Ligue 1 Roundup: Monaco: The Unofficial Champions of Ligue 1

Ligue 1

Metz-Toulouse

The 37th fixture in French football had all games played simultaneously, as Metz hosted Toulouse on Sunday at the Stade Saint Symphorien, in front of 16,200 home fans. Metz aligned a 4-2-3-1 with Japanese GK Eiji Kawashima in goal, with Matthieu Udol and Ivan Balliu acting as full-backs. Cheick Doukoure had a superb game in midfield, as did Ismaila Sarr on the wing. Toulouse started with youngsters Alban Lafont and Issa Diop protecting the goal in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Francois Moubandje played as a left-back, constantly combining with Martin Braithwaite down the wing. Andy Delort played up top.

The match began with quick opener by Martin Braithwaite, in the 9th minute after Corentin Jean’s low cross. The goal came from a defensive error, which was quickly capitalized by the Dane. The first half ended 0-1 to the away side. The equalizer would come after a chipped through ball from Doukoure over to the young sensation Ismaila Sarr, who carried the ball towards goal from the wing, to riffle a beautiful finish into Lafont’s top right corner. The match would end 1-1, as both teams each took a point home. Metz are 14th in the table with 43 points, while Toulouse are 11th with the same 43 points, however they hold a far superior goal difference (-4 against Metz’s -32, precisely).

Saint Etienne-Paris Saint Germain

This important match saw Saint Etienne face a desperate PSG at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard. Nearly 35,000 thousand fans came to the stadium on Sunday, as they witnessed a one sided match from the first minute until the very last. Saint Etienne’s coach Christophe Galtier was set to manage his team for the last time in front of his home crowd, after 7 and a half seasons of consistent improvement and quiet success.

Galtier started with a 4-3-3, with Stephane Ruffier in goal, and center-back Loic Perrin commanding the defense, with Paul’s older brother Florentin Pogba playing on the left. As usual, Jordan Veretout played on the right of the 3-man midfield. Romain Hamouma played on the right, carrying the few attacks the home side had. Unai Emery’s side formed their natural 4-3-3 formation, with Kevin Trapp in goal, with Thiago Silva and Thomas Meunier having solid performances. Their little work was largely due to Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, and Adrien Rabiot who dismantled A.S.S.E’s midfield and defense. It was the attacking trio who took all the headlines of Parisian newspapers, since Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura scored doubles, with German Julian Draxler adding one to his personal count.

The match began with an instant opener from Edinson Cavani after a cross from the Brazilian left back. Lucas Moura would double the score from a beautiful long ball perfectly placed by midfield maestro Marco Verratti, which left the Brazilian one-on-one against Ruffier. The first half ended with an imposing 0-2 score line. The second half was very similar to the first, with a lot of missed chances, but a lot of goals too. Edinson Cavani finished from close range after a rebound to make it 0-3 in the 72nd minute.  Six minutes later, Moura would make the score 0-4 from a rebound that left him with an open goal. Julian Draxler scored the final goal to make it 0-5 in the 90th minute after a sensational through ball by young Argentine Giovani Lo Celso. The match ended with a staggering 0-5 loss for Galtier in his last home game at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard.

Saint Etienne are 8th with 50 points, while PSG are second with 86. They have to win by a score of 17 goals, and Monaco need to lose both matches for them to win the league. For this matter, it is safe to say that Monaco are champions of Ligue 1.

Bordeaux-Marseille

The following match had direct rivals Bordeaux host Marseille, as they battled for the 5th spot. The Matmur Atlantique had over 40,000 football fans enjoying the game. Both teams began with a 4-3-3, with Cedric Carrasso in goal for the home side. Veteran Jeremy Toulalan played in defense alongside Diego Contento, who acted as a LB. Younousse Sankhare played in midfield, while Francois Kamano and Diego Rolan played up top. Rudi Garcia’s side began with Yohann Pele in goal. Patrice Evra, who recently turned 36, played a pivotal role at LB. Morgan Sanson failed to have his usual impact on the game, but Florian Thauvin didn’t. Bafetimbi Gomis played up top, scoring his 19th goal in 30 matches in Ligue 1.

