Ligue 1 correspondent Robert Bhamber takes you through our weekly, match-by-match guide to the weekend’s action. Stats, analysis and so much more in this comprehensive extravaganza of a piece.
Friday: Bordeaux (3rd) vs Evian (20th) (19:30 GMT)
The action starts at the Stade Chaban-Delmas as Bordeaux take on bottom-of-the-table Evian. Willy Sagnol has hit a stumbling block for the first time in his club managerial career as a draw against Bastia and an away loss to Guingamp in the last two weeks have seen his side drop from first to third in the table. He will be looking for his side to get back to winning ways here, in a match that they will be expected to win.
Evian, meanwhile, a still searching for their first league win of the season. Last week’s 3-1 defeat against Marseille was their fourth in five games, with a draw against PSG in Week 3 bringing their only point. Pascal Dupraz will be hoping his side can pick up some form soon to ensure that they do not get left behind in the relegation zone; they are currently four points away from Metz in 17th.
– It is the first time Bordeaux have started the season with three straight wins since 2009/10.
– They have scored 10 league goals this season, only Marseille (11) have scored more.
– Evian are the only club in Ligue 1 yet to win a game this season.
– They have also conceded the most goals in the league this season, letting in 13.
– Last season, Bordeaux won this match 2-1.
Saturday: Marseille (2nd) vs Rennes (7th) (16:00 GMT)
The first match of Saturday sees Marseille welcoming Rennes to the Stade Velodrome. The hosts will be aiming for their fourth consecutive league win, a run that has seen them surge up to second in the table. The players seem not to have been affected by off-field issues at the club in recent weeks and coach Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping that continues in the future.
Rennes have made a habit of frustrating the league’s top teams so far this season, holding out for draws against both St Etienne and champions PSG. They are also proving to be quite difficult to beat; the only defeat Rennes have suffered so far was against Lyon on the opening weekend. Philippe Montanier will be hoping for more of the same this weekend.
– The Marseille team that beat Evian last week contained none of their summer signings.
– It is the first time Marseille have won three consecutive league matches since November 2013.
– Rennes have kept a clean sheet in two of their last three games.
– Marcelo Bielsa and Philippe Montanier were rivals in Spain between 2011 and 2013, with Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao and Montanier’s Real Sociedad contesting the Basque derby.
– Last season, Rennes won 1-0 at the Stade Velodrome.
Saturday: Metz (17th) vs Bastia (14th) (19:00 GMT)
Metz meet Bastia at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, with both teams searching for their second league win of the season. The home side’s only victory came in Week 4 thanks to a 2-1 win at home to Lyon. However, this was followed up last week by a 1-0 loss away at Nice, which saw Albert Cartier’s men fall to 17th in the table.
Meanwhile, Bastia’s solitary win came in Week 3, with a 1-0 victory at home to Toulouse. Since then, Claude Makelele’s team have drawn with Bordeaux away and with Lens at home and they currently sit 14th in the league, one point above their opponents this weekend.
– Metz haven’t lost at home in the league this season, they have drawn one and won one.
– Their only clean sheet came in Week 1 in a goalless draw with Lille.
– Bastia are yet to win away from home in the league this season, drawing one and losing the other.
– Their only clean sheet came in Week 3, in their 1-0 win over Toulouse.
– The last time this fixture was played was in Ligue 2 in 2011/12. Bastia won the match 1-0.
Saturday: Lorient (8th) vs Reims (18th) (19:00 GMT)
Lorient will be looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat to Montpellier as they take on Reims at the Stade du Moustoir. The home side have been inconsistent in the league so far this season and Sylvain Ripoll will be aiming for his side to put a few wins together in a bid to move further up the table. It hasn’t been a bad start to the season for Lorient, but if they could start to show some consistency, it could get a whole lot better.
Reims, meanwhile, got their first league win of the season last week thanks to a 2-0 win at home to Toulouse, but they still find themselves in the bottom three after five games. Manager Jean-Luc Vasseur will be hoping to make in two wins in a row, but they face a much tougher task this weekend.
– Lorient’s inconsistent form has seen them win two, lose two and draw one.
– They are, however, unbeaten at home in the league so far, drawing with Nice before thumping Guingamp 4-0.
– Reims lost three matches in a row between Weeks 2 and 4, going down to Caen at home and St Etienne and Lens away.
– This means they are yet to pick up a point on the road this season.
– Last season, this fixture ended up as a goalless draw.
Saturday: Nantes (10th) vs Nice (11th) (19:00 GMT)
Nantes face Nice at the Stade de la Beaujoire with both teams looking for their third win of the league campaign. The home side’s two wins both came at their own ground, taking all three points against Lens in Week 1 and Montpellier in Week 4. However, last week’s 2-0 loss away at Lille saw Michel Der Zakarian’s men slip down to 10th in the league, something he will be hoping to rectify this weekend.
Nice’s two wins so far have also both come at their own stadium; they beat Toulouse 3-2 in Week 1 and then Metz 1-0 just last week. They did go on a three game winless run in between though, which is why they sit one place below their opponents in 11th heading into this weekend’s match.
– Nantes have yet to fall out of the top half of the league this season.
– Their only home defeat in the league so far came against Monaco in Week 3.
– Nice have taken one point from six on the road this season.
