Ligue 1 Preview: Match Day 8

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Seven days after their famous home victory over Real Madrid, it all went wrong for Paris Saint-Germain as they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Reims on Wednesday.

Thomas Tuchel’s side currently top the league, albeit only on goal difference from surprise package Angers, but they are under increased pressure ahead of their Champions League trip to Galatasaray next week.

Heading into the weekend, though, PSG are not the only big name struggling, with Lyon in the lower half of the standings and both Monaco and Saint-Etienne occupying spots that could see them relegated come the end of the season.

The season may only be seven games old, but the pressure is already mounting.

Ligue 1 Match of the Weekend: Bordeaux vs Paris Saint-Germain

Saturday afternoon’s encounter between Bordeaux and Paris Saint-Germain promises to be the pick of the weekend’s ties. 

Paulo Sousa may have had the worst start in the dugout in Bordeaux’s history, but the Portuguese has his side on something of a roll currently, with Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Amiens a sixth match undefeated in succession.

Additionally, he has positive selection headaches to consider ahead of PSG’s visit. Yacine Adli, a product of the Parisians’ youth academy, was highly impressive in midweek and surely cannot be overlooked for a starting berth, but that would likely be at the expense of Hwang Ui-Jo, who has played well since joining the club in the summer.

The visitors, meanwhile, will hope to have Kylian Mbappe back in the fold for the trip out west, though the superstar may not be ready to start. Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi are unlikely to be fit, while a midweek injury to Eric Choupo-Moting threatens to leave Tuchel shorn of centre forwards.

Even if the Champions League is PSG’s top priority, they will want to travel to Istanbul with some momentum, and this match is set to seriously stretch them.

Rest of the weekend:

Earlier in the day, Lyon host Nantes, with Sylvinho under pressure, while in the evening Monaco are expected to record a second victory in succession when they host Brest, the side that held OL 2-2 in midweek.

The pick of the evening matches is Lille’s trip to Nice, a match in which they will have to carefully manage their resources ahead of a Wednesday meeting with Chelsea.

On Sunday, meanwhile, Montpellier visit Strasbourg off the back of a derby win over Nimes, who play host to a Saint-Etienne side in a wretched state and apparently trying to lure coach Jean-Louis Gasset back to the club. 

Finally, Marseille, who will be without both Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin, host a Rennes side winless in their last five but capable of excellence.

Ligue 1 Player to Watch: Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco)

The Russian was hailed as Monaco’s marquee signing last summer, when they beat competition from Real Madrid to secure his services. His first season in Ligue 1, though, was a massive disappointment, hindered by injury, adaption problems and the poor form of those around him.

On Tuesday, though, he gave a performance that hinted that he has turned a corner. Scoring twice in the derby against Nice and laying on another, he produced easily his best outing in Monaco colours, showing the type of technical quality that was expected of him 12 months earlier.

With Islam Slimani and Wissam Ben Yedder’s arrival having apparently sparked the team into action, Golovin finally has upbeat and confident strikers to work with. 

Newly promoted Brest have lost only once this season, but Monaco have oodles of quality going forward, which should play into the hands of the 23-year-old.

If he cannot get on a run now at Stade Louis II, he never will.

 

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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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