The match began with a rapid opener by Bordeaux, after a controversial play where some Marseille defenders thought Bordeaux were about to kick the ball out. It was Uruguayan Diego Rolan who scored with just 2 minutes on the clock. The first half had Marseille denied by the post twice, as they came extremely close to scoring, but they failed to do so. The second half saw Thauvin place a pass to Gomis for a finish to beat Carraso in the 60th minute. The match ended 1-1, as Bordeaux are 6th with 58 points, while Marseille hold the 5th place with 59.

Montpellier-Lyon

This game had Montpellier play French giants Lyon at the Stade de la Mosson. The home side started with a 4-4-1-1, with Laurent Pionnier in goal and Nordi Mukiele in defense. Stephane Sessegnon and Ellyes Skhiri in midfield, while Ryad Boudebouz played a center forward role, behind striker Steve Mounie. Bruno Genesio’s Lyon side began with a 4-2-3-1, with Anthony Lopes in goal and Mouctar Diakhaby and Nicolas N’Koulou leading the back four. Young Lucas Tousart and Corentin Tolisso commanded the midfield, while Memphis Depay provided his usual electric pace down the wing. Club icon Alexandre Lacazette had a marvelous 90 minutes, as he was directly involved in all of his team’s goals.

The match began with an opener in the 17th minute as Nabil Fekir opened the scoring after a pass from Lacazette following a defensive error. Lacazette would later score the second himself after a beautiful chip to beat Pionnier. Striker Mounie headed home Boudebouz’s corner, after a horribly timed run by the away side’s GK. The final goal of a 1-3 result would come in the 94th minute of the match, as Lacazette hammered home a cross by Valbuena. He ended the match by adding the second goal to his personal tally and his 26th of the campaign. Montpellier are 15th with 39 points, while Lyon are 4th with 66 points.

Nice-Angers

Probably the most surprising result of the weekend, Nice faced Angers at the Allianz Arena. Favre’s home team aligned an unusual 4-5-1, with Yoan Cardinale in goal, and Arnaud Souquet in defense. Younes Belhanda, Vincent Koziello, and Jean Michael Seri failed to perform at their level, as did Mario Balotelli. Angers began with a 4-3-3, with Mathieu Michel in goal and Ismael Traore controlling the defense. Flavien Tait had a splendid match, controlling the midfield alongside man of the match Cheick Ndoye. Karl Toko Ekambi acted as a striker.

The first goal came from a cross by Tait that put Cardinale in an uncomfortable position for Cheick Ndoye to score with a first-time finish. The remainder of the match would consist of chances for both sides, with the home side not being able to capitalize. A counterattack following a Nice corner kick was the result of the deciding goal. The rapid counter had 5 Angers players running at the Nice defense, with Karl Toko Ekambi blasting a shot past Cardinale to make it 0-2. Nice are 3rd with 77 points while Angers are 13th with 43 points.

SC Bastia-Lorient

The battle for relegation is looking hot! This game was responsible for directly affecting how the bottom of the league looks. SC Bastia hosted Lorient at the Stade Parsemain. Bastia aligned a solid 4-4-2 structure, with Jean-Louis Leca in goal and Pierre Bengtsson in defense. Mehdi Mostefa and Yannick Cahuzac played as central midfielders, while Enzo Crivelli playing as a striker. The away side played with an unusual 4-2-3-1, with Benjamin Lecomte in goal and Michael Ciani as a defender. Alhassan Wakaso and Arnold Mvuemba failed to live up to expectations, while Majeed Waris had an awful game down the wing.

The match was hard fought until the end, for the opener did not come until the 75th minute, when Enzo Crivelli scored from Gael Danic’s cross. Danic then scored the next goal from a long-range screamer into the top corner. As of now, Bastia are 19th with 34 points, while Lorient are 18th with 35 points. Bastia would be in Ligue 2, while Lorient would have to play a play-off round to stay in Ligue 1. Lorient host Bordeaux while Bastia visit Marseille for their last games of the season next week.

Dijon-Nancy

The second match that directly altered how the bottom of the table looks, saw Dijon host Nancy at the Municipal Gaston Gerard. The home side aligned a 4-3-3, with Baptiste Reynet in goal and Jordan Loties acting as a defender. Pier Lees-Melou and Romain Amalfitano controlled the game from the middle of the park, while Lois Diony and Frederic Sammaritano did all the work up top.

