Friday , October 11 2019

LIGUE 1 PREVIEW: PSG face unlikely top-of-the table clash

Ligue 1 is back with a full fixture list this weekend, beginning on Friday night when Amiens host Marseille.

Among the pick of the games is the unlikely top of the table clash at the Parc des Princes, where Paris Saint-Germain welcome this season’s surprise package Angers. while one sacked boss could become two when Lyon face Saint-Etienne. 

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at each fixture over the coming days…  

Amiens v Marseille 

Friday, 7.45pm — BT Sport Extra 3

Supporters at the Stade Velodrome are beginning to warm to Andre Villas-Boas, but the Portuguese lost his cool with supporters last week over their treatment of Jordan Amavi. 

The former Tottenham and Chelsea manager fumed with sections of Marseille fans who booed the midfielder during the 1-1 draw at home with Rennes. 

Amavi ended up being hooked at half-time as the hosts drew for the third consecutive game. Two of those have coincided with the absence of Dmitir Payet – who was handed a four-game ban following his sending off against Montpellier.

His absence has been keenly felt, with the team struggling to create opportunities without him.  

Villas-Boas will be hoping the former West Ham man won’t be missed when they take on Amiens on Friday night – a side that only Monaco have conceded more than so far in Ligue 1 this season. 

Jordan Amavi was booed by his own fans during the first half of Marseille’s draw with Rennes

Paris Saint-Germain v Angers

Saturday, 4.30pm 

One of the most unlikely top-of-the-table clashes in Europe this weekend takes place at the Parc des Princes on Saturday afternoon. 

Angers, despite losing all their top performers yet again this summer, have defied all expectations, with Stephane Moulin’s side riding high in second place.

They have taken some hits along the way – with Lyon smashing them for six in the second week of the season – but they do know their way to goal. No side has scored more in the French top flight this season than thier 16 efforts. 

They’ll be hoping to keep it tight against a Paris Saint-Germain side that picked up their third 1-0 victory in four matches during their Champions League win in Turkey midweek. 

For once, they didn’t have to rely on Neymar, as Mauro Icardi got off the mark. He’ll be targeting his first domestic goal at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.  

Mauro Icardi opened his account for Paris Saint-Germain midweek in the Champions League

Mauro Icardi opened his account for Paris Saint-Germain midweek in the Champions League

Dijon v Strasbourg

Saturday, 7pm 

Are things finally looking up for Ligue 1’s bottom club? Dijon have failed to cut the mustard so far this term, losing each of their first four matches.

But an upturn in fortunes culminated in their first victory of the season last weekend when they won at Reims. 

They can move off the foot of the table on Saturday evening with a win against a Strasbourg side who themselves have found a bit of form.

With two wins in their last three, Ludovic Ajorque scored in both successes and will be eager to add to his tally. 

Ludovic Ajorque has rediscovered his goalscoring touch for Strasbourg, with two in three

Ludovic Ajorque has rediscovered his goalscoring touch for Strasbourg, with two in three

Nantes v Nice

Saturday, 7pm 

Nice will be relieved that focus is now back to matters on the pitch after a disruptive week off it.

Teenager Lamine Diaby-Fadiga was sacked by the club after admitting to stealing striker Kasper Dolberg’s watch from the training groun changing rooms, admitting that he was driven by ‘jealousy’ over the Dane’s success. 

Patrick Vieira’s men will be looking to get back on track, with the incident affecting the club’s performances – winning just once in their last four outings.

They face a stern test at Nantes, who picked up a remarkable 1-0 win over Lyon away from home last weekend, largely thanks to the incredible performance of Alban Lafont.

The on-loan keeper made seven stops in a superb individual display. He’ll need to be on similar form to keep out Dolberg and Co. 

Kasper Dolberg will be looking to add to his two goals so far during his first season at Nice

Kasper Dolberg will be looking to add to his two goals so far during his first season at Nice

Toulouse v Bordeaux

Saturday, 7pm 

Nice were not the only side courting controversy off the pitch in Ligue 1 this week.

Bordeaux were forced to sack three youth players after a brawl at the club’s training centre left another youngster in hospital. 

Paulo Sousa’s side lost for the first time since the opening day of the season last time out against Paris Saint-Germain, bringing their unbeaten run of six games to a hault.

Toulouse provide an immediate opportunity to respond in a positive manner. Alain Casanova’s side have failed to win any of their last four, and even contrived to draw with a dire Saint-Etienne side last month. Their 2-2 stalemate with Metz last time out was little better.  

