Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 4

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The very top of the early Ligue 1 table has an unfamiliar look to it, with Rennes standing proudly at boasting the only perfect record left in France’s top flight, one of just two undefeated teams after only three matches.

Beyond them, Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain are lurking, with Lille, the other member of Ligue 1’s podium finishers, having installed themselves in fourth. That other undefeated side? Newly promoted Brest, who have won once and drawn twice.

There is little doubt that things are still settling down, with the transfer window due to close on September 2 and a flurry of activity likely to take place before then, particularly in Nice, who were subject to a big takeover from British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe that was only concluded at the start of the week.

Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Lyon vs Bordeaux

Perhaps the standout game of the Ligue 1 weekend will be played at the Groupama Stadium, where Lyon host Bordeaux in Saturday’s early kick-off. 

Having started the season in such a promising manner, OL were exceptionally disappointing as they lost 1-0 to Montpellier in midweek, showing little of the attacking flair they had mustered in scoring nine goals in their opening two matches.

Indeed, it was a performance that harked back to the inconsistent days of Bruno Genesio, the type of which they had hoped to do away with by appointing Sylvinho in the summer.

Led by the mercurial Memphis Depay in a creative capacity, they may have to accept that such erratic performances are inevitable.

What makes this match-up so intriguing is that Bordeaux are showing some signs of recovery. Having started the season dreadfully, going down easily to Angers before slumping to a 1-0 half-time deficit against Montpellier, that have improved. Having salvaged a point from that Montpellier clash, they deservedly won 2-0 against pointless Dijon last weekend.

These are two of France’s biggest clubs and much is expected of them in the forthcoming season; Saturday’s game will give fans a clue of just how capable they are.

Rest of the weekend:

Elsewhere, the weekend begins with Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to Metz, with the capital club minus star forwards Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar.

Dijon will attempt to secure their first points of the season on Saturday when they travel to and Angers side that has looked in sharp form at home, while there are four matches reserved for Sunday, beginning with Lille’s trip to Reims.

League leaders Rennes then host Nice at the same time as Monaco go to Strasbourg, chasing their first win of the season and the first match they finish with 11 men.

The showpiece game on Sunday night is Marseille’s tussle with Saint-Etienne – two sides who have not started the season particularly well.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting vs Metz (£0.64)

Paris Saint-Germain might have a wealth of riches at their disposal, but they have surprisingly failed to land a back-up centre forward superior to Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting so far this summer.

True, the Cameroon international came off the bench to save their skin with a couple of very well taken goals against Toulouse last weekend when they were struggling to break their defensive opponents down, but can he be relied upon to produce such quality on a week-by-week basis? It’s doubtful.

It is, therefore, time for Angel Di Maria to step forward and play a major role. The Argentine was influential during last weekend’s 4-0 success, grabbing an assist for Marquinhos and delivering a string of wicked set pieces. His only blemish was a missed penalty.

In a match that PSG are expected to dominate, he will pull the strings and on a single matchday surely stands a good chance of returning dividends. 

 

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About Author

A football journalist specialising in the French and Scottish game, Robin has been writing professionally for over a decade. His career highlights include attending World Cups in Brazil and Russia, and Euro 2016 in France.

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