Thursday, November 03, 2011

Aie Aie Aie - Ligue 1 sides not up to snuff in Champions League

It is a tad sad that a 0-0 draw away to Arsenal from Marseilles is seen as the high light for Ligue 1 representatives in the Champions League. The other two French sides in the competition - Lille and Lyon were brushed aside by Inter and Real Madrid. I sat through the Real Madrid - Lyon match, and it was painfully clear the chasm of talent between both sides. All one had to do was watch the dual between Briand and Coentrao the Real Madrid left back - both players are internationals, although in the case of the Frenchman I will lump a gigantic grain of salt on that statement. But the contest was so one sided, Briand could not beat the Portuguese international, neither with skill nor pace, usually the latter is prerequisite for a good winger. When Briand did, somehow, get behind the defense the ball would invariably be put out of play or thumped over the 18 yard box to...empty space.

On the flip side, Real Madrid's attacking force of Di Maria, Benzema, Ronaldo and Ozil carved up the Lyon defense. They broke with such precision and ruthlessness that had it not been for some strong goalkeeping from Lloris, Lyon could have and should have been down 3-0 at half time. Alonso, Khedira and Diarra so overwhelmed their Lyon counter parts in the midfield it appeared that Real Madrid were constantly launching 4 on 2 attacks and doing it in all kinds of manners - long diagonal passes, cheeky little chips over the defense, one touch triangle passing, pacey runs on the wings and even an old English favorite kick and run from deep. Lyon looked a step or two slow, did not have the automatism that Real Madrid demonstrated and the main point just did not have the level of talent Real Madrid could roll out onto the pitch.

Couple this with what I saw from the Lille - Inter (in highlights) and the outlook for French clubs in the Champions League looks bleak. Lille is in last place of their group while Lyon sit third, 3 points behind Ajax (their next opponent). There is an outside chance that both could somehow string some good results together and get into the knock out stage, but I doubt it. This will be difficult for Ligue 1 and it is coefficient moving forward. Thankful there is PSG on the horizon!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lyon was bad in general, but I thought Gourcuff played very well. His pass at the end of the game should've set up a goal for Briand, but Briand muffed it.

Anonymous said...

Lyon was bad in general, but I thought Gourcuff played very well. His pass at the end of the game should've set up a goal for Briand, but Briand muffed it.

GFC said...

I would give Gourcuff a B. I think he had some good passes, dangerous free kicks and decent corners. I just felt he looked a step behind the Real Madrid players, granted we are talking about the Galacticos! To me he is still chasing the ghosts of his season at Bordeaux.

There was an error in this gadget