Montpellier v Monaco

Saturday, 7pm – BT Sport Extra 3

One thing is for certain on the Mediterrenean coast on Saturday night – we will see goals. 

No club has seen more scored in their opening eight fixtures in Ligue 1 this season than Leanardo Jardim’s Monaco, with 30 already having hit the back of the net.

More pressingly for Jardim, the majority have been going in at the right end of late, with back-to-back victories lifting the prinicpality outfit out of danger.

Wissam Ben-Yedder has hit the ground running since his move from Sevilla this summer, grabbing five goals in six appearances.

He’ll be looking to toast his call-up to the France squad with another, against a Montpellier side who have conceded just six times all season.  

Wissam Ben Yedder has enjoyed a strong start to life at Monaco, with five goals in six matches

Wissam Ben Yedder has enjoyed a strong start to life at Monaco, with five goals in six matches 

Brest v Metz 

Saturday, 7pm 

Saturday evening’s clash at the Stade Francis-Le Ble has all the trimmings of an early-season relegations six-pointer.

The two sides who earned promotion from Ligue 2 last term are exactly where you would expect to find them at this point in the season, hovering above the drop zone in 17th and 18th.

Metz have enjoyed the better form of late, following up their 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne with a 2-2 draw at home to Toulouse.

Habib Diallo has been something of a revelation in the early part of the season, and his six goals in eight games have gone a long way to keeping his side afloat.

Brest, meanwhile, have been unable to transform impressive performances into victories, drawing three games in a row before being heavily beaten by Monaco.   

Habib Diallo has been a revelation in Ligue 1, grabbing six goals for newly-promoted Metz

Habib Diallo has been a revelation in Ligue 1, grabbing six goals for newly-promoted Metz

Lille v Nimes

Sunday, 2pm – BT Sport ESPN 

Lille produced an impressive display against Chelsea in the Champions League but came away with nothing to show for it. 

Victor Osimhen shone once more as he grabbed his side’s only goal in their 2-1 defeat at home, which leaves them rooted to the bottom of Group H. 

It was the Nigerian’s seventh strike of the season in all competitions, and he has now been involved in nine goals in just 10 appearances for Les Dogues. 

The former Charleroi striker will have to be at his best to get the better of a Nimes defence that has conceded just twice in their last five games, keeping three cleansheets in the process. 

Victor Osimhen was on target yet again for Lille midweek, but they suffered defeat in Europe

Victor Osimhen was on target yet again for Lille midweek, but they suffered defeat in Europe

Rennes v Reims

Sunday, 4pm – BT Sport ESPN

Rennes have really stuttered since their flying start to the season – but that may be expected when you pin your hopes on a 16-year-old. 

Eduardo Camavinga was the Ligue 1 young player of the month for August as Rennes stormed to three victories in their first three matches, but it has not gone to plan since then.

Five matches have brought three draws and two defeats, and it’s seven without a win when you include their troubles in Europe.

Julien Stephan has also seen his side fail to score more than once in any of those seven matches, and they may struggle to break that run here.

Reims followed up their sublime win against PSG with a ridiculous defeat at home to basement dwellers Dijon, but they still boast the joint best defence in the league, wiht just four goals conceded all season.  

Saint-Etienne v Lyon 

Sunday, 8pm – BT Sport 2

As is usually the case, Ligue 1 is saving the best until last this weekend. 

Saint-Etienne and Lyon have both endured torrid starts to the season, and it looked as though at least one of Sylvinho or Ghislain Pritant would meet their fate following a poor result here – that was until Saint-Etienne jumped the gun.  

Les Verts announced on Friday afternoon that Printant had been suspended from his duties, with Claude Puel expected to take his place in time for Sunday. 

That still leaves the former Arsenal defender in peril, though. 

Lyon roared out of the blocks under Sylvinho but are winless in seven league games after winning their first two by an aggregate of 9-0. 

That has left president Jean-Michel Aulas toying with the idea of doing something he has never done before and sacking a manager in his first season at the club. 

Wednesday’s 2-0 win away at Leipzig in the Champions League brought relief and bought the Brazilian time, but defeat in ‘Le Derby’ could still prove the fatal blow to his first mangerial role.  

The pressure on Lyon manager Sylvinho was relieved somewhat by their victory in Europe

The pressure on Lyon manager Sylvinho was relieved somewhat by their victory in Europe