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  #141  
Old 28-02-2008, 09:13 AM
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Lens take the other place in the final after what sounds like a corker

Lens win nine-goal thriller
Jean-Pierre Papin's side will face PSG in the Stade de France showdown after clinching a remarkable 5-4 triumph over Rudi Garcia's Le Mans in one of the competition's greatest-ever games.
League Cup, Semi-Final


Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Stade Leon-Bollee




Le Mans 4
Gervinho 22, Yebda 45, Matsui 66, De Melo 67

Lens 5
De Melo own goal 36, Remy 45, Dindane 53, Pele own goal 64, Keita 117

>> Match Stats

Lens clinched their place in the final of the Coupe de la Ligue following a thrilling 5-4 victory away to Le Mans earned during 120 minutes of the most spectacular football seen in France this season.


It was an astonishing match, with both sides producing thrilling attacking football and fans at the Stade Leon-Bollee feasting on nine goals, even though the outcome was a huge disappointment for home supporters.

The pattern of play was set from the start as both sides attacked on a sodden pitch. Rudi Garcia's side opened the scoring through the outstanding Gervinho on 22 minutes, only for Lens to equalise through an unlikely source. Le Mans' leading scorer Tulio De Melo sent the ball past his own goalkeeper Yohann Pele to earn the Sang et Or an unlikely route back into the match.

Le Mans must have thought they would go in ahead at the break when some brilliant individual play by Gervinho created an opening for Hassan Yebda, who finished smartly just a minute before the interval to give his side a 2-1 lead. But remarkably Lens equalised before the break, with two of their recent signings combining. Full-back Nadir Belhadj, who produced a breathtaking performance, crossed and striker Loic Remy finished with a tremendous volley.

It was all-square at the interval but Lens took the initiative following the restart when Aruna Dindane scored on 53 minutes and then Pele unluckily put the ball into his own goal on 64 minutes when he diverted Olivier Monterrubio's spectacular flying volley across the line. At 4-2 ahead, Lens must have felt the game was over – but the hosts came roaring back with two goals in two minutes midway through the half as first Japanese midfielder Daisuke Matsui and then De Melo, this time scoring at the right end, found the target.

Neither side was able to find the decisive finish before the end of 90 minutes so extra-time ensued and penalties looked almost certain before Lens substitute Sidi Keita contributed decisively by slamming a 30-yard shot home with just three minutes to go. A deflated Le Mans couldn't summon the energy to mount yet another comeback – so Lens held on for one of the most remarkable victories in the competition's history.
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  #142  
Old 28-02-2008, 11:46 AM
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Two great League Cup semi-finals. I totally forgot about the PSG- Auxerre match. According to newspaper reports, this was by far PSG's best performance of the season as the scoreline does not suggest! PSG were cruising it when M.Landreau, France's second choice keeper, committed his third howler in as many games by palming/mispunching? a cross into his own goal. The ball wasn't actually going in ... Landreau has now made 8 howlers since the start of the season but coach Paul Le Guen keeps faith in him and he'll most probably be in the line-up to face Bordeaux in le big match on Sunday evening.
As for the second semi-final, it's a candidate for match of the season. After a rather quiet first quarter of an hour things kicked off after about 20 minutes with the first goal and it was literally end-to-end stuff for the rest of the match, including extra time. I can't say the managers were too happy with their respective defences judging by the scoreline, but the goals were more as a result of good attacking play than by sloppy defending.
Since the winter break Lens have been a tranformed team. They brought back former coach Daniel Leclerq, known as the Druid, to help Jean-Pierre Papin with coaching etc. and their transfer dealings in the January window seem to be paying off. They bought Loic Remy, a young pacy forward, and Belhadj, an attacking left-back, from Lyon and they have both settled in very well. Lens also have a player called Olivier Monterrubio who plays wide on the left and has an excellent left peg. I reckon he was unlucky not to have been selected for the national team a few years back when he was playing for F.C.Nantes. He seems to be coming back into form. Lens also have Aruna Dindane in a centre forward role who, like many African forwards in the French league, can be lethal one day and absolute crap the next. To finish, Lens brought on near the end a young player called Monnet-Paquet, who they think highly of. It looks like he can play a little bit.
Le Mans, then, deserved just as much to have qualified. They must have a good scouting system there because they've got some very good and relatively unknown players such as the Japanese Matsui, the Brazilians De Melo and Gervinho and their best player last night was a midfielder by the name of Sessegnon. I'll have to find out some more about him.
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  #143  
Old 28-02-2008, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BB Bob
Steve Mandanda is at marseille on a full time deal (at least I think so!) and having a fairly good season. I'm not sure he's the finished article yet, though.

