While many see Transfer Deadline Day like a kind of footballing Christmas, a day to savour in front of the television as deals break left, right and centre, for many Ligue 1 club, it can’t come soon enough for a very different reason.
By the time October 5 rolls around, France’s clubs will have played six league matches, with many having players who are uncertain of their futures.
Lyon, particularly, have lamented the awkward positioning of the closure and have declared that the likes of Houssem Aouar, Memphis Depay and Jeff Reine-Adelaide will all be going nowhere if deals aren’t done by Friday.
This weekend more than ever, the window is an unwelcome distraction but, at least, it is the last of the damage-limitation period.
Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Lyon vs Marseille
It was little over a month ago that Lyon were impressing in Lisbon as they made their way to the semi-final of the Champions League off the back of a win over Manchester City. Reality has sunk in since then and they now lie 11th in Ligue 1 with just a single victory to their name.
Rudi Garcia’s side may have a wealth of attacking players in their arsenal, but the coach has been hapless when it has come to fitting them into an effective system to break deep-lying defences down – an issue they never had when they were underdogs in Europe.
Anything but a victory on Sunday in the ‘Olympico’ will see the Rhone giants enter a full-on crisis.
Marseille, meanwhile, have been only marginally better so far this season. Recent draws against Lille and Metz at home were exceptionally flattering and Andre Villas-Boas needs more from his players at Parc OL.
Rest of the Weekend
The weekend opens with PSG playing host to Angers as they attempt to extend their winning streak to four matches. The news that Neymar has not been the subject of an additional ban is a big boost to the Parisians, who will be without the suspended Angel Di Maria against a potentially tricky opponent.
Surprise package Lens will attempt to maintain their good start to the season on Saturday against Saint-Etienne, aided by the news that Ligue 1 top scorer Igantius Ganago is fit. Later that same day, Nice host Nantes searching for a win after only one point in their last three.
Sunday’s early kick-off is the derby match between Montpellier and Nimes, which will have some of the fire taken from it as it will be played behind closed doors due to the health situation in the region.
Brest and Monaco promises to be an exciting and open encounter in the Sunday afternoon multiplex, which also sees second-placed Lille going to out-of-form Strasbourg. Metz host Lorient and Bordeaux are aiming to break a run of three 0-0 draws at home against Dijon.
Top-of-the-table Rennes host Reims in the early evening fixture before the Olympico takes centre stage at night.
Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Gael Kakuta – Lens – £0.57
Lens’ excellent start to the season owes much to two players: Ignatius Ganago and Gael Kakuta. It is the former Chelsea youth, however, who is their mastermind. Still only 29, he remains a silky operator and already has three goals and an assist to his credit for his new club this season.
Les Sang et Or are absolutely flying currently, and though they are behind Saint-Etienne in the league standings are outperforming them comfortably, so will feel confident about chalking up another victory.
Kakuta and Ganago are likely to be central to their efforts on an afternoon the side from the north east of France could go top of the league.