Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 7

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Neymar stole the headlines again on Sunday as he fired Paris Saint-Germain to the top of Ligue 1 with a dramatic late winner against Lyon in what had been a tight match.

PSG continue to lead the division by three points, ahead of both Angers and Nice, while Saint-Etienne and Monaco, two traditional heavyweights, struggle at the wrong end of the table with their coaches under pressure.

The games continue to come thick and fast at an intense point of the season, with Matchday 7 coming in what is the first ‘English week’ of the campaign.

Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Monaco vs Nice

The south coast derby promises to be a pivotal fixture for both teams this season, with both having the ambition to win it for very different reasons.

Monaco find themselves second from bottom of the standings with three points, while Nice are at the opposite end of the standings, bristling with confidence in third.

Leonardo Jardim’s star-studded side continue to underperform badly but finally showed some backbone at the weekend as they drew 0-0 away at Reims, despite a terribly depleted attacking force.

It is uncertain if Wissam Ben Yedder and Islam Slimani will have overcome their minor problems to feature against their near neighbours, while Keita Balde also picked up a weekend knock and is a doubt.

Nice, meanwhile, have their own injury problems to fret over, with issues for Dante and Christophe Herelle greatly depleting their defensive strength. With a glut of new additions, including Kasper Dolberg, who got his first goal for the club in midweek, they are a much-improved attacking force, however.

With rumours of Claude Puel poised to return to Monaco, this is a match the home side cannot afford to lose.

Rest of the weekend

Elsewhere, bottom side Dijon kick off the action early on Tuesday with a home fixture against Marseille, while on Wednesday, Lyon will attempt to end their five-match winless run when they travel to Brest, a side surprisingly tough to beat in the early weeks.

Elsewhere in the northeast, there is a derby between Nantes and Rennes, while Montpellier and Nimes is the other local rivalry that will stir in midweek.

Last season’s runners-up Lille will attempt to maintain their perfect home record against Strasbourg, while second-place Angers seek their first away point of the season in Toulouse.

PSG and Reims conclude the action with a late kick-off, with the Champagne outfit seeking to replicate the shock 3-1 victory they had over the capital club on the closing day of last season.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Wylan Cyprien (£1.55)

Wylan Cyprien’s career might have stalled because of a serious injury he sustained in the second half of the 2016-17 season, but the 24-year-old is starting to realise his incredible potential having been given a pivotal role in Patrick Vieira’s Nice side.

A very capable long-range shooter, he is also Nice’s primary set-piece taker and in just six games at the start of the season has three goals and two assists to his credit.

Against a Monaco defence that has conceded more than any other team in Ligue 1 so far this season (14), there is a strong chance of the midfielder racking up some in-play and matchday dividends, while there is also the long-term probability of him being linked with a move away from the Allianz Riviera to one of Europe’s biggest clubs for those with an eye on the longer term.

He is worth £1.55 and has been climbing steadily since the start of the season – a reflection of his very impressive form.

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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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