Ligue 1 Weekend Preview: All the key talking points ahead of Matchday 9

Watch six live games exclusively on BT Sport this weekend, including Paris Saint-Germain vs Nice on Saturday 1 October.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 30 September 2022 - 11.21am

It felt inevitable that Paris Saint-Germain would move ahead of Marseille on points at Ligue 1's summit, and that happened on Matchday 8 when Christophe Galtier's men beat Lyon thanks to a dazzling link-up between Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Challengers Marseille could only manage a 1-1 draw against Rennes and travel to Angers on Friday night looking to get back to winning ways. 

PSG's next assignment is at home to underperforming Nice, whose club president Jean-Pierre Rivere last week denied that the Riviera outfit had approached the out-of-work Mauricio Pochettino to replace Lucien Favre. 

Read on for the key talking points from all 10 games and how to watch this weekend's Ligue 1 action live on BT Sport. 

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Matchday 9 fixtures live on BT Sport

Friday 30 September

Angers vs Marseille, 7.45pm on BT Sport 2

Saturday 1 October

Paris Saint-Germain vs Nice, 7.45pm on BT Sport 2

Sunday 2 October

Lorient vs Lille, 12pm on BT Sport 2

Toulouse vs Montpellier, 2pm on BT Sport 3

Monaco vs Nantes, 4pm on BT Sport 3

Lens vs Lyon, 7.30pm on BT Sport 2

Angers vs Marseille

Matteo Guendouzi had a game of extremes in Marseille's last match before the international break, putting through his own net in the first half, before scoring his first goal of the campaign to level just after the break. 

The 1-1 draw means that Igor Tudor's men now trail Paris Saint-Germain by two points at the summit, but L'OM will still be overjoyed with their best start to a Ligue 1 campaign in living memory.

The resignation of Jorge Sampaoli - who quit in the summer in frustration at the club's sluggishness in the transfer window - along with the departures of William Saliba, Duje Caleta-Car and Boubacar Kamara caused fear among Marseille's fans that this season may see a drop-off in results after a runners-up finish in 2021/22.

However, Tudor has come in and raised the level, with the loan signing of Nuno Tavares and the free captures of Chancel Mbemba and Alexis Sanchez - who all joined after Sampaoli left - proving masterstrokes.

Despite Angers being in their eighth consecutive top-flight season, their objective is still very much survival, and they have creative outlet Sofiane Boufal available for this match after his one-match suspension following two yellow cards against Nice was rescinded.

They are currently 14th - where they finished last season - after two wins from eight games, but those victories have come in their last two matches against Nice and Montpellier, a sign that things may be looking up for Gerald Baticle's men. 

Strasbourg vs Rennes

After Strasbourg came sixth last season - their best top-flight finish since 1980 - this season has been a jolt back to reality for a club far more used to struggling in Ligue 1 in recent years. 

The Alsace side currently sit 18th and are still awaiting their first win of the campaign, with only Nice and Ajaccio having scored fewer in the division since the start of the campaign. 

Midfielder Sanjin Prcic is also eligible for selection again after serving a two-match ban following a red card against Brest earlier this month, while another source of encouragement is that the Blue and Whites still have a pretty strong defence that has only been outperformed by four Ligue 1 clubs this season.

Unfortunately for Strasbourg, one of those teams is Rennes, who became known as one of Europe's most entertaining sides last season, finishing fourth and qualifying for the Europa League as Martin Terrier, Gaetan Laborde and Benjamin Bourigeaud ran riot. 

Laborde has since gone - replaced by the skilful Amine Gouiri from Nice - and although Bruno Genesio's charges haven't been quite as captivating so far this term, eight points from their last four league games, including a 5-0 trouncing of Auxerre, suggest they are approaching their best form. 

Joe Rodon in action for Rennes against Lens
Joe Rodon has played nine matches and scored once since joining Rennes on loan from Tottenham this summer

Paris Saint-Germain vs Nice

Nice were the only side to prevent Paris Saint-Germain scoring home and away last season, but the new supercharged version of the reigning champions is unlikely to be shut out by Lucien Favre's men on this occasion. 