I've not seen Costil play at all - maybe kabbot has? Looking at the stats, it doesn't look as though he has played much this year. Still at Caen, though.

Grandin signed for l'OM in January, but hasn't done much so far. Played three and not scored yet.
Actually Steve Mandanda is on a season-long deal from Le Havre. Marseille have an option to sign him permanently at the end of the season. He was actually signed as reserve keeper to Cedric Carusso who consequently got injured right at the start of the season (ligaments, I think). Marseille wondered if Mandanda would be good enough to stand in long term. Mandanda has shown that they were right to put their faith in him. Many a good player has gone to Marseille and never performed because of the very 'ambiance' that surrounds the club, very much like PSG in that respect. Mind you, it only needs one poor performance and he'll be slagged off just like others have in the past. In the meantime, Carusso, I think, has recovered from injury, but it doesn't look like he'll be walking back into the first team quite yet.
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  #144  
Old 28-02-2008, 12:15 PM
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Didn't Le Mans' manager leave at the end of the season to join Sochaux and replace Reggie Perrin? If so, the current guy has done even better!
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  #145  
Old 29-02-2008, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by BB Bob
Didn't Le Mans' manager leave at the end of the season to join Sochaux and replace Reggie Perrin? If so, the current guy has done even better!
He did. However Frédéric Hantz is no longer the coach of Sochaux, having been sacked during the winter break. He was replaced by Rudi Garcia, former coach of Dijon (Ligue 2) and, before that, St. Etienne.
Sochaux's current coach is none other than François Gillet, former player and coach of F.C.Lens, who was replaced by Jean-Pierre Papin, ex coach of F.C.Strasbourg, who replaced ...
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  #146  
Old 29-02-2008, 11:33 AM
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Francois Gillet was the one who always looked like he slept rough! On another note, why is the Lille v Lyon game taking place in Paris?
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Old 29-02-2008, 11:44 AM
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is he related to nicolas gillet? the defender?
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  #148  
Old 29-02-2008, 05:44 PM
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is he related to nicolas gillet? the defender?
My mistake. I don't think this is the first time I've mixed them up either. They aren't related simply because it's François Gillot and not François Gillet.
Nicolas Gillet, by the way, is bringing his experience to Ligue 2 table-toppers Le Havre this season. Le Havre are a bit like the Palace, the yo-yo team, and, like Palace, have been more down than up of late.
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Old 29-02-2008, 08:33 PM
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A couple of quick previews. I really liked Bodmer last season - it's a shame he hasn't had a good run this year.

Live preview: Lille v Lyon
Lyon's Mathieu Bodmer (pictured) will face former club Lille in an historic occasion as the two sides clash in front of a record crowd at Stade de France.
Ligue 1, Matchday 27
Lille v Lyon, Stade de France
Saturday, March 1, 2008 (4.10pm kick-off UK Time)

No matter who wins when Lille face Lyon in a crucial match for both teams, this game will go down in history because it will attract the biggest-ever crowd for a Ligue 1 fixture - as it's being played at Stade de France.

Around 75,000 fans are expected to turn out at France's national stadium for this record-breaking occasion, which will leave the previous best-attendance mark a distant second. A crowd of 57,609 saw Marseille draw 1-1 with Lyon at Stade Velodrome in August 2005 – but with almost 20,000 more fans travelling to the north of Paris for this one, this games promises to be a memorable occasion.

Lille are facing the Ligue 1 leaders here just a week after taking on second-placed Bordeaux – and LOSC coach Claude Puel could be forgiven for thinking he's done something to antagonise the fixture organisers.

But if last Sunday's performance is anything to go by - Lille earned a creditable 1-1 draw against Laurent Blanc's Bordeaux is - then Lille have nothing to fear here. Also ,they can fall back on one of the best head-to-head records against Lyon of any side in the division.

Remarkably, Lille have won five of their last six home games against the six-times champions, although the defeat (2-1) came last season. They triumphed 4-0 in 2005-06, 2-1 in 2004-05, 1-0 in 2003-04, 2-1 in 2002-03 and 2-0 in 2001-02. Survivors of some of those games are still in the Lille ranks (goalkeeper Tony Sylva, captain Gregory Tafforeau and centre-half Nicolas Plestan being among them) so the home side will be far more confident than most about hosting the Ligue 1 leaders, even though the fact this match is being played at Stade de France may mean Lille lose some of their home advantage.

