The French Ligue 1 season finished out the year a few days before Christmas ending at Week 19, which means that half of the season has been completed already. 

The four Yanks who call France their football home this season have yet to really establish themselves with their respective teams but hey, there is still the second half of the season to come.

As expected, especially after losing the league title to low-budget OSC Lille last season, PSG are running away from the pack. They’ll start the New Year with a 13-point lead over both OGC Nice and Olympique Marseille. The Eaglets hold onto the second spot by a goal difference of one. 

Konrad de la Fuente and Marseille have had a pretty decent first half, with a total of 33 points. They’ll need to move up one place before the end of the campaign however if they hope to claim that second Champions League spot. As for claiming the league title well, perhaps they should forget about that. 

The American winger, having just signed in the summer from Barcelona, is still finding his feet with Olympique. He has played 15 of the 19 games, starting nine, but has yet to find the back of the net for Olympique. The Floridian has also made four appearances in the Europa League but with the team finishing third, he’ll get to try his luck in the Conference League in mid-February, when they face Qarabag from Azerbaijan. 

Two places below the team on the Mediterranean Sea is Montpellier Hérault Sport Club. La Paillade signed Gold Cup winner, Nicholas Gioacchini on loan in the summer from Ligue 2 side, Caen this past June and the American striker has started twice with 13 more appearances off the bench. Although not a prolific goal-getter with his parent club, he has yet to open his account down in the south of France. 

It’s hard to say what will happen with the Gold Cup winner at the end of the season. As things are now, even after their two best strikers were sold in the summer, Gioacchini is still considered to be the club’s fourth striker. The others are also quite young, so if he stays he could fight for a starting spot.

Down in the eighth spot but only three points off of that last European spot are the defending champions, OSC Lille. The Dogues won the league against all the odds last season but head coach, Christophe Galtier decided to celebrate by signing on as the head coach of OGC Nice. Tim Weah was a part of that team, picking up his second French title. 

The New York City born son of the Liberian President has had a tough season so far, mainly due to injuries but not only. He has started just eight times and came off the bench six more. The main problem for a player who is supposed to score goals is that Weah has yet to do that this season. 

photo: MadeinFOOT

With front man Jonathan David rumored to be moving next month, with Arsenal being one of the teams interested, the American would most likely be called upon more but that’s not where the rumors stop. Sevilla are also looking for a striker and Weah is on their radar, so he too may be moving on. We’ll know soon enough.    

Way down in 15th place is where we find Erik Palmer-Brown and Troyes.  Palmer-Brown is one of those Premier League journeymen, with this being his fourth loan away from Manchester City since he signed for them in 2018. The defender from Ohio has obviously not shown enough in training to prove to the coach that he deserves to get onto the field. At this winter break, Palmer-Brown has made two appearances with one coming off the bench and has only registered 90 minutes on the field.  His last appearance was early October.

It’s fair to say that Manchester City should get their journeyman out of this situation and find him another team where he will be able to actually play some soccer. Leaving him there for the rest of the season would be a sign that Citeh has given up on the 24 year-old. 

Ligue 1 gets back underway on January 7th when Marseille travels to Bordeaux on the Friday night. 

By Michael Adubato

The old man of Yanks-Abroad, having been around since the very beginning in 2004, Known as the resident Belgian expert since that’s where he has lived for a couple of decades. Over the years he has interviewed Nats such as Kasey Keller, Brian McBride, Oguchi Onyewu, Jozy Altidore and Tim Weah, to name a few. When not working the day job, he can often be found in stadiums around Europe, watching games from the top flight to the lower leagues. To prove that he is not just a pretty face, Mike received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Maryland and a Masters from the University of Oklahoma. Boomer Sooner! On a non-soccer note, Adubato has just released a book of poetry from his travels, Missing the Exit, published by Broken Keys Publishing in Ottawa, Canada. So that must make him the YA poet laureate! You can grab your copy on Amazon.com, order online and pick it up and Barnes & Noble or get an e-copy at various outlets.

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