Ligue 1 players to watch this season

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It looks set to be another exciting season in Ligue 1 as France's elite division continues to grow, but who are the players to watch?

Lets's take a look...

1. Anthony Martial

Arsenal fans will painfully remember Martial from their shock 3-1 home defeat to Monaco last season. The youngster gave Gunners right-back Hector Bellerín a torrid evening as the French side outclassed the London giants on their own turf.


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It has been a summer of change for Monaco who have lost three of their key players; Geoffrey Kondogbia, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Dimitar Berbatov, however this could prove beneficial for Martial as he is now recognised as one of their key players heading into the new season.

Having been given the departing Berbatov's number nine shirt and a starting berth at centre forward in Monaco's opening day victory away at Nice, this season promises to be a big one for the 19-year-old striker. Watch out for a call-up to the national team if he hits some form with Monaco.

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2. Nabil Fekir

After enjoying a breakthrough campaign last season, which saw him crowned Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year, 22-year-old Fekir will be hoping to push on where he left off for club and country. He had a successful domestic campaign for Lyon, scoring 13 goals in all competitions and contributing nine assists and in March 2015 Fekir was rewarded for his impressive form by winning his first international cap for France.

A balanced and tricky attacking midfielder with a penchant for a spectacular free-kick, the diminutive Fekir is certainly destined for a great season and Lyon will be hoping that alongside Alexandre Lacazette, they will challenge Paris Saint-Germain all the way for the French title.

3. Florentin Pogba

It can't be easy watching younger brother Paul develop into one of the world's most talented footballers, but gradually Florentin Pogba is establishing himself as a very accomplished defender at Saint-Etienne. Tall, well-built and quick across the ground, the 24-year-old has all the attributes of a top quality centre back.

The Guinea international hasn't enjoyed an easy career thus far after a youth career in Spain with Celta Vigo and a loan spell to Sedan, the third-tier French side. However, alongside Loic Perrin, one of the league's best centre halves, Florentin Pogba will look to continue his good form from last season, which also saw him feature at left back, and ensure that the name Pogba isn't just associated with his younger brother.

4. Lucas Moura

There is no doubting Lucas Moura's talent. During his time in Paris he has shown glimpses of the £44 million pound player that PSG bought from São Paulo as 20-year-old. He is a fearsome dribbler with bags of pace and match-winning ability yet his performances have been too inconsistent to nail down a starting place in Les Parisiens' star-studded line-up.

Lucas' season started brightly last term with a handful of goals and assists in Ligue 1, however, a muscular injury in February halted his progress and ultimately denied him a place at the Copa America. The Brazilian winger will be aiming to put his Seleção disappointment aside and reignite his incredibly promising career at PSG. He has been rewarded with a new long-term contract going into the new season and the French champions will hope that with Lucas and Angel Di María on the wings, they will be able to translate their domestic success onto the European stage. 

5. Abou Diaby

Arsenal fans will be taking a keen interest in developments across the Channel as their former injury-stricken midfielder Abou Diaby strives to revitalise his career with Marseille. Once dubbed the new-Vieira, during his time in London Diaby showed immense promise, notably in a Man of the Match performance at Anfield in the 12/13 season. Only five months after joining Arsenal he had his ankle broken in a fixture against Sunderland. Since then he seems to have been been perennially injured and was sadly never able to build momentum in his career at Arsenal.

Marseille have given him a new chance, and possibly his last crack at the top level. If fit, and that's a huge if, Diaby is one of the most capable and complete midfielders in the game. According to Marseille doctors they have been "agreeably surprised" by Diaby's dedication as he spends "practically six hours per day" working on his fitness. It will now be as much of a psychological hurdle as it will be a physical one for the midfield general to see whether he can finally make his mark. One thing's for sure, time is running out for the 29-year-old.

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Ligue 1
Vassiriki Abou Diaby

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