Then there's the matter of Lyon's Champions League last 16 second-leg clash against Manchester United next week. Following an excellent display in the first leg les Lyonnais were a little unlucky to emerge with only a 1-1 draw after Carlos Tevez grabbed a late equaliser for the Premier League champions. But Lyon will not have written off the tie yet – which is why they may be vulnerable here. We have seen them lose twice in Ligue 1 before important European fixtures this season – 1-0 at Caen in December before they went on to secure a thrilling 3-0 victory over Rangers in Glasgow, and 1-0 at Le Mans a fortnight ago before the draw with United.

So Lille have everything to play for, and need the points. They are one of a dozen clubs who are embroiled in the most open relegation battle for years and would love to move up before their game in hand against local rivals Lens at Stade Felix-Bollaert on March 11. They are 14th on 32pts but have only a four-point cushion over Toulouse, who occupy the highest relegation position. A win here could be enough for Puel's men to climb as high as ninth if other games go in their favour. And the boost of a victory over Alain Perrin's side would be the perfect way to launch their season run-in.

It's a big game for Mathieu Bodmer and Kader Keita in particular. The pair transferred from Lille to Lyon last summer after some swashbuckling performances for the northern outfit in Ligue 1 and Europe. Neither has enjoyed an automatic place in Lyon's star-studded team this season but Bodmer recently produced his best performance since his move, scoring twice in Lyon's 4-1 win over Sochaux three weeks ago. Lyon haven't seen the best of flying winger Keita yet – but this could be the ideal match for him to ignite his season if Lyon coach Perrin rotates his squad before the United showdown
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  #150  
Old 29-02-2008, 08:34 PM
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Live preview: Bordeaux v PSG
Paul Le Guen (pictured) takes PSG, embroiled in a relegation battle, to Stade Chaban-Delmas. Will Pauleta be the headline act on an emotional occasion for the veteran striker?
Ligue 1, Matchday 27
Bordeaux v PSG, Stade Chaban-Delmas
Sunday, March 2, 2008 (7.55pm kick-off UK Time)

Bordeaux face PSG in the Sunday night clash this weekend with a question playing on supporters' minds: was last week's 0-0 draw v Lille a minor setback in their title challenge or a sign that les Girondins are not yet ready to challenge for the Ligue 1 prize?

The goalless stalemate was Bordeaux's most disappointing home performance of the year and brought to an end a run of six straight victories at Stade Chaban-Delmas. The home players look tired, perhaps not surprising given they had faced Anderlecht in an unsuccessful Uefa Cup clash just three nights earlier.

Lyon's 2-0 win over Metz last Saturday means the gap between the title-chasers now stands at three points, and with Bordeaux yet to travel to Lyon to face the champions it's imperative they pick up maximum points in their home games. That's why coach Laurent Blanc will have spent the week ensuring his players are fully rested and recuperated before the visit of PSG, which is always a massive encounter.

The capital outfit enjoyed a welcome break from the travails of Ligue 1 action when they took on Auxerre in the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final at Parc des Princes on Tuesday night. Their 3-2 triumph – thanks to goals from Mario Yepes, Pauleta and Bernard Mendy – means Paul Le Guen's side have booked their place in the final against Lens at Stade de France on March 29. But now it's back to the important business of staying outside the relegation zone, and PSG still have plenty of work to do.

Following a brief burst of impressive form in January PSG have suffered a downturn in fortunes since, going four games without a win and picking up just two points from a possible 12. That disappointing run of results has left them in 16th place on 31pts, just three points above the relegation zone.

One player who would dearly love to start the match here is Pauleta. The 34-year-old former Portugal international has been relegated to the sidelines for many games this season (although he started v Monaco last weekend) but this will be a major occasion for him if he plays as it pitches together the two clubs he's represented in France. Pauleta joined Bordeaux from Deportivo La Coruna in 1997 and scored 65 goals in 98 league appearances there before switching to PSG in 2000. His tally of 73 goals in 158 Ligue 1 games for his current club means he has averaged a goal every 1.86 goals in Ligue 1, a remarkable record. The man who holds the record as Portugal's all-time highest scorer is set to retire at the end of the season so his will the last opportunity for him to show what he can do against his former employers. Expect it to be an emotional game for one of France's greatest-ever foreign players.
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Old 29-02-2008, 08:36 PM
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At the moment, St Etienne are hot and Nice are not!!! They'll do well to keep it close, but I can't see Nice scoring, particularly not now that Ederson has got one eye on next season.



