* Soccer prospects rankings by leagues *
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12-26-2008, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Mid-season Ligue 1 Top 25.
1- Karim Benzema (1), Lyon, Striker, 87
Rating : 9.5B+, Ronaldo
Talent : A very rare combination of speed, dribbling, power and accuracy around the net, Benzema IS a superstar. Whenever he leaves Lyon and plays for Real, ManU or any other spotlight team, he’ll be a front runner for the Ballon D’Or.
Season : We haven’t found this season the Benzema of the first half of last season. Still he is very isolated in Lyon’s offense and he keeps on producing at an impressive clip, especially in the Champions’ League, where his ratio is amazing. Will he stay much longer in Lyon? I don’t think so.
2- Yoann Gourcuff (U), Bordeaux on loan from Milan, AM, 86
Rating : 9.5 B, Zidane
Talent : Wow, just wow. Gourcuff has really turned into a machine. He left Rennes as a very talented player, but has come back as a new Zidane, capable of doing the most amazing things with ease. He’s not shy anymore, at least on the pitch, and the tricks he only did in practice, he now does it in games and turns a game around thanks to a dribble or shot. He’s not overly quick, but his technique is sublime, his physical impact is not to be underrated, and he can fire any shot from any distance. He also is very important on set plays.
Season : he was IMO the best player in Ligue 1 since August and has taken the league (and the CL) by storm. He struggled more in the last month so maybe fatigue has played a role.
3- Hugo Lloris (2), Lyon, Goalie, 86
Rating : 9.5B, Buffon
Talent : Lloris has excellent qualities : very very good reflexes, he closes angles very fast and is always aware of everything that happens in the box. He can go out and catch any ball that is in the air. To score on him, shooting near the posts isn’t enough. He’s also extremely calm and poised. On pure talent he’s among the steadiest goalies that L1 ever produced (that includes guys like Barthez, Cech and others). He’s extremely consistant. His only *small* thing to work on is his foot game. It’s good, but rather ordinary.
Season : Lloris hasn’t been as confident looking as he was in Nice, but that’s to be expected. He only has allowed one weak goal on the season, in Bucarest, but he hasn’t made a lot of out-of-nowhere saves either, like he used to in Nice. Of course, the teams he plays for are different and he sees less balls, but probably off better chances.
4- Hatem Ben Arfa (3), Lyon, AM/LW, 87
Rating : 9.5C+, Maradona
Talent : Ben Arfa is most likely the most talented prospect in all of L1, and probably the most talented player in all of L1. He does things that nobody even thinks about doing in training. He has speed, dribbling like few others, a good shot. His weakness right now is both defensively, and mostly mentally (he lacks maturity). He often either tries to do to much and even though his game is based on individual difference, he has to find the right balance.
His trademark move is short dribbling with one or two touches, similar to his idol Maradona.
Season : a season of ups and downs so far for Hatem. He’s been brilliant at times (CL game against PSV at home or at Liverpool) and absolutely awful at others (Nancy at home). He needs to take the next step.
5- Eden Hazard (13), Lille, AM, 91, Belgium
Rating : 9.5C, Messi
Talent : Hazard is one of the world’s prime young talents. He has a great touch, great vision and great dribbling.
Season : He is seeing more and more opportunties and he is making the most of it. He has scored a couple of goals, and has looked dangerous all the time. Phenom on the way!
6- Miralem Pjanic (4), Lyon, AM/CM, 90, Luxemburg/Bosnia
Rating : 9 B+, J. Cole
Talent : An incredible touch on the ball, Pjanic is loaded with technical talent. Everything seems smooth and easy. He still lacks the goal scoring instinct, and should be more decisive around the net. But his transition game is amazing.
Season : Pjanic didn’t play much in the first part of the season, but then he got injured and is out several months. Too bad.
7- Mamadou Sakho (10), PSG, CB/LB, 90
Rating : 9B, Gallas
Talent : Sakho is a combination of a good footballer, physical freak and born leader. He has a good accurate left foot, has good long passes and is a good tackler. He still has some maturing to do as far as marking and offside trap but he has the makings of a dominant defenseman.
Season : Sakho was quickly seen as the starter in Paris and made the most of it. Except for one or two mistakes, he was dominant and probably PSG’s best defenseman. However, he was injured for a while and during that time, Traoré played very well and PSG overall played better defensively. Since then, Sakho is on the bench and some people are whispering that Newcastle is preparing a big offer for him.
8- Gabriel Obertan (7), Bordeaux, AM/ST/W, 89
Rating : 9C-, Henry/C. Ronaldo/Messi
Talent : Obertan is an incredible talent. The comparisons with pre-Arsenal Henry (the winger) are absolutely valid based on his speed and most of all dribbling ability. His weaknesses are obviously his lack of finishing and his defensive work.
Season : Obertan hasn’t played very well to far this season. He hasn’t had much playing time and when he has, he hasn’t had much of an impact. Rumors are that Blanc wants to loan him so that he gets playing time.
9- Yohan Cabaye (24), Lille, CM/DM, 86
Rating : 8.5B+, Fabregas
Talent : Cabaye is most likely a future NT player. He’s been great, a real force. He is a tireless worker, has prime passing ability and has a great shot. A true leader too.
Season : he has established himself as a key player in Lille and one of the best players in the league. I expect him soon to leave for another country and shine there. Arsenal are rumored to be interested.
10- Blaise Matuidi (14), St Etienne, DM, 87
Rating : 8.5B, Essien
Talent : Matuidi has developped nicely. He is a good DM with good participation in the offensive game, including a huge shot.
Season : He’s been the best DM outside Lyon in Ligue 1 this season, and we all know that’s the deepest position in L1 football. He’s been named captain and has even played LB to help at some point.
