Posts Tagged ‘Michel Bastos’

French football quotes of the year 2011

L’Entente Cordiale

“They say it’s because I’m a sexy boy. The English are crazy!”
Yohan Cabaye, on the ‘Dreamboat’ nickname bestowed upon him by Newcastle’s fans

“Behind the ‘big guns’ like Chelsea or Manchester [United], there’s also Sunderland or Wolverhampton. French players who are used to getting on the ball end up watching it fly over their heads for 90 minutes.”
– Marseille sporting director José Anigo has some words of advice for any budding Ligue 1 talents dreaming of plying their trade in the Premier League

“If you want us to just stick it in the box like I’ve seen Stoke City do, you’ll have to change the coach. I forbid it.”
– Rennes coach Frédéric Antonetti shares his thoughts on the football doctrine advocated by Tony Pulis

“Without wanting to be unkind, it’s difficult when there are only four of you defending. Sometimes you feel like you’re on your own. When you watch Barça, everyone defends – even Messi!”
Laurent Koscielny feels a bit exposed in the Arsenal back four

“Sometimes I tell jokes and Joe Cole and I look at each other and we’re the only ones laughing.”
Vincent Enyeama on the language barrier in the Lille changing room

“Bon match pour… my team – mon équipe – et… I’m very happy!”
– Ambushed by Canal+’s touchline reporter Laurent Paganelli, Joe Cole has a stab at his first interview in the language of his new homeland after Lille’s 3-1 win over Lyon


“Once again I’m attacked by Jean-Michel Larqué. I hope with all my heart I don’t end up like him after my career, but there’s no chance of that because I’m not an idiot.”
– Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Jérémie Janot has a pop at 63-year-old television pundit Jean-Michel Larqué, who had criticised him for letting in two late goals at Lens

“Your mum.”
Aly Cissokho’s considered response to a supporter who told him to “go and join Arles-Avignon” during a Lyon training session in April

“Although the score was already 3-0, he’d been taking the piss out of us with the ball for a few minutes, dribbling past his opponent and then waiting so he could dribble past him again. It’s a lack of respect. Even his Lille team-mates said he was going too far.”
– Nancy captain André Luiz takes a dim view of Eden Hazard’s showboating

“Marseille come up to Paris to fuck PSG!”
– Microphone in hand, match-winner Taye Taiwo gets a bit carried away during the Coupe de la Ligue post-match celebrations by leading the OM fans in a chorus of one of their favourite chants

“It was a good response to people who don’t know football. It’ll make them shut their big mouths.”
Modibo Maiga relishes his brace in a 3-0 defeat of Toulouse after stumbling into the viewfinder of the Sochaux boo boys

“At that moment, I told myself that they’d gone mad and didn’t realise. Today I know that I was wrong: they knew exactly what they were doing. They even closed the curtains on the bus to hide themselves from the cameras… With hindsight, I see them above all as a bunch of thoughtless brats.”
Raymond Domenech is still struggling to let go of the 2010 World Cup

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Garde’s guidance restores sense and serenity to Stade Gerland

It is a measure of Lyon’s progress under Rémi Garde that Wednesday night’s 1-0 loss at Caen could be shrugged off as a mere inconvenience. Garde allowed himself a rueful smile during a pitchside interview after the match as he admitted he had been perplexed by his side’s sluggish approach to the game and in the subsequent press conference he was equally equanimous, likening the defeat to “a little kick up the bum”.

This time last year, Lyon had won just one of their first seven games and slipped into the relegation zone after a 1-0 defeat at the hands of their great rivals Saint-Etienne in the 100th Derby du Rhône. Disgruntled fans had begun to string up banners calling for Claude Puel’s dismissal in eye-catching locations across the city and although OL recovered to finish third, the mood scarcely improved.

Twelve months on and, despite having lost the last unbeaten record in the division at Caen, Lyon find themselves in third place, two points off top spot ahead of tomorrow’s game with Bordeaux. More importantly, Stade Gerland has become a happy place. Garde has galvanised the squad and has Lyon playing a brand of expansive, attack-minded football that has quickly won him the approval of the fans.

Strikingly, the turnaround has been effected without a single major summer signing and despite the fact several of OL’s most impressive performers were on the brink of leaving the club during the transfer window. Kim Källström looked destined for Galatasaray, Aly Cissokho was reportedly close to joining Liverpool and Michel Bastos spent the summer waiting for a call from Juventus that never came despite months of eyelash-fluttering from La Vecchia Signora.

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Report: New leaders Lyon plunge Marseille into despair

“PARIS — Eleven points separate Lyon and Marseille after OL defeated their title rivals 2-0 on Sunday to go top of Ligue 1 and consign Didier Deschamps’ hapless side to the bottom of the table.”

