Connect with us

Ligue 1

Battles at Both Ends of the Table Commence: Ligue 1 Matchday 2 Preview

What you should look forward to before Ligue 1’s second matchday.

The second matchday of the Ligue 1 beckons, and there will be nine exciting clashes held across three days. Here’s what you should look forward to in the matches…


Olympique Lyonnais vs Dijon FCO

Lyon’s French midfielder Houssem Aouar celebrates his team’s win at the end of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Manchester City and Lyon at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon on August 15, 2020. (Photo by MIGUEL A. LOPES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The opening match sees Champions League semi-finalists Lyon take on 18th-placed Dijon, in an early battle between two teams that are expected to finish at opposite ends of the table.

Last Results:
Lyon‘s last match was their UEFA Champions League semi-final against would-be winners Bayern Munich, which they lost 0-3. Their matchday 1 clash against Montpellier was postponed so that they could have a proper resting period before they started going at full pelt for the new season.
Dijon did play on the first matchday, and they suffered a narrow 0-1 defeat to Angers as Ismaël Traoré’s goal was enough to sink them.

Lyon have a 5-2 advantage in this regard, as the remaining matches of the nine clashes were drawn. The draws included their last meeting, which finished 0-0.

What This Could Mean:
Lyon haven’t played a match yet, so a win can mathematically only take them up to fourth place.
Dijon too cannot finish the matchday in the Champions League spots for the same reasons as their opponents because they currently have zero points.

Player to Watch:
Houssem Aouar will undoubtedly be scrutinised by everyone watching, as this may be one of his last matches in a Lyon shirt. He was sublime in the last campaign, and his performances garnered attention from all over Europe. Arsenal are reportedly leading the race for the midfielder’s signature, but Juventus aren’t far behind. He could increase his worth with another brilliant performance against Les Hiboux.

Prediction: 2-0


Stade Rennais FC vs Montpellier HSC

Rennes’ French midfielder Eduardo Camavinga (L) fights for the ball with Bordeaux’s French forward Nicolas de Preville (R) during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais Football Club (SRFC) and FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FCGB) at the Roazhon Park in Rennes, northwestern France on December 21, 2019. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)

Saturday’s first kickoff features 8th-placed Rennes, who will host Montpellier at Roazhon Park.

Last Results:
Rennes faced a slightly weakened Lille side who were without last year’s stars, and they battled to a cagey 1-1 draw. Both sides had a player sent off in the first half, and Lille’s lead was cut down in the second half as Damien Da Silva scored for Les Rouge et Noir.
Montpellier‘s matchday 1 clash against Lyon was postponed to give Les Gones some rest after their Champions League exploits, so this is the first competitive match of their season.

Rennes have won two more matches than Montpellier when facing each other, as they have a 10-8 lead and seven of the 25 have been tied. Interestingly though, the goal difference in such matches is 0, as both sides have scored 29 times. A major reason for that is Rennes’ heavy 5-0 victory last time around, which extend their unbeaten streak against this opposition to seven.

What This Could Mean:
Rennes have a mathematical possibility of slotting into first place at the end of the matchday, but that’s highly unlikely.
Montpellier, like Lyon, cannot go higher than fourth no matter what because of their absence on matchday 1.

Player to Watch:
Eduardo Camavinga has stolen the spotlight after only one matchday, and the 17 year-old thoroughly deserves it. He broke through last season, and was the player of the month in August 2019. The Angolian-born Frenchman is a mainstay starter now, but it looks like Real Madrid might swoop him away from France at the end of the season after he was reportedly unhappy about the time Rennes took to offer him a contract extension beyond 2022. He got an assist in the last match, and more of the same will only heighten Los Blancos‘ interest.

Prediction: 1-1

RC Strasbourg Alsace vs OGC Nice

Nice’s French forward Amine Gouiri (C) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Nice (OGCN) and RC Lens (RCL) at The Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice, southern France, on August 23, 2020. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

The late match sees 19th-placed Strasbourg battle third-placed Nice, in what could be a crucial match in both sides’ seasons.

Last Results:
Strasbourg lost their season-opener to Lorient as they were missing quite a few key men, who might be unavailable for this clash too. They took a first-half lead through Mehdi Chahiri’s strike, but their defence was breached time and again thereafter, and they lost 3-1.
Nice did the opposite to kick their campaign off. They conceded an early goal against Lens, but Amine Gouiri saved them by scoring two goals with the team’s only two shots on target, and won them the match with a final score of 2-1.

Nice carry a 4-3 advantage in this regard, as the other two games were draws. Last time around, though, it was the hosts who carved out a victory thanks to a solitary goal.

What This Could Mean:
Strasbourg cannot possibly surpass Nice’s position in the table, but they can go above the Eagles and as high as 4th.
Nice, on the other hand, have a chance of going clear at the summit of the table with a win.

