For Nice, it was always going to be a tough season. Having lost manager Lucien Favre, key losses in personnel in the forms of Alassane Plea, Maxime Le Marchand and Jean Michel-Seri meant things were always likely to be difficult for new gaffer Patrick Vieira.
There’s solace in the club retaining Mario Balotelli for at least another season, but the most important reading right is the league, where, after three games in, Nice are in 18th place, winless, having scored just once and conceded six times.
Yet the problem for the side that finished eighth last season is that their first real test is in week four, when they visit Lyon.
Lyon are not in the most buoyant mood themselves, having lost Mariano Diaz to Real Madrid, and seeing a move for Celtic’s Moussa Dembele stall, but at least Les Gones have two wins from three and are in fourth place. Bruno Genesio’s side are likely to represent the biggest challenge so far for a Nice side that have failed to hurdle past even the smaller ones.
But a win at the Groupama stadium for Patrick Vieira and his charges could prove to be the boost they need to kick-start their season. A defeat, and surely crisis talk comes into play.
Meanwhile, Monaco and Marseille, respectively second and fourth last season, will go head-to-head in what will be the first heavyweight clash of the campaign, both sides just a place below one another in the current table.
Paris St. Germain, top of the current table, have a trip to new boys Nimes, who lie in fifth, just three points off the champions.
Elsewhere, Bordeaux travel to Rennes, bottom Guingamp have a home game against Toulouse, Nantes, looking for their first win, have a trip to Strasbourg to look forward to, while Lille hope to continue their upbeat start to the season as they visit pointless Angers.
Lyon v Nice
Nimes v PSG
Angers v Lille
Guingamp v Toulouse
Strasbourg v Nantes
St. Etienne v Amiens
Rennes v Bordeaux
Marseille v Monaco
Reims v Montpellier
Dijon v Caen
Image Credit: Sun UK