You can read my round-up of the weekend’s Ligue 1 action for AFP here.

La semaine en France: Week 12

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
For the first time in many years, Sunday night’s ‘clasico’ between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille actually felt like an important game in its own right, as PSG’s 2-1 victory at the Parc des Princes took them above their hated rivals to third in the table.

Delays meant the Marseille team coach did not arrive at the stadium until an hour before kick-off and it appeared to take their players around 20 minutes to realise the game had actually started, with Mevlüt Erding and Guillaume Hoarau putting the hosts two goals to the good before Marseille responded through Lucho González.

Brest remain top, despite conceding their first goals in nine matches as they went down 3-1 at Lille. Moussa Sow’s close-range header brought Brest’s extraordinary clean sheet streak to an end after 832 minutes, but a magnificent volley by Romain Poyet (see below) provided some consolation for the promoted side.

Second-placed Rennes are now a point behind Brest – albeit with a game in hand against Marseille still to come on December 1 – following an engaging 1-1 draw at home to Lyon. Hugo Lloris had already been called into action three times before a well-taken strike by Jirès Kembo Ekoko put the hosts ahead in the fifth minute, but Rennes could not sustain their blistering early momentum and a deflected second-half free-kick by Michel Bastos earned OL a share of the spoils.

A Kévin Gameiro brace gave Lorient a 2-1 win at Saint-Etienne (who are now without a win in six games), which sent Les Merlus up to ninth. In the relegation zone, Lens and Monaco both moved to within a point of safety after beating Montpellier (2-0) and Nancy (0-4) respectively. Meanwhile, Arles-Avignon claimed their first success of the campaign, at the 12th attempt, with a 3-2 win at home to floundering Caen.

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La semaine en France: Week 7

A bite-size round-up of the week’s events in French football, for anyone who wants to keep up with what’s happening in Ligue 1 but hasn’t got the time (or the French) to do so.

Ligue 1
Ask any football fan how they’d prefer to beat their fiercest rivals, and they might not say a 5-0 thrashing or a thrilling 4-3 victory with a dramatic winner deep into injury time. For some, there is nothing sweeter than beating your worst enemies in unjust and controversial circumstances after a match in which you’ve been completely played off the park from start to finish. Fans of Saint-Etienne have been celebrating just such a victory this week.

Lyon’s performance in the 100th Derby du Rhône was probably their best of the season. They dominated possession, had two shots cleared off the line and hit the woodwork three times. But in the 75th minute, Saint-Etienne were awarded a dubious free-kick and man of the moment Dimiti Payet stepped up to send a picture postcard of a shot into the top-right corner, keeping Les Verts top of the pile for another seven days and sending Lyon into the relegation zone.

Saint-Etienne head into Saturday’s sold-out home game against Marseille with a one-point lead over Rennes, who won 2-1 at Nice. Toulouse are a point further back in third, having been held to a 1-1 draw at home to Lille. Marseille, the champions, continued their rise up the standings with a 2-1 win at home to Sochaux (Taye Taiwo’s opener, a wind-assisted attempted cross from wide on the left, will go down as an early candidate for fluke of the season). OM are now sixth, level on points with fifth-placed Paris Saint-Germain, who secured their first away win since December last year with a 2-0 victory at Lens.

Brest continued their encouraging return to the top flight with a 1-0 win at home to Valenciennes, while fellow Ligue 2 escapees Caen remain fourth after a goalless stalemate against Bordeaux.

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World Cup scouting: The 32 – Conclusions

Starting with Nicolás Lodeiro back in December last year, Football Further selected 32 players to watch out for at the 2010 World Cup and then tracked their progress through the tournament via weekly scouting reports. Below is a full compilation of those reports, along with conclusions (and marks out of 10) on how each player performed.

Players with asterisks* were scouted by Football Further in the build-up to the World Cup.


South Africa: Katlego Mphela
– Group match 1 (South Africa 1-1 Mexico): Led the line with uncomplaining dedication, played a key part in the build-up to Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening goal and hit the post late on with a rather tame left-footed effort.
– Group match 2 (South Africa 0-3 Uruguay): Forced to plough a lone furrow again, he managed to craft a few half-chances for himself but was let down by the quality of the service he received.
– Group match 3 (South Africa 2-1 France): Bowed out of the World Cup with a man-of-the-match performance. Bundled home South Africa’s second goal from Tsepo Masilela’s left-wing centre and could have had a hat-trick. Tested Hugo Lloris three times – twice with well-controlled efforts from distance – and also rattled the post with a side-footed shot from close range.
Overall: 6/10. Made to toil in the hosts’ opening two games, he confirmed his quality in the victory over France.