While the 1-0 win at Lyon was underwhelming by the standards of Christophe Galtier's side, it was another win at the start of a near-perfect season as they yet again target silverware on multiple fronts. 

Despite the scoreline, PSG were still clearly the more dominant side against the Champions League qualification hopefuls, stringing together nearly 800 passes and registered eight shots on target. 

A similarly relentless approach against Nice should reap its rewards given that the French Riviera outfit are going through something of a rough patch, with a home loss against Angers meaning the Eagles sit 13th, a mere two points above the drop zone with the lowest number of goals scored in the division apart from bottom side Ajaccio. 

An influx of Premier League talent, including the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley and Nicolas Pepe, has got people taking notice, and those experienced players will need to step up if Nice are to turn their campaign around, with talk over Favre being replaced by Mauricio Pochettino unlikely to dampen if results fail to improve. 

Lorient vs Lille

Lorient have been the surprise package of European football in 2022/23. Strongly tipped to be in a relegation dogfight having finished 16th last year and losing talented forward Armand Lauriente to Sassuolo, they are riding high in third, just three points off Paris Saint-Germain. 

The third-highest scorers in the division are managed by Regis Le Bris in his debut top-flight campaign in the dugout, while the Cod - a nickname inspired by Brittany's fishing tradition - are spearheaded by Terem Moffi, who has six goals in 2022/23, a Ligue 1 record only inferior to Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. 

Burkina Faso forward Dango Ouattara, aged just 20, is also turning heads with four goals and four assists in eight matches, with Le Bris opting to cut the average age of the squad significantly from last season (so far to spectacular effect). 

Wins over Lyon and Rennes show that their impressive form hasn't just been confined to matches against the smaller teams either, and they have the chance to underline the giants strides they have made by defeating a dangerous Lille side. 

Now managed by the highly-respected Paulo Fonseca, the Mastiffs have Jonathan David and Jonathan Bamba in fine form and will be looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time under the Portuguese. 

After last season's deeply disappointing mid-table campaign following their sensational title triumph in 2020/21, Lille harbour hopes of a return to European football and are well in the mix to achieve the top-five finish required. 

Lorient players celebrate after scoring the winner against Ajaccio
Lorient have made a phenomenal start to the season with a young squad and a new manager

Ajaccio vs Clermont

After a solitary point from their opening six games, newly promoted Ajaccio finally secured their first Ligue 1 victory since May 2014 by winning 1-0 at Brest courtesy of Romain Hamouma's cool back-post finish. 

The Corsicans will be looking to kick on against Clermont, who have taken just four points from the last 15 on offer, but still sit snugly in 11th. 

The hosts will need to make sure that centre-back Oumar Gonzalez and forward Mounaim El Idrissy keep their discipline though, as both men are one yellow card from a one-match ban. 

This fixture has never been contested in Ligue 1 before and there isn't an obvious favourite to take the spoils. 

Auxerre vs Brest

The league's two worst defences meet at the Stade Abbe-Deschamps, and while it might be two early to label this a must-win for either side, three points may prove invaluable come early June. 

Auxerre are the only side in Ligue 1 to have lost their last four matches following a positive start to the season that saw them claim seven points from four games, beating Montpellier and Strasbourg in the process. 

The fixture list has got the better of them since, with encounters against Lyon, Marseille, Rennes and Lorient - all in the top eight - resulting in a mammoth 12 goals being conceded. 

Brest are also in a sticky run of form, with their only victory of the campaign coming away at Angers back in August.

Since then, they have picked up just one point from five games, with a 1-0 home loss to rock-bottom Ajaccio representing fresh cause for concern. It's going to be a tense affair in Burgundy. 

Auxerre boss Jean-Marc Furlan in the dugout against Marseille
Auxerre boss Jean-Marc Furlan has much to ponder after four straight losses for his team

Toulouse vs Montpellier

With four defeats in their last five, Toulouse will be wary of being dragged into a relegation scrap on their return to the top flight. 

