Lyon Struggles with Worst Ligue 1 Start in 57 Years, PSG Hungry for First Victory


Lyon, a club with an illustrious history of seven French championships, finds itself in a challenging position. The season didn’t commence as they had hoped, suffering a defeat against Strasbourg in their opener, followed by a humbling 4-1 loss at home to Montpellier, which pushed them to the bottom of the early league standings.

Adding to their woes, Lyon’s captain Alexandre Lacazette, who managed to score against Montpellier, will be absent for two matches due to a red card he received for an altercation with Teji Savanier. Bruno Blanc, the team’s coach, addressed the situation during an interview with ‘Amazon Prime’ after the game, acknowledging that changes are needed both among the players and within the coaching setup.

Bruno Blanc took over the managerial role at Lyon in October of the previous year, aiming to revitalize the team. Despite certain improvements, the team’s performance fell short of expectations, resulting in a seventh-place finish in Ligue 1 and missing out on European competitions.

The recent string of disappointing outcomes has intensified the pressure on Blanc. In response to the mounting challenges, he spoke at a press conference following the Montpellier defeat, expressing the complexities of managing a team during tough times. “While we suffered a loss, it’s important to recognize that when things aren’t done at the right moment or not done at all, consequences emerge. I’m willing to take responsibility, but it’s also important to understand that not everything is solely my responsibility,” Blanc explained.

Lyon is currently dealing with financial constraints imposed by the French football management control body, the DNCG. This has made it challenging for the club to make significant moves in the transfer window. The most notable signing has been 30-year-old right-back Clinton Mata, who arrived from Club Brugge for a fee of five million euros ($5.4 million).

Blanc emphasized that Lyon’s successful academy has always nurtured young talents, offering them opportunities to thrive. However, he noted that previous title-winning campaigns were achieved with the guidance of seasoned players alongside these promising youngsters.

Meanwhile, reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) is eager to secure their first victory of the season under the leadership of new coach Luis Enrique. As they face last season’s runners-up, Lens, at the Parc des Princes, both teams are aiming to improve their early performance, having collectively accumulated only three points so far.

Luis Enrique, a former coach of Barcelona and the Spanish national team, recognizes the pressure that comes with managing a high-profile club like PSG. He views this pressure as a privilege and a defining characteristic of professional football. Addressing his players’ mentality, he stated, “At this level, pressure is a privilege. If you’re not ready to embrace this privilege, it might be best to reconsider your involvement in professional football.”

One of the anticipated players to grace the pitch is Kylian Mbappe. After a summer of transfer speculation, he is set to start following his substitute appearance in the 1-1 draw against Toulouse.

In a different fixture, early leaders Monaco are aiming to extend their winning streak as they take on Nantes, a team yet to secure any points this season.

Takumi Minamino, a Japanese international, is a player to watch in the Monaco squad. Despite a modest goal tally last season after joining from Liverpool, Minamino showcased his abilities by scoring twice and assisting another goal in the recent 3-0 victory over Strasbourg. Monaco, under the guidance of their new coach Adi Huetter, has displayed strong attacking prowess, finding the net seven times in just two matches.

Reflecting on his improved performance, Minamino attributed it to the team’s new playing style under Huetter’s leadership. “I feel great about my performance. Since preseason and the start of the league, I’ve had positive sensations. Our new coach and his different approach to the game have played a role in boosting my performance,” Minamino shared.

Noteworthy statistics include PSG’s failure to secure a victory in any of their first three matches of a Ligue 1 season for years. Additionally, the average goals per game in Ligue 1 over the first two weekends stand at an impressive 3.17.

The upcoming fixtures include Nantes facing Monaco on Friday, Marseille meeting Brest, and PSG taking on Lens on Saturday. On Sunday, Rennes will clash with Le Havre, Clermont will compete against Metz, Montpellier will challenge Reims, Strasbourg will face Toulouse, Lorient will encounter Lille, and Nice will play against Lyon.

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