Mexico: Giovani dos Santos
– Group match 1 (South Africa 1-1 Mexico): Illuminated the first 45 minutes of the World Cup with his enterprising dribbling in central areas. Had less of an impact in the second half but drew fine save from Itumelung Khune with rasping shot.
– Group match 2 (Mexico 2-0 France): Not as influential as against South Africa, but posed a threat whenever he got the ball in the right positions. Looked to get in behind the France defence at every opportunity and sent a low shot a couple of yards wide after outmuscling Patrice Evra shortly before half-time.
– Group match 3 (Mexico 0-1 Uruguay): Often Mexico’s most advanced player, he could not capitalise on the space occasionally afforded him as El Tri were made to accept the unpalatable prospect of a last-16 meeting with Argentina.
– Round of 16 (Argentina 3-1 Mexico): Started on the right but was repeatedly unable to exploit promising situations purely due to the fact he always had to cut inside onto his left foot. Slipped cute pass through to Javier Hernandez in the game’s early stages but endured a largely frustrating evening.
Overall: 7/10. Failed to rediscover the form that made him the stand-out player of the tournament’s opening game, but he nonetheless remained a dangerous weapon for Mexico and was nominated for the Young Player of the Tournament award.

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World Cup scouting: The 32

The following 32 names represent Football Further‘s players to watch at the 2010 World Cup. We’ll be following their performances closely over the course of the tournament, with weekly scouting reports rounding up their progress.

Names preceded by squad numbers. Players in bold have been scouted by Football Further in the build-up to the World Cup. Players in brackets were scouted but not called up by their national sides.

Group A
South Africa: 9. Katlego Mphela
Mexico: 17. Giovani dos Santos (Jonathan dos Santos)
Uruguay: 14. Nicolás Lodeiro
France: 19. Abou Diaby (Moussa Sissoko)

Group B
Argentina: 15. Nicolás Otamendi
Nigeria: 15. Lukman Haruna
South Korea: 16. Ki Sung-Yong
Greece: 18. Sotiris Ninis

Group C
England: 23. Joe Hart (Jack Wilshere)
United States: 4. Michael Bradley
Algeria: 7. Ryad Boudebouz
Slovenia: 15. Rene Krhin

Group D

Germany: 6. Sami Khedira
Australia: 23. Mark Bresciano (Tommy Oar)
Serbia: 3. Aleksandar Kolarov
Ghana: 18. Dominic Adiyiah

Group E
Netherlands: 2. Gregory van der Wiel
Denmark: 3. Simon Kjær
Japan: 18. Keisuke Honda
Cameroon: 3. Nicolas N’Koulou

Group F
Italy: 10. Antonio Di Natale
Paraguay: 19. Lucas Barrios
New Zealand: 20. Chris Wood
Slovakia: 15. Miroslav Stoch

Group G
Brazil: 6. Michel Bastos
North Korea: 9. Jong Tae-Se
Ivory Coast: 10. Gervinho
Portugal: 23. Fábio Coentrão

Group H
Spain: 22. Jesús Navas
Switzerland: 23. Xherdan Shaqiri
Honduras: 12. Georgie Welcome
Chile: 14. Matías Fernández

World Cup scouting: Michel Bastos (Brazil)

The element of surprise is an increasingly precious commodity in international football. Gone are the days when a team could pitch up at a World Cup and shock the world – like Holland in 1974 – with a revolutionary tactical system or – like Cameroon in 1990 – a group of players nobody knew.

The game’s globalisation means that talents do not stay hidden for very long. No sooner has an exciting young player emerged from the Rio de Janeiro favelas or the Parisian banlieues than his video highlights have been posted on YouTube for all the world to see. Of the 32 teams that will contest this summer’s World Cup, only North Korea will enter the tournament as true unknowns.

Over-exposure (and thus over-familiarity) is of particular concern for Brazil. Where sides like France and Argentina – and, increasingly, England – have been beset by problems in the build-up to the World Cup, Brazil’s preparations have been relatively smooth. Having crushed Argentina in the final of the 2007 Copa América, Brazil cruised to success at last summer’s Confederations Cup in South Africa and qualified for the World Cup without any major hiccups and with three matches to spare.

Places undoubtedly remain up for grabs in Dunga’s squad, but his preferred tactical system is common knowledge. Barring a big surprise, Brazil’s formation of choice this summer will be a 4-2-3-1/4-3-1-2 with Gilberto Silva and Felipe Melo in front of the defence, Maicon patrolling the right flank from right-back, Ramires or Elano supplying the legs in midfield and Kaká and Robinho playing in support of Luís Fabiano up front.

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