However, Philippe Montanier's men can at least be reasonably confident of avoiding defeat, having only lost at home against Paris Saint-Germain this season. 

They face a Montpellier side who are rarely boring to watch and are the highest scorers in the division (19 goals) bar PSG, with more than half of those strikes coming from Arnaud Nordin, teenager Elye Wahi and captain Teji Savanier, while Faitout Maouassa is the league's leading assist-provider. 

Sunday's visitors are also the only team in the division yet to record a draw this season and are known for letting in a fair few, so this could be the most exciting French match of the weekend on BT Sport. 

Troyes vs Reims

Reims have the dubious distinction of being the dirtiest team in Ligue 1, at least as far as red cards is concerned (five). 

Their penchant for going down to 10 men has undoubtedly affected their league position, putting them 17th, which this season sees you relegated from the top flight as part of a move to reduce Ligue 1 to 18 teams in time for next season. 

Alexis Flips is back after sitting out the 3-0 defeat at home to Monaco due to a red card picked up against Toulouse, while Bradley Locko, sent off against the Principality outfit, won't serve a ban after the card was rescinded. 

The main shining light for the Red and Whites has undoubtedly been Folarin Balogun, who has five goals in eight matches since his loan move from Arsenal. 

Troyes meanwhile must have entered this season with some trepidation after ending 2021/22 with just win in eight games. 

However, Bruno Irles' men are sitting pretty in 10th thanks in no small part to the goals of Mama Balde (five so far), including a double in a 3-1 win at Clermont last time out. 

Folarin Balogun celebrates after scoring against Lens
Folarin Balogun has been in impressive form since his loan move from Arsenal to Reims

Monaco vs Nantes

Monaco ended last season in blistering fashion, winning nine of their last 10 games and drawing the other. 

They are returning to that kind of form after three straight league victories before the international break, but that only came after a spell where they shipped four goals at home to both Lens and Troyes and found themselves with just five points after as many games. 

Increased solidity at the back and better discipline has led to an upturn in results, with wing-back Caio Henrique and defender Axel Disasi providing seven assists between them. 

Nantes' start to the campaign could be best described as frustrating. 

The Yellow House were ones to watch after a transformative ninth-placed finish under Antoine Kombouare last term, complete with the club's first-ever major trophy when they beat Nice to the Coupe de France, but four draws in eight league matches and have stunted their progress in 2022/23.

The permanent loss of star forward Randal Kolo Muani to Eintracht Frankfurt, along with the end of central midfielder Wylan Cyprien's loan spell, seems to explain some of that unremarkable form, and Kombouare needs to find a solution to ease the goal burden off the shoulders of talisman Moses Simon if the Stade de la Beaujoire are to breathe a little easier. 

Lens vs Lyon

Were it not for Lorient's heart-warming underdog story, Lens would be the name on everyone's lips for biggest overachievers. 

The northern French side achieved promotion back to Ligue 1 in 2020 and have since done incredibly, posting back-to-back seventh-placed finishes under Franck Haise, who has never previously held a top-flight managerial job. 

They have continued to kick on this term, sitting fourth as one of only three unbeaten sides along with Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, who are also the only two teams with a better defence than Lens. 

The retention of captain and star man Seko Fofana has been key to their success, while Florian Sotoca, Lois Openda and David da Costa are making notable contributions in attacking areas. Deiver Machado returns to the fold after serving a two-match red-card ban.

Lyon used to be the undisputed kings of France and while they will never get back to the era of dominance that saw them win seven straight league titles for as long as PSG are bankrolled by billionaires, but they started off the season keeping pace with Christophe Galtier's charges. 

Three defeats on the trot have dampened spirits, but with the dynamism of Brazilian attacker Tete, along with the threats posed by the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Karl Toko-Ekambi and Rayan Cherki, expect a return to form sooner rather than later. Expect a cracker at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.