– They held Lorient to a goalless draw in Week 2 before losing 4-0 at Marseille in Week 4.
– Last season, Nantes won this fixture 2-0 in the league and also defeated Nice 4-3 in the Coupe de la Ligue quarter finals at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
Saturday: Toulouse (15th) vs Caen (12th) (19:00 GMT)
Toulouse will try to maintain their 100% home record as they face Caen at the Stadium Municipal this weekend. The hosts have won both of their home games in the league this season, 2-1 against Lyon and 1-0 against Evian, and manager Alain Casanova will be hoping for more of the same on Saturday.
However, newly-promoted Caen have a decent away record of their own. They won away at Evian on the opening weekend and at Reims in Week 3, before narrowly going down 1-0 at St Etienne last week. Manager Patrice Garande will be looking for his side to get back to winning ways on the road at the Stadium Municipal this weekend.
– Toulouse may have a 100% home record, but they have lost each of their three league away games so far this season.
– Last week’s loss to Reims saw them drop to 15th in the table, their lowest position this season.
– Caen have scored five and conceded just once away from home this season.
– They have, however, lost both of their home league games so far.
– The last time this fixture was played was in 2011/12, when Toulouse beat Caen 1-0.
Sunday: Lille (1st) vs Montpellier (6th) (13:00 GMT)
League leaders Lille take on Montpellier at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday afternoon. Last week’s 2-0 win over Nantes saw the home side overhaul Bordeaux at the Ligue 1 summit and also extended their unbeaten start to their league campaign. Manager Rene Girard will be hoping his side can maintain their good league form as they take on his former club this weekend.
Montpellier, meanwhile, are not doing too badly themselves. They have bounced back from their opening weekend defeat to Bordeaux by winning three of their four league games since, their only other loss coming away at Nantes in Week 4. A win away at Lille, however, may be too much to expect from Rolland Courbis’ side.
– Lille and PSG are the only sides still unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season.
– Lille have the best defence in the league this season, conceding just one goal so far.
– Montpellier have kept a clean sheet in all of their victories to date this season and failed to score in both defeats.
– Montpellier have the second best defensive record in the league this season, conceding just two goals.
– Last season, Lille won this match 2-0.
Sunday: Lens (9th) vs St Etienne (4th) (16:00 GMT)
St Etienne travel to the Stade de la Licorne this weekend to tackle newly-promoted Lens. Lens have had a mixed bag of results since returning to the top flight, with two wins, two losses and a draw from their first five games. However, they are unbeaten in their last three, which has seen them rise from 18th to ninth in the league.
St Etienne, meanwhile, have lost just once in the league this season, although it was a quite heavy 5-0 loss away to champions PSG. Since then, they have defeated Caen 1-0 at home in the league and played out a goalless draw away to Azerbaijani side Qarabag in the Europa League.
– Lens have won one and lost one at the Stade de la Licorne this season.
– They lost 1-0 to Guingamp in Week 2, but then beat Reims 4-2 in Week 4.
– St Etienne’s win last week saw them move from eighth to fourth in the table.
– They have conceded six league goals this season, five of which came in the same match.
– The last time this fixture was played was in 2010/11, when Lens beat St Etienne 2-1.
Sunday: Monaco (19th) vs Guingamp (16th) (16:00 GMT)
Monaco will be looking to get their league season on track as they face Guingamp at the Stade Louis II on Sunday. The hosts have won just once in the league so far this campaign, a statistic which is unacceptable for a team playing in the Champions League. Last week’s 2-1 loss away at Lyon saw Leonardo Jardim’s team fall to 19th in the table and seven points behind league leaders Lille.
Guingamp, meanwhile, are two points better off than their opponents heading into this match. Their two wins so far have come away at Lens and at home to Bordeaux last week. Manager Jocelyn Gourvennec will be looking to take advantage of a lowly Monaco side and make it three wins this weekend.
– Monaco’s highest position so far this season has been 15th.
– Their solitary win came in Week 3, a 1-0 victory away at Nantes.
– Guingamp have won twice this season, but have lost each of their other three, going down to St Etienne, Marseille and Lorient.
– Their highest position so far this season has been 13th.
– Last season, this fixture finished 1-1.
Sunday: PSG (5th) vs Lyon (13th) (20:00 GMT)
PSG may have struggled away from home recently, but they will be looking to maintain their excellent home record when Lyon visit the Parc des Princes on Sunday evening. The champions have dropped points away from home on a few occasions this season, but have won both of their home games in convincing fashion, despatching Bastia 2-0 before thrashing St Etienne 5-0 in Week 4. Manager Laurent Blanc will be hoping for a similar result against Lyon this weekend.
Last week, Lyon ended a run of three league losses by defeating a struggling Monaco side 2-1, but it will be a much tougher test facing them this weekend at the Parc des Princes. Without the distraction of European football this season, manager Hubert Fournier will ideally be looking for his side to push the likes of PSG and Lille at the top end of the table, but they will have to start playing better than have been recently for that idea to come to fruition.
– PSG are unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions this season.
– They have kept three clean sheets in their five league matches so far.
– Lyon have scored six league goals this season, all of which have been scored by products of the club’s youth academy.
– They have yet to pick up a point away from home this season.
– Last season, PSG comfortably won this match 4-0.