In a new Get French Football News series, we take a look at the five major talking points from each weekend of Ligue 1 football. Here is the first edition:
1. Brandao head-butt on Thiago Motta
In a match that already had a few talking points on the pitch, with PSG picking up their first win and Zlatan Ibrahimovic being substituted in the first half, it was an incident after the final minutes that has taken all the headlines from the Parc des Princes. As the players headed to the dressing rooms, Bastia striker Brandao head-butted PSG’s Thiago Motta in what may have been an unprovoked attack, leaving the Italian international with a bloodied and fractured nose.
The Bastia players were claiming that Motta was abusing them whilst on the pitch, but even if that was the case it cannot make Brandao’s actions acceptable. With calls from PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi for him to face a heavy punishment, it now looks like Bastia are looking to find a way to terminate his contract with the club and with an announcement to come later today, it could spell a nasty end to the Brazilian’s career in Ligue 1.
2. Monaco off to a dreadful start
An astonishingly poor second half display saw Monaco lose 4-1 away at Bordeaux and take zero points from their first two games. They have reason to feel aggrieved, the penalties could be disputed and the third goal was offside, but their dreadful play got exactly what it deserved. Their defensive organisation left a lot to be desired, and they didn’t offer all that much going forwards either.
That’s now six goals conceded in their first two games, they’ve had just two clean sheets in their last 15 games and new boss Leonardo Jardim is under immense pressure already. The principality’s Russian owner needs to bring out the chequebook now or they could be out of the title race before it’s even begun.
3. Bielsa’s Marseille stutter at newly renovated Velodrome
In their first home game under El Loco, Marseille dropped to a poor 2-0 defeat against Montpellier in a match they never seemed to get to grips with. A delightful lofted finish from Anthony Mounier and a simple back post tap-in for Morgan Sanson saw the 2012 champions walk away with a well deserved first win of the season.
The back three were at sea for L’OM throughout the game and frustration from the front line was shown after just half an hour. Their defence, which was behind many of their poor results last season, will be the main priority for Bielsa to sort out. Many thought Marseille could re-emerge immediately under Marcelo Bielsa but the team will have to adapt quickly to avoid sinking into (by their standards) mediocrity again.
4. Young Lyon side still has a lot to learn
With nine players of the 14 that took part in the game this weekend either 23 or under, this youthful Lyon side learned a tough lesson in a 2-1 loss to Toulouse. Goals from Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro and Wissam Ben Yedder gave TFC the victory despite a reply from Alexandre Lacazette 15 minutes from time.
It could have been worse for Hubert Fournier’s men if it wasn’t for Anthony Lopes stopping Martin Braithwaite on two separate occasions but they will gain hope from others dropping points this weekend. It could be a very tight race for the teams chasing Champions League football and Lyon’s young guns could still be right up there come the end of the season. The question is, how quickly will their young team become fully comfortable with playing Ligue 1 football at the top level.
5. Rennes’ stunning 8-goal thriller against Evian
Two goals each from Ola Toivonen, Paul-Georges Ntep and Mexer and a Daniel Wass double in reply saw Rennes take a 6-2 victory against Evian in a highly entertaining game. It was the first time since 1965 that Philippe Montanier’s men scored six in-front of their home faithful and he’ll be delighted to have both a new signing and a substitute contributing to an emphatic win.
The Rennes faithful will be hoping for more of the same attacking potency for the rest of the season as they look to improve on last season’s 12th placed finish. After dipping into the market last January for players such as Ntep and Toivonen, it looks like they are now settled at the club and ready to perform every week. As for Evian, they need to move on quickly or the team in pink will be dragged into another relegation battle. Their defence in particular looks very suspect, having conceded 9 goals in their first two games.