Live preview: St Etienne v Nice
Can St Etienne make it three wins in a row as Bafetimbi Gomis (pictured), Pascal Feindouno and Geoffrey Dernis look to inspire the hosts to victory over a Nice side struggling for form?
Ligue 1, Matchday 27
St Etienne v Nice, Stade Geoffrey-Guichard
Sunday 2 March, 2008, 5pm kick-off (UK Time)

The French have a saying, "never one and two without three" – will it come true for St Etienne against Nice in this clash?

Les Verts have enjoyed a scintillating and unexpected upturn in fortunes over the past couple of weeks. First they thrashed Nancy 4-0 at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, making light of the visitors' best defensive record in the division. They followed up by beating Caen 3-1 last weekend – only their second away win of the season – and did so with some style, racing into a 3-0 half-time lead to leave the hosts shellshocked.

So what's the key to the St Etienne revival? Firstly, Pascal Feindouno's return from the Africa Cup of Nations has been a massive boost. The 27-year-old Guinea playmaker has been in wonderful form – he was the architect behind the 4-0 win over Nancy, providing two assists and scoring a penalty himself. He was also impressive at Caen last weekend.

Alongside him Geoffrey Dernis is probably St Etienne's most improved player. The midfield dynamo has a wonderful left foot and exhibited his skills to positive effect last weekend, scoring two long-range strikes against Franck Dumas' side and hitting the bar with a third thunderbolt effort in the second-half to nearly complete a hat-trick. Dernis has become the engine room of the St Etienne midfield.

Up front Bafetimbi Gomis is enjoying the freedom of playing as a lone striker. Having been paired unsuccessfully with Brazilian Ilan for much of the season, the 21-year-old French striker has operated alone in a 4-2-3-1 system in their last two outings – and the new formation appears to suit him. He has notched three goals in those two games, taking his tally to 10 Ligue 1 goals for the season. Gomis' devastating mix of pace, power, direct running and finishing makes him one of Ligue 1's most potent strikers at the moment.

So Nice will have their work cut out here – and having gone six games without a win this looks hardly the ideal occasion for them to get their season back on track. They have fallen from fourth to sixth over the past couple of weeks and home defeats against Marseille (0-2) and Auxerre (1-2) appear to have dented confidence. But their own livewire striker, Bakari Kone, has been unlucky not to score since his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, having produced a couple of exciting displays where only his finishing has let him down. Nice's nine-goal top scorer looks ready to get back on the goals trail so will be the visitors' main danger man in what promises to be a fantastic Sunday afternoon clash.
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Old 29-02-2008, 08:46 PM
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The other fixtures are:-

20:00 Le Mans Strasbourg

Le Mans may well be knackered after their midweek game. Strasbourg scrapping for points. Draw

20:00 Lens Toulouse

Les Ch'tis playing better, but probably knackered too. Toulouse unlucky last week. Going for the draw again

20:00 Lorient Nancy

Nancy need to get back on track, but, like last season, look to be fading. I'm sounding like a stuck record, but draw again.

20:00 Marseille Auxerre

Auxerre are good defensively, but l'OM look to have the bit between their teeth. Home win

20:00 Metz Caen

Can Caen keep the score down. I'd say yes and away win (but Metz are awful)

20:00 Monaco Valenciennes

Tough call. Can't decide between them, really, so I'll go draw


20:00 Sochaux Rennes

Jimmy Briand had a good game last week. If he can get firing for the last bit of the season, Rennes could go places. Away win.

Mights as well do the others, I guess

Matchday 27 - Sunday, March 02, 2008


18:00 Saint Etienne Nice


Home win

20:55 Bordeaux Paris SG

Home win (but I could be biased)

Sat Lille v Lyon (in Paris)

Tricky match for Lyon. I think Lyon will be preoccupied with the midweek game and, after Bordeaux's slip last week, can take a chance. Still, Lille are fairly tough to break down, so I'm going draw.