The match began with chances for both sides, however Dijon showed their superiority down the wings and in the attacking third. Frederic Sammaritano scored the opener with a deflected shot that beat the GK, in the 51st minute. Lois Diony would later double the lead with a neat finish around the 76th minute. Dijon are 16th while Nancy are in last place of Ligue 1.

Monaco-Lille

This match was of enormous importance, for it may have sealed the league title for the ‘Monegasco’ club. A win meant that PSG would have to win by over ten goals in their last match, while Monaco losing both. It was safe to say that a win would secure Monaco the title. For this, Jardim aligned his usual solid 4-4-2, with Danijel Subasic in goal, and Djibril Sidibe playing on Benjamin Mendy’s wing. Fabinho was the one who played down the right, with Bernardo Silva playing in front of him. Thomas Lemar played as a left wide midfielder, while Kylian Mbappe Lottin and Radamel Falcao as the home side’s striking partnership. Lille began with a 4-2-3-1, with Junior Alonso and Sebastien Corchia in defense. Rio Mavuba had a horrible game in midfield, as did Ibrahim Amado. Naim Sliti was the only positive performance for the away team.

The match started with a quick opener by Colombian Radamel Falcao, following Thomas Lemar’s beautiful cross. Bernardo Silva would double the lead just 1 minute before the break. The rapid counterattack involved Mbappe, who combined pace, pause, dribbling, technical ability, and vision to assist Silva. Radamel Falcao would score the third goal after a series of one-touch passes in the air, which ended with Mbappe placing a beautiful pass for ‘El Tigre’ to score. The last goal of the game came from a cross by Lemar that was put into the back of the net by Lille’s defender Junior Alonso.

Monaco are now unofficial champions of Ligue 1, for PSG have to score 21 and Monaco have to lose both games. Leonardo Jardim’s brilliant season was paid off in fashion, as his team reached the semi-final of the most prestigious tournament in Europe, while winning his domestic league. This campaign will definitely be one for the history books.

Nantes-Guingamp

This entertaining match had Nantes host EA Guingamp at the Stade de la Beaujoire in front of 20,000 fans. The home side aligned a 4-4-2, with Leo Dubios and Diego Carlos as defenders. Adrien Thomasson and young Amine Harit had great games as wide midfielders. Star strike partnership Emiliano Sala and Prejuce Nakoulma took all the newspaper headlines. Guingamp began with a 4-3-3, with Karl-Johan Johnsson in goal, and Fernando Marcal as a LB. Lucas Deaux performed as a midfielder while Yannis Salibur played as a winger.

The score was opened by Thomasson from a Leo Dubios cross. Emiliano Sala would add a brace in the 51st and 77th minute, with the second being a curved long shot that entered the right side of the net. Winter signing Prejuce Nakoulma scored the third goal for his team, with a finish from inside the box. Lucas Deaux scored the only goal for the away side. Nantes are 7th in 51 points, while Guingamp are 10th with 47 points.

Caen-Rennes

The last game of the 37th Ligue 1 matchday had Caen host Rennes at the Stade Michel d’Ornano. Over 16,000 fans attended the last home game of the season. Caen aligned with 5 in the back, 3 midfielders and 2 forwards, forming a 5-3-2. Remy Vercoutre played as a GK, while Damien da Silva and Siam Ben Youssef played as center-backs. Jonathan Delaplace and Julien Feret both played as midfielders, while Ivan Santini played in attack. Rennes aligned a 4-4-1-1, with Benoit Costil in goal and Joris Gnagnon in defense. Ludovic Baal had an active game down the wing, while Yoann Gourcuff and Giovannio Sio created the chances up top.

The only goal of the game came of Sio’s only shot during the 90 minutes. Ludovic Baal accounted for the assist, as Rennes went on to beat Caen 0-1 away from home. Caen are 17th in the table with 36 points, while Rennes are 9th with 50 points.

Final Scores:

Metz 1-1 Toulouse

Saint Etienne 0-5 Paris Saint Germain

Bordeaux 1-1 Marseille

Montpellier 1-3 Lyon

Nice 0-2 Angers

SC Bastia 2-0 Lorient

Dijon 2-0 Nancy

Monaco 4-0 Lille

Nantes 4-1 Guingamp

Caen 0-1 Rennes