally reclaim the title.  But that was before the 2nd half of Saturday’s North London Derby.

Man U?  Somewhat surprisingly, still undefeated–but hardly dominating, with a record of 7 wins and 7 draws.  And let’s not forget they had been the team in crisis not too long ago; in fact, young Mr. Rooney returned to the pitch this past weekend.

Rounding out the top of the table, tied with 22 points apiece, are the victors of that North London derby, Spurs–whose manager thinks they’ve got a shot at the crown; and Bolton (not sure who thinks they have a legitimate shot at the title).  But who knows, the way things are going…

In fact, the situation can be best summarized by Uncle Harry’s comments referenced above:

This is the best chance anyone is going to get, this season. The league has never been more open. Sunderland go to Chelsea last weekend and win 3-0, Manchester United were losing by two goals at Aston Villa until late on.  It’s wide open for somebody who can put a run together. It’s there for someone to have a real go at it. Why be fearful and say ‘we can’t win it’. Why can’t we win it?