Here is the French press (L’Equipe)’s player ratings for the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal between Barcelona and Manchester United. A number of French players were in action- Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial from Man Utd and Clement Lenglet from Barca. The United duo got 4 and 3 respectively, while the Barcelona centre back got a 6.
Overall, United were rated as 3.6 as a team, while Barcelona were given a 6.4
Also below the L’Equipe ratings are the Marca ones (from Spain), just for comparison. Martial doesn’t even earn a rating in Marca, while Pogba gets a single star. Lenglet, according to Marca, was the best Barcelona player on show last night along with Lionel Messi, who grabbed a brace for the Catalans.
Marseille striker Mario Balotelli was officially named Ligue 1’s Player of the Month for March 2019. The Italian forward picked up 45% of the vote, beating Kylian Mbappe (35%) and Moussa Dembele (20%).
Balotelli is the first Marseille player to win the award in the current 2018-19 season. The only other player who’s even come close was Florian Thauvin, who polled third with 29% of the vote back in November- perhaps an indicator of OM’s struggles this season.
The 28 year old, who only moved to the Stade Velodrome in January, scored four goals in four games last month.
Balotelli’s performances in March 2019 for OM
Marseille 2-0 Saint Etienne (Balotelli 12)
Marseille 1-0 Nice (Balotelli 61)
PSG 3-1 Marseille (no goal)
Marseille 2-2 Angers (Balotelli 4, 16)
Marseille are currently 5th in Ligue 1 with 51 points from 32 games, five behind third place Olympique Lyonnais, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot.
It’s not often that you see Paris Saint-Germain being beaten so convincingly- indeed Lille are the first team since 2000 to score five goals against PSG in a league game (Sedan were the last team to do so, with Pius N’Diefi netting a hat trick back in December 2000). Thomas Tuchel’s side could’ve sealed the Ligue 1 title with a point at LOSC, but instead ended up on the wrong side of a 5-1 drubbing. To make matters worse, they had Juan Bernat (also their only goal scorer in this game) sent off, which leaves the club very thin in terms of depth ahead of their next fixture against Nantes. Tuchel said as much after the game, saying that he had just about 13-14 players available at his disposal ahead of the fixture at Stade de la Beaujoire.
Verratti and Mbappe aside, there was precious little to cheer for the Parisians, as can be seen in the player ratings below. Nicolas Pepe shone for Lille- another performance that will add to his growing list of admirers. Jonathan Ikone and former West Ham defender Jose Fonte were the next best players for LOSC.
Lyon’s hopes of securing an automatic Champions League spot were further hit as they were beaten 2-1 by Nantes in week 32. The loss, coupled with Lille’s stunning 5-1 win over Paris SG, has widened the gap between second placed LOSC and OL to seven points. Not only are Lyon left trailing behind Lille, but they’re also opening the door for the likes of Saint-Etienne to potentially snatch that last Champions League spot from under their noses. ASSE’s 3-0 win over Bordeaux now means they’re only three points behind OL. Les Gones coach Bruno Genesio has already announced that he will leave the Groupama Stadium at the end of the season, and Lyon’s chances of hiring a high profile replacement will reduce significantly if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Terrible performance all around from OL- Martin Terrier and right back Leo Dubois the only outfield players to emerge with some kind of credit from the game.
Interestingly enough, Nantes’ next opponents are PSG. Can they do what Strasbourg and Lille did and delay PSG’s coronation?
Basila, Limbombe and Fabio the best Nantes players on the day, as can be seen below in the ratings.
French paper L’Equipe went for a pun headline for today in the form of “Victoire Hugo”. Literally translating to “Victory Hugo”- a tribute to Hugo Lloris as his penalty save helped his Tottenham Hotspur side upset Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League tie. French and Spurs skipper Lloris denied Sergio Aguero from the spot on 13 minutes- a key moment in the fixture as Heung-min Son’s 78th minute winner saw the home side emerge winners. Victor Hugo is of course the well known French novelist (Les Miserables and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, amongst others)
Lloris was also the highest rated player from either side in the French media’s ratings- getting a 8/10. It’s essentially him and goal scorer Heung-Min Son (with a 7) that push Spurs up. Continue reading