There were always going to be problems. Right from the moment Monaco were thrilling the rest of Europe on their way to the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2017, it seemed inevitable that the squad would get disbanded by the the continent’s big guns.
And so it proved, the summer of 2017 saw four key players, and, despite Les Monegasques finishing in second place, they were far off from their previous side, a disappointing showing in Europe emphasising that.
This summer, more key departures happened, and they’ve began the Ligue 1 season with one win and two defeats from four games. Monaco lie in 13th place, already eight points behind leaders Paris St. Germain, after a mediocre start. Early days, of course, but being this far off the champions, however embryonic the season may be, is a cause for concern. Perhaps a sustained title challenge this term is expecting too much, but a trip to third-placed Toulouse this weekend is one that has the look of winnable and must-win.
PSG, meanwhile, aim to continue their sprightly start as they host St. Etienne this weekend. Thomas Tuchel’s side are four for four so far this season, and are inevitably favourites to get the better of Les Verts.
Elsewhere, Marseille, having got that big win at Monaco right before the international break, will more than fancy their chances of consecutive victories as they host bottom and pointless Guingamp.
Lyon travel to Caen, Lille hope to continue their bright start to the season as they visit Amiens, while Nice will hope their win at Lyon sets the tone for improvement as they host Nantes.
Bordeaux, still far from crisis-free, host Nimes, second-placed Dijon host third from bottom side Angers, and Nantes hope for two wins on the bounce as Reims come to town.
Nice v Rennes
PSG v St. Etienne
Dijon v Angers
Amiens v Lille
Montpellier v Strasbourg
Caen v Lyon
Toulouse v Monaco
Bordeaux v Nimes
Nantes v Reims
Marseille v Guingamp