11- Henri Saivet (U), Bordeaux, LW/RW, 90
Rating : 9C+, Robben
Talent : Saivet is an extremely fast winger with impressive dribbling skills. He has a good knack for scoring too and is the leader of the golden 90 generation.
Season : Saivet played in a game late last season which is why he features in this top 25, but he hasn’t had playing time this year.
12- Gervinho (19), Le Mans, AM, 87, Côte d’Ivoire
Rating : 9C, A. Keita
Talent : Gervinho is a guy that could dribble your whole team including the goalie and then put the ball over the goal. Yes, he’s that good and that bad in front of the net. Once he is better in the last play, he’ll be a force.
Season : He started VERY strong and tamed off a bit as the season went on. Still he was one of the best players in the league.
13- Rémy Riou (8), Auxerre, Goalie, 87
Rating : 8.5B+, Coupet
Talent : Riou is just a perfect goalie with exceptionnal reflexes and a fearless attitude. He’s very relaxed, and inspires confidence in his teammates.
Season : He is simply one of the steadiest goalies in L1. He rarely gives up a bad goal and makes tough saves look like routine.
14- Yoann Gouffran (9), Bordeaux, AM/ST, 96
Rating : 8.5B, Wiltord
Talent : Gouffran is exactly like a young Wiltord : he can play any attacking spot (striker, left winger, right wing, AM), has a huge shot, lots of speed and the will to succeed step by step. He is very intelligent, has progressed every year, and his ability to play with both feet very well, and his quality on header make him a very very attractive commodity.
Season : Bland insists on playing him as RW. He’s been adequate there but has had trouble settling in. You can see Blanc likes him though because he gives him ample playing time. I still think that Blanc should play him as striker when you see guys like Bellion get playing time there. Maybe it has to do with the lack of impact RWs Blanc has on his roster.
15- Kévin Monnet-Paquet (12), Lens, LW/ST, 88
Rating : 9C+, Henry/Ribéry
Talent : KMP is a guy I have a soft spot on. Not only is he a great dribbler, but he has that great shot reminiscent of JP Papin.
Season : He’s 4th in L2 in scoring and has established himself as a key player for Lens even though he’s only 20.
16- Kévin Gameiro (34), Lorient, Striker, 87
Rating : 8.5B, Owen
Talent : Gameiro is a speedy striker that has a good nose for the goal and that can create his own opportunities.
Season : Many people thought Lorient made a potential great move by signing this small striker over some big teams that chose to ignore him. Well that move sure paid off. He has scored well (including several key goals), made many assists and has provided offense to a team that lacked one.
17- Kévin Mirallas (16), St Etienne, Striker, 87, Belgium
Rating : 8.5B, Papin
Talent : Mirallas is a good striker who has a great shot. He really has a nose for the goal and has a similar style to Papin.
Season : He didn’t have much of an opportunity to show his stuff in St Etienne but made a few key plays. He still must make better choices.
18- Loic Rémy (11), Nice, RW/ST, 87
Rating : 8.5B, Henry
Talent : Rémy is a powerful winger, fast and who has a powerful shot. He’s a load to defend. He has a lot of enthousiasm when he plays. He also uses both feet with ease.
Season : Outside his injury, Rémy started strong and has already 6 goals to show for it.
19- Sofiane Feghouli (U), Grenoble, AM, 89
Rating : 9C-, Deco
Talent : Feghouli likes to play one touch football and accelerate the game. He has a big shot and good passing ability.
Season : he started strong but he has disappointed since, that’s undeniable. He gets ample playing time but has been the target of opposing defenses.
20- Mevlut Erding (21), Sochaux, Striker, 87, Turkey
Rating : 8B, Owen
Talent : Erding is a very quick agile striker who has a nifty touch in front of the goal. He isn’t a great technical or physical player, but he has a nose for the goal.
Season : Erding has continued to be a nice poacher for Sochaux.
21- Ederson (15), Lyon, AM/CM, 86, Brazil
Rating : 8.5C, Juninho
Talent : Ederson combines a fine touch, nice passing and a great shot. I still think he is overrated (especially since he cost Lyon 15M)
Season : So far the season has proven me right, he’s overrated and I don’t think people that deemed him as Juni’s successor have chosen the right guy.
22- David Ospina (U), Nice, GK, 88, Columbia
Rating : 8.5B, Casillas
Talent : Ospina is a strong goalie with great reflexes. He needs to work on his aerial outings.
Season : He has been exceptionnal when asked to play and is already deemed as starter for the rest of the season.
23- Issiar Dia (26), Nancy, Winger/Striker, 87
Rating : 8.5C-, Wright-Phillips
Talent : Dia is a pinball, highly hyped but IMO way over-hyped. Sure he has amazing speed, but his skills aren’t that impressive and most of all, he just isn’t decisive. Few goals, few assists. Frankly, I expect much more from him.
Season : Dia has finally scored more than 1 goal. He has 3 this season and time on the bench has probably taught him humility. I remain skeptical until he has played decent football a whole season.
24- Stéphane M’bia (32), Rennes, DM/CB/RB, 86, Cameroon
Rating : 8B+, Desailly
Talent : Mbia is a physical beast and is hard to move. He is useful on offensive set plays too. Finally he’s very versatile and can play many positions.
Season : He is a key player for Rennes and has locked the midifeld. When you play against him, you always end up with knocks all over the legs.
25- Yohan Benalouane (46), St Etienne, CB, 87
Rating : 8.5 C, Gallas
Talent : Benalouane is the defenseman of the future in St Etienne. Strong on his man, physical presence. However, a lot of mental mistakes as of now.
Season : He has played much better as the season went on and I like what I see from him.
Last edited by Evilo: 12-26-2008 at
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