Player to Watch:
Amine Gouiri had a dream debut for Nice, as he stole the show by bagging a brilliant brace to save his side from defeat. That performance was adjudged by us as the best of the matchday, and it certainly was worth that and three points for Nice. The highly-rated 20 year-old is starting to prove his quality after moving from Lyon, and he wouldn’t mind making his former side even more jealous by continuing his goal-scoring exploits.

Prediction: 0-1


Stade de Reims vs Lille OSC

Reims’ Malian forward El Bilal Toure (L) vies with Monaco’s French defender Axel Disasi during the French L1 football match between AS Monaco and Stade de Reims at The “Louis II Stadium” in Monaco on August 23, 2020. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Sunday’s early match involves Reims and Lille, who are currently 6th and 7th in the table respectively. This may be a prelude to the Europa League battle that is set to ensue, so both sides will want to win this.

Last Results:
Reims travelled to the principality of Monaco on the first matchday, and they returned with a 2-2 draw. They will undoubtedly be slightly disappointed with that, because they threw away a two-goal cushion that Boulaye Dia and El Bilal Touré had given them.
Lille hosted Rennes to start their season, and they too came away with a draw, but with fewer goals than Reims. They took the lead in the first half through Jonathan Bamba’s goal, but lost it later on when both sides were playing with 10 men. In the end, they won’t be too disheartened with a point considering how the match played out.

Reims take a 6-4 lead into this match, while the other four clashes between these sides have ended without a winner. It was the Red and Whites who won on the last occasion, with a final score of 2-0.

What This Could Mean:
With both teams on the same points total, they have an equal chance of going into the leading spot in the table, but the probability of that is not very high.

Player to Watch:
El Bilal Touré made his professional debut in 2020, and the year seems to be uncharacteristically kind to him, at least in a footballing sense, as he assisted the opener and scored the second in his side’s previous match. He already has four Ligue 1 goals under his belt, and he won’t mind adding to that tally tomorrow.

Prediction: 2-1

AS Saint-Étienne vs FC Lorient

Lorient’s French forward Yoane Wissa celebrates during L1 football match between Lorient (FC Lorient ) and Strasbourg (RCSA) at at Le Moustoir Stadium in Lorient, western France on August 23, 2020. (Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Saint-Étienne’s season opener sees them host 2nd-placed Lorient at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. They’d like a win to start their campaign off well, and will be keen to avoid a relegation battle like last time.

Last Results:
Saint-Étienne had their match against Marseille postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the opposition camp, so their last competitive fixture remains the Coupe de France final against PSG, which ended in a 1-0 loss.
Lorient celebrated their return to the top-flight in style, as they defeated Strasbourg 3-1. After going down in the first half, goals from Yoane Wissa and Pierre-Yves Hamel separated by a penalty from Adrian Grbić saw them come away with a win.

What This Could Mean:
Saint-Étienne can’t go into the Champions League spots come what may because this is their first match, so 4th place is the mathematical limit for them.
Lorient, on the other hand, can realistically cement a lead with a win coupled with a lesser result for Nîmes.

It is quite an even matchup in this context too, as the head-to-head score is 11-11 with four draws. If anyone is looking for a slight edge though, then Saint-Étienne should take note of their 4-0 victory in the last meeting.

Player to Watch:
Adil Aouchiche may make a debut for Saint-Étienne after he was brought in on loan from PSG, so he should be one to watch. The talented 18 year-old had already made his debut for the Parisians last season and scored in the Cup. That, along with the fact that he won the Silver Ball in the 2019 under-17 World Cup means that a lot will be expected of him in the future.

Prediction: 2-3

FC Metz vs AS Monaco

Monaco’s Croatian coach Niko Kovac (L) looks during the French L1 football match between AS Monaco and Stade de Reims at The “Louis II Stadium” in Monaco on August 23, 2020. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

The simultaneous fixtures include Metz’s meeting with Monaco, who are currently sitting in 5th place in the table.

Last Results:
Metz did not play on the first matchday because PSG, who they were supposed to face, were too busy trying to win their first-ever Champions League in the final against Bayern. So, this is Les Grenats‘ first serious match after their promotion.
Monaco hosted Reims for their first match, and they had to come back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2. Some questionable defending was the cause of their early downfall, but their centre-backs, Axel Disasi and Benoît Badiashile made up for it by netting a goal each.

Monaco have a hefty 10-4 lead over Metz, who should take some solace in the fact that they won the last clash 3-0.

What This Could Mean:
Metz have the potential of going as high up as fourth in the table, but that’s less of a probability and more of a mathematical figure.
Monaco have a slightly better chance of breaking into the Champions League spots, and can even take the lead if a lot of results go their way.

