Ligue 1 has opened up in a fascinating manner this season, with Paris Saint-Germain’s early struggles opening the door for their closest rivals to establish a healthy advantage over them and perhaps lay the foundation for a sustained title challenge.
Thomas Tuchel’s side have lost their opening two matches of the campaign and the German’s job seemed under genuine threat as he watched his side struggle to breakdown Metz at home on Wednesday.
Ironically, it was when his side looked least likely to get the win – when they were reduced to nine men at the end of the match due to Abdou Diallo’s red card and Juan Bernat’s injury – that they grabbed the winner.
With Monaco, Rennes and Marseille all having made strong starts, the pressure is already on the Parisians.
Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Rennes vs Monaco
Saturday night’s showcase fixture will pit Rennes against Monaco at Roazhon Park and will offer an interesting challenge to both sides, who have started the season undefeated and locked on seven points at the summit of the standings.
For Rennes, a good start to the league was essential given they will want to make a positive impression in their first Champions League campaign later this autumn, and head coach Julien Stephan will have been particularly delighted to see his new signings hit the ground running as a result.
Monaco, meanwhile, have started solidly under new head coach Niko Kovac. Although they would not have expected too many problems in their first three matches of the season, playing an attacking opponent offers a challenge they have yet to face, with their rearguard looking improved upon last season.
Ligue 1 Matchday 4
Lyon kick off the action this weekend on Friday when they host a Nimes side that has looked dangerous. OL are expected to bounce back after losing to Montpellier in midweek.
Saturday’s early match sees in-form Lens host Bordeaux, with the home side hoping to have Seko Fofana available for the first time since he arrived from Udinese in the summer.
Early on Sunday, Patrick Vieira’s Nice will play PSG at the Allianz Riviera in what has the making of a fascinating match. The home side may have six points this season but have not been convincing, while their opponents will be severely stretched by a combination of injury and suspension.
The pick of the multiplex matches is the Breton derby between Brest and Lorient, while Montpellier will be confident of continuing their good form against Angers. Metz will tackle Reims while bottom two Strasbourg and Dijon are both seeking their first point of the season in Alsace.
Nantes and Saint-Etienne play in the dinnertime match, while a weekend of intriguing encounters concludes with Marseille playing host to Lille.
Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Teji Savanier – Montpellier – £1.89
Montpellier have bounced back from an opening loss against Rennes to overcome Nice and Lyon, and in both those fixtures playmaker Teji Savanier was the man pulling the strings.
The former Nimes ace scored twice in the 2-1 midweek win over Lyon, including a deft Panenka penalty that helped to underline the confidence he is currently playing with.
“He’s at international level,” club-mate Gaetan Laborde, who often profits from Savanier’s excellent dead-ball delivery, told the media after that clash. “He’s got qualities and I still think he’s got things to demonstrate. He’s an exceptional player and we’re really lucky to have him.”
With the eyes of France boss Didier Deschamps now trained on him, Sunday’s clash with Angers represents another opportunity to demonstrate his qualities.