That's my take on the weekend ahead - enjoy the games!
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Old 29-02-2008, 08:56 PM
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Francois Gillet was the one who always looked like he slept rough! On another note, why is the Lille v Lyon game taking place in Paris?
Your're right François Gillot is a bit of a scruffy g*t!
As for the Lille v Lyon game, Lille have actually been without a ground for two or three seasons now. Their stadium called Grimonprez-Jooris (or something like that) was demolished and a new stadium was to be built on the same site. They then came across problems with the town/city council concerning rebuilding permission - I don't know if the reasons are financial or political etc. So Lille are actually playing in a small stadium at Villeneuve d'Ascq (near Lille) for the time being. I think French footballing laws also make it possible in certain circumstances for teams to play their home games at other grounds. This has also happened in the French rugby union league when the Parisian team Stade Français played Toulouse at the Stade de France in front of something like 80,000 spectators, thus breaking the record for the highest attendance for a club rugby match. I think Stade Français now play at least one match at the Stade de France each season. If my memory serves me correctly I think there was even a European Cup game between Stade Français and maybe Leicester a year or two back.
Apparently Lille have already sold 75,000 tickets for the match (I don't know if this is going to be a record-breaking attendance for a Ligue 1 match. According to press reports, various groups of supporters from both Lille and Lyon are boycotting the match because of the obvious mercantile interests Lille have in staging the match in Paris. But then Lille only have an average of maybe 12,000-15,000 for their home games and Lyon at the most will bring 1,000-2,000. So does that mean there are going to be 70,000 Parisians who are at last going to be able to watch a decent footy match?
The kick-off time coincides with the second-half against Preston so it's going to be another busy afternoon.
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Old 29-02-2008, 09:48 PM
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Can't say much about Benoît Costil. according to statistics, he's only played two league games this season conceding six goals. He is highly thought of over here along with Hugo Lloris of Nice. They are two French U21 international keepers. The other keeper I like is Steven Pélé (great name). Although he let in five against Lens on wednesday, he is one of the reasons why Le Mans have been doing so well this season. He's solder than the other two, 26 I think, and is reaching maturity. His nickname, apparently, is 'The albatross'. Fancy having an albatross playing for the Eagles!?
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Old 29-02-2008, 09:58 PM
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Steve Mandanda is at marseille on a full time deal (at least I think so!) and having a fairly good season. I'm not sure he's the finished article yet, though.

I've not seen Costil play at all - maybe kabbot has? Looking at the stats, it doesn't look as though he has played much this year. Still at Caen, though.

Grandin signed for l'OM in January, but hasn't done much so far. Played three and not scored yet.
Elliot Grandin played his first game for Marseille in the last 16 of the French Cup and immediately became the fans' favourite, which isn't easy, n'est-ce pas Mr. Cissé?) by setting up Valbuena for a goal and then scoring himself with an audacious overhead kick. He looked pretty good that night. He has the reputation of being a very good player but also a bit of a partygoer too. A young man with a fiery temperament. By choosing to go to Marseille (and its big squad), he's obviously taking a risk. We'll see if it pays off ...
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Old 01-03-2008, 09:01 AM
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The Lille move completely passed me by! Didn't they used to play in a lovely little stadium on an island just outside the town? I got hopelessly lost walking round it a few years ago and just stumbled across the ground after a couple of hours!
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:35 PM
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I know no more about the old Lille stadium. Concerning the plans for the new one, it will also be at Villeneuve d'Ascq (I'm not sure if it'll be where they're actually playing their home games). It will have a capacity of 50,000 places, will be finished by 2012 and will cost 700,000,000 Euros.
Lyon also have plans for a new stadium. If the project is accepted it will be at Décines (a few kilometres to the east of Lyon), there will be 60,000 places and the cost will be around 450,000,000 Euros. For the Lyon project there are one or two problems. Lyon don't just want to build a stadium but they also want their training facilities there just like they have at Gerland at the moment, and they also want to build an OL Land made up of a leisure complex, hotels and office blocks. The final problem is that only 7,000 parking spaces have been envisaged and public transport would have to be seriously improved. No final decision has yet been made.
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:39 PM
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Can't say much about Benoît Costil. according to statistics, he's only played two league games this season conceding six goals. He is highly thought of over here along with Hugo Lloris of Nice. They are two French U21 international keepers. The other keeper I like is Steven Pélé (great name). Although he let in five against Lens on wednesday, he is one of the reasons why Le Mans have been doing so well this season. He's solder than the other two, 26 I think, and is reaching maturity. His nickname, apparently, is 'The albatross'. Fancy having an albatross playing for the Eagles!?
Correction! I meant, of course, Yohann Pélé and not Steven Pélé who is actually his brother who plays for E.A.Guingamp (Ligue 2).
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Old 01-03-2008, 12:40 PM
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This afternoon's Lille v Lyon game will break the record for the highest attendance for a league game, the current record being for a Marseille v Lyon game on the 30th April 1999 when 57,740 spectators turned up, final score 0:0.
The other question is will they beat the attendance for the rugby match between Stade Français on 27th January 2007 when 79,741 spectators were present.
Of the 75,000-80,000 fans expected, 35,000 will come from the Lille region.
Grosso is rested for the Man.U game and replaced by Anthony Réveillère. Will it be Ben Arfa of Fred up front with Benzema and will Bodmer and Keita get a run-out against their old club?

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Old 01-03-2008, 04:37 PM
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Sorry...trying out putting images in!

Ha ha! Now we're cooking!
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