Posts tagged Radamel Falcao
2018-19 Ligue 1 power rankings: PSG vs. everyone else

With the European football leagues getting underway this week, The Barber's Chair is taking a look at each of the major soccer leagues across the pond to see how each club stacks up this season.

Ligue 1 Power Rankings

With Ligue 1 set to begin on August 10, we will have one of Europe’s top leagues back in action. The French league will receive more attention as the national team recently won the FIFA World Cup, and with it came the attention of casual fans to less established French stars. Let’s rank which teams have the best chance to be crowned champions this season.

Class 1: Title Contenders

PSG (Paris Saint-Germain)

Source: AFP

Source: AFP

The champions are in a class of their own, winning the league for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Since 2011, the Paris-based squad has been trying to become one of the biggest teams in Europe, and has been relentless in acquiring the best players by paying large transfer fees. Last season’s purchase of Neymar put them in conversation as a destination for top-tier players, and he didn't disappoint, scoring 19 goals in 20 Ligue 1 appearances before his debut season was cut short due to injury.

The World Cup gave further attention to PSG, and it also brought Kylian Mbappe to superstardom. He's only 19 years-old, and his improvement is what can bring PSG closer to competing with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. PSG were able to acquire his rights from Monaco and were also to get a hold of Gianluigi Buffon after the legendary goalkeeper departed with Juventus.

This could be a breakout season for the squad with several players like Mbappe and Presnel Kimpembe now a year older. However, several defenders are aging, so look for PSG to monitor the minutes of Dani Alves and Thiago Silva as they prepare for what they hope to be a long season.

Falcao Moncao 2018 AFP.jpg

Class 2: European qualification spots

Monaco
Lyon
Marsielle

Monaco, Lyon and Marseille are strong enough to challenge PSG for the Ligue 1 crown, but in the end they'll most likely be playing for second place.

Monaco has been the most consistent of the bunch, and the only team to win Ligue 1 in the last six years of PSG dominance. They've been focused on getting younger, acquiring players like Aleksandr Golovin, the Russian star of the World Cup who will be making his debut in a top European league. Other transfer signings like Willem Geubbels, who has plenty of potential at 16, is too young to have a major impact this season. However, Monaco still has Radamel Falcao, one of league’s top strikers.

Lyon and Marsielle are two teams that also made few changes from the previous season. Both made signings that were influenced by focusing on the future. The signings of Duje Caleta-Car for Marsielle and Tanguy Ndombele for Lyon are great for their team's long-term futures, but ultimately leave both squads a bit behind Monaco and a significant gap from PSG this year. Lyon will need Memphis Depay to have another great season to hold off Marsielle, and his development will have them at equal level with Monaco. Marsielle missed out on qualification for the UEFA Champions Leauge this past season, finishing a point behind Lyon. Look for that to be the major focus for Rudi Garcia's squad.

Class 3: Mid table

Rennes
Bordeaux
Nice
Saint-Etienne
Montepellier
Nantes
Dijon
Amiens
Guingamp
Angers

Nice will receive the most attention of the mid-table tier, as former French star Patrick Vieira makes his Ligue 1 managerial debut after managing New York City in MLS. NYCFC made improvements in Vieira's two and a half seasons in the Bronx. In his time there, they were an aggressive and entertaining club to watch as defenders pressed high, similar to Vieira's own style of play.

Source: Getty

Source: Getty

Nantes is another team that made a managerial change with the Portuguese Miguel Cardoso looking to push the squad to a top-five finish. Theosan-Jordan Siebatcheu is a player to watch for Rennes, as he helped Reims receive promotion to Ligue 1 last season. The American-born Frenchman may push to join the United States national team, as he has not made the debut with the senior French squad.

The rest of the teams in this class will need players who are under the radar to have career seasons to catapult themselves to the top. Dijon is the team who has the best chance to improve as they jumped from 16th to 11th in the past two seasons since returning to Ligue 1. They finalized the purchase of Naim Sliti, and will look for Wesley Said to take the next step.

Class 4: Relegation dangers

Lille
Strasbourg
Caen
Nimes
Reims

Lille was once a top-level team in France, but they've suffered a drop in play in recent years. The focus is now on them to avoid relegatio after a large amount of managerial changes. A top-five finish this upcoming season is unlikely, but they will hope for a top-ten finish for the sanity of their fans.

World Cup Round of 16 Preview: England vs. Colombia
Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

Colombia vs. England

 

It’s a shame that both teams won’t have a chance at making the semi-finals but that’s the luck of the draw. Sometimes you will get some really even matchups in the Round of 16, and this time it’s between two countries who have something to prove.

England finished second in Group G and wasn’t really that bothered. It was tough sledding for around 60 minutes against Tunisia as a penalty led the African team back into the game. But England kept pelting the Tunisian goal with chances and eventually one went in. It just happened to take place in stoppage time, off a set piece, and scored by Harry Kane. They went on and crushed Panama in the next game and didn’t look back.

With six points, they had already clinched qualification to the next round before their final game against Belgium. Both teams benched a majority of their top name players as Gareth Southgate used this match to rest and play some of the guys who weren’t going to normally play in the World Cup to begin with. It was a game which England controlled for a majority of it. But it was the Belgians who got ahead thanks to a wonder goal by Adnan Januzaj, setting England up for a match with Group H winners Colombia. This will be the hardest team they have faced yet, and England will have to make sure they have a solid structure in defense, especially with the back three, as Colombia will threaten to pounce on any mistake.

Colombia won a chaotic Group H (which was my favorite group). Their campaign started off on a tough hill as an early red card against Japan in their first game saw them go down 1-0. Colombia got the equalizer before the first half ended but the second half provided a different story. Japan got a great chance on goal with a man advantage and converted, resulting in a shocking 2-1 win. In a must-win game, Colombia battered a dejected Poland squad 3-0 with stars James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao leading the way. Both were super instrumental in all of Colombia’s goals with James providing the assist of the tournament so far with a great outswinger towards Juan Cuadrado as he raced past the Polish backline. Colombia controlled its own destiny heading into the final game, and a header by Yerry Mina in the second half was enough to see them past a sneaky Senegal team. Just like that, even after the debacle in the first match, they were through.

Now Colombia moves onto face England and it will be a big test for them. Yes, Colombia has been here before but this English team is well drilled and dangerous. They might not look the most flashy but they get the job done. Colombia is more of the opposite. It’s more about the flair and the creative powers of their top two midfielders in James and Quintero. If neither of those guys can get it going, it will be tough sledding. The health of James is also key. He limped off after 30 minutes against Senegal and his status for the game is in question. In all honesty, this will be the difference in the game, if James can’t play you honestly can’t give Colombia a shot. Not like a team against England.

Prediction: All reports have made it seem like James will play. Colombia’s attack is dangerous and even though England’s is too, Colombia’s are way more dynamic and creative. I expect this to be a shootout and one of the better games in the tournament. Dele Alli will be the key for England. If he can be a big presence in the midfield and slow down James, England will have an easier time controlling the game. When the pace of the game is slow, it fits England. If they start running around all over the place, the edge goes to Colombia

This is going to be a wild game.

3-2 Colombia