Lessons from the opening weekend of Ligue 1

The Ligue 1 season got underway during the weekend and we take a look at some lessons we learned.

Marseille register their ambitions

Marseille began their new season with an emphatic 4-0 win against Toulouse. This thumping win saw them claim an early lead in the race for the title, as they ended the weekend in 1st. Nine other teams won their first game of the season and their superior goal difference puts them apart. PSG won their first fixture  3-0 against the lowly ranked Caen, whilst AS Monaco and Lyon also gained three points. It will be very interesting to see how Marseille manage their season, though it goes without saying that they have fired an early warning to the rest of the title contenders.

In youth we trust

It was a dream day for PSG’s young crop of players that included Colin Dagba (19), Antoine Bernede (19), Moussa Diaby (19), Stanley Nsoki (19) and Timothy Weah (18). Thomas Tuchel named the youngsters for their season opener against Caen. The young men did not disappoint as they played under the guidance of more established members of the first team. They played very well and Tuchel will be keen to give them more first-team football in the coming days.

Promoted sides stake their claim in Ligue 1

Ligue 2 champions Reims continued with their momentum from last season by winning their first game against Nice. David Guion retained seven players from last season with only four new additions to the side including Moussa Doumbia. The new signing scored the only goal of the match early into the fixture to ensure all three points for his team.  Nimes for their part were more dramatic in their fixtures after coming from 3-1 down to win the fixture 4-3 at the end of regular time. This is even more spectacular when you consider that they played with ten men for the last couple of minutes following Florian Miguel’s red card.  Like Strasbourg and Amiens last season, the promoted teams showed determination to keep their place in the top flight of French football.

VAR will decide

Ligue 1 introduced the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) this season, and Marseille were the first beneficiaries of the new technology. Dimitri Payet’s penalty against Toulouse arrived courtesy of VAR’s deployment. An unclear handball infringement by Kelvin Amian was resolved after consultations between VAR officials and the referees on the pitch. The technology was also used wisely during the match between Angers and Nîmes to award Angelo Fulgini‘s goals, as well as to discredit Ismael Traore’s erroneous 48th-minute goal. This is a welcome development in Ligue 1 and we should expect other top leagues to follow suit.

Great start for Memphis Depay

Lyon won their first match of the season thanks to Memphis Depay’s singular goal. The Dutchman moved from Manchester United in 2017 and has been a hit in Ligue 1 since. He finished last season with an impressive record of 19 goals, which is incredible for a player that plays on the wing. He was the fourth highest scorer then and he seems ready to put up another spirited campaign this term.