Monaco – Toulouse
The 2017/2018 Ligue 1 campaign commenced with an entertaining fixture of Monaco vs Toulouse, where both sides enjoyed dominating minutes of the match. Toulouse went ahead in the match just 6 minutes in, after a beautifully executed corner kick routine. Andy Delort laid off the ball with his chest for Zidenine Machach to beat Danijel Subasic with an amazing volley. Delort was by far the best player for the visitors, as his game contained both pivotal actions and aerial duel domination. He would also contribute to the score with a low-driven shot from outside the box. Alban Lafont was certainly one of the best performers for Toulouse, looking more confident and more athletic than last season. The young prodigy will seek to go into his third season as a starter, an unthinkable accomplishment for an 18-year-old GK.
Monaco also enjoyed many flashes of last season’s attacking football. Jardim’s squad also took perfect use of dead balls. Moutinho assisted both Jemerson and Glik, while Colombian striker Falcao adding to the score. Mbappe Lottin wore shirt number 10, but unfortunately had a game with little intensity under his standards. With little space, he didn’t look as comfortable as he did when he started drifting wide. He was later subbed off due to a mild knock to the knee.
The final score was 3-2 in favour of the reigning champions, with Machach and Delort scoring for Toulouse, and Falcao, Glik and Jemerson scoring for Monaco.
PSG – Amiens
All eyes this weekend were at the French capital, as Paris Saint Germain recently announced the signing of Brazilian superstar Neymar, the most expensive signing of all time (222 million Euros). Due to working permits, Neymar was unable to take part in PSG’s Ligue 1 debut this season.
Although not completely comfortable throughout the whole match, PSG were never seriously tested by Amiens. Dani Alves made his French league debut, and did so in ‘Dani Alves fashion.’ He accounted for a sensational assist, as his cross to Cavani helped the Uruguayan find the back of the net for his first goal of the campaign. Rabiot had a very complete outing, as he both dominated the midfield and created numerous scoring chances for his team. Pastore would double the score late in the match, as Emery’s side took a tranquil 2-0 win at the Parc des Princes.
Lyon – Strasbourg
Nothing but good news for Lyon fans, as their attack looked as dynamic as it has in years (even without Lacazette). Their renovated attack included Bertrand Traore as a right midfielder, Nabil Fekir as a central attacking midfielder, Memphis Depay acted as a left midfielder, while Mariano did the duties as a striker. It was very promising to see all 4 having such mobility near the final third. Lucas Tousart also had a stellar performance in midfield, acting as a deep lying distributor. Fekir and Mariano Diaz both scored twice, as Lyon trashed recently promoted Strasbourg by a score of 4-0. With 2 goals, they are both joint top scorers of Ligue 1.
Saint-Etienne – Nice
Saint Etienne were set to battle last season’s 3rd place Nice. OGCN recently announced the signing of veteran playmaker Wesley Sneijder. With his signing, Lucien Favre has a great replacement for Belhanda, who played as a central attacking midfielder last season. Unfortunately, Mario Balotelli and Jean Michael Seri weren’t able to make the squad for the first fixture due to injuries. Aside from them two, Dalbert was on the bench for Nice. In the middle of rumours linking him to Inter, Favre has opted to leave the Brazilian fullback on the bench.
The match started with much intensity by the home side. Favre’s side seemed to start the season with little concentration, and ASSE were able to capitalise quick into the match. Jonathan Bamba put the locals up top with a strike to beat Cardinale just 4 minutes into the match. Nice’s game saw slow transitions, static movements, and little understanding between the players. As for Saint Etienne, Stephane Ruffier had a great game when called upon. He wasn’t tested much, yet he looked steady and firm whenever he had to intervene. Loic Perrin and his fellow defensive line also made the difference. Their low-block defending frustrated Nice’s attempt to create chances.
The final score was Saint Etienne 1-0 Nice, with the home side taking all 3 points to start the campaign.
Marseille hosted Dijon for the first matchday of French football. Rudy Garcia’s midfield looked perfectly balanced with Maxi Lopez, Luiz Gustavo and Morgan Sanson. Their attacking trio also was noticeable, as Njie and Florian Thauvin had great games for the home side. Dimitri Payet was subbed off near half time, and substitute Njie bagged a brace. Marseille went on to beat Dijon 3-0, being one of only three teams to win by 3 goals or more.
Lille – Nantes
Master Marcelo Bielsa’s debut fell nothing short to his standards, as Lille lived up to their fantastic summer expectations. Lille’s side already showed Bielsa-like characteristics, as their initial 4-2-3-1 shifted to a 3-4-3. When they performed high block presses, they switched to a 3-3-1-3, with midfielder Amadou dropping as a centre back. Their attack was full of flair and movement, and Luiz Araujo was the most surprising talent. We Ligue 1 fans will have to keep an eye on him for this upcoming campaign. El-Ghazi and Araujo had a lot of versatility and mobility, while Nicolas de Preville combined penetrative runs with a pivotal role.
Now a special mention to the man who made history with Leicester two seasons ago. With his Ligue 1 debut, Claudio Ranieri tested his usual 4-4-2.
- Metz 3-1 Guingamp
- Nolan Roux
- Jimmy Brand, Ludovic Blas, Mustapha Diallo
- Montpellier 1-0 Caen
- Souleymane Camara
- Troyes 1-1 Rennes
- Samuel Grandsir
- Jordan Tell
- Angers 2-2 Bordeaux
- Angelo Fulgini, Baptiste Guillaume
- Younousse Sankhare, Alexandre Mendy
- Joao Moutinho-2
- Valere Germain-2
- Delort & 17 others-1