Player to Watch:
Benoît Badiashile had a mixed day against Reims, and he’ll look to do better on this occasion. He’s only 19 years of age, so defensive lapses like the last one can be forgiven, but he will have to do better if Manchester United are to sign him, as certain reports suggest. Either way, he will be keen to prove his quality against Metz.

Prediction: 0-1

FC Nantes vs Nîmes Olympique

Nimes’ Togolese forward Kevin Denkey (R) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Nimes Olympique and Stade Brestois 29 on August 23, 2020, at the Costieres Stadium in Nimes, southern France. (Photo by SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images)

Across the country, 9th-placed Nantes will take on early leaders Nîmes, who aren’t forecast to stay there.

Last Results:
Nantes hosted Bordeaux for the very first match of the Ligue 1 season, which ended in a rather cagey 0-0 draw as they failed to win despite having extra man for over two-thirds of the match.
Nîmes, on the other hand, had no issues while decimating Brest 4-0 with goals from Kévin Denkey, Birger Meling, Romain Philippoteaux and Moussa Koné capped off a successful start to their season.

Nîmes carry a narrow 4-3 advantage in this sector, while two other matches ended in a draw. Last time around, however, it was Nantes who edged to a 0-1 victory.

What This Could Mean:
Nantes have a slight chance of going first if quite a few other results go their way, but their realistic hopes should be a top-four spot.
Nîmes, meanwhile, can easily cement their top spot with a win, or even a draw if some other results are favourable to them.

Player to Watch:
Kévin Denkey was tasked with leading the line last weekend after a few players in the squad had caught the Coronavirus in the buildup to the match, which was nearly cancelled. He and his side will be glad that that wasn’t the case, because the 19 year-old did his job perfectly by getting a goal and assist on the day. He’ll look to continue that sparkling form in his first Ligue 1 season.

Prediction: 0-2

Angers SCO vs FC Girondins de Bordeaux

Bordeaux’s English forward Josh Maja (L) vies with Angers’ French midfielder Baptiste Santamaria (R) during the French L1 football match between SCO Angers and FC Girondins de Bordeaux, on August 10, 2019, at Raymond-Kopa Stadium, in Angers, northwestern France. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images)

At the same time, 4th-placed Angers face 10th-placed Bordeaux, in what could prove to be an early but decisive clash in the mid-table battle.

Last Results:
Angers came away from Dijon with a 0-1 win, as Ismaël Traoré scored the winner in the 22nd minute.
Bordeaux did not see a similar result, as they played out a 0-0 draw with Nantes for the season opener with 10 men for most of the match.

Angers have a 7-2 lead in the 14 matches that these two sides have played against each other so far. The last match, however, din’t have a winner, as it ended with a 1-1 draw.

What This Could Mean:
Angers can go to the summit of Ligue 1 if they win this match by a strong margin. However, a podium spot should be considered realistic.
Bordeaux too can mathematically go to the top, but that is almost practically impossible, and they should settle for a European spot of any sort.

Player to Watch:
Ismaël Traoré was the star of the show last weekend, as he got the winning goal for Angers. More importantly, the club captain made 4 clearances and maintained a passing accuracy of 91.7%, keeping things clean at the back. The 34 year-old could help his side by repeating the trick against Bordeaux.

Prediction: 0-0

Stade Brestois 29 vs Olympique de Marseille

Marseille’s Portuguese coach Andre Villas Boas, wearing a protective mask, looks on during the French friendly football match between Nimes Olympique and Olympique de Marseille (OM) at the Stade des Costieres in Nimes, southern France, on August 9, 2020. (Photo by PASCAL GUYOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Bottom-club Brest face Marseille for Sunday’s late kickoff and the last match of the month, with an international break imminent thereafter.

Last Results:
Brest did not enjoy their season-opener, as Nîmes hit them for four goals.
Marseille were scheduled to start the season, but a Coronavirus outbreak in their squad meant that their match was postponed.

Marseille take a 4-1 head-to-head advantage into the clash, while two of the seven matches ended in a draw. The last one was won by Les Phocéens: 2-1.

What This Could Mean:
Brest cannot expect to go higher than fourth with a win, but even a top half entry should do for them.
Marseille should have similar expectations for their position after the match, however they shouldn’t be too worried about their distance from the top due to the matches they have in hand.

Player to Watch:
Franck Honorat, Brest’s most expensive signing will be keen to prove himself after a disappointing day against Nîmes, where he was brought off at half-time. He may not get the chance though, as Marseille reported three new COVID-19 cases in their staff members, so the match could yet be postponed.

Prediction: 0-1

There you have it, those are all of the fixtures for Ligue 1’s second matchday. Be sure to catch the action, and stay tuned for the review.

More in Ligue 1