Extended Highlights - Reims 2-0 LyonOct 1
Another weekend of Ligue 1 action is almost upon us and it promises to be typically eventful at both the top and bottom of the division.
Paris Saint-Germain’s stuttering form has raised the possibility of a genuine title race, but will the champions prove too strong in the end?
We’ll be one step closer to the answer by the end of the weekend as the leaders travel to Nice.
Read on for the lowdown on the weekend's main storylines, plus information on how you can watch six Ligue 1 games live on BT Sport.
PSG out to avoid three defeats in a row
Christophe Galtier is a man under growing pressure.
The Paris Saint-Germain boss started promisingly having replaced Mauricio Pochettino in one of European football’s most demanding jobs.
But the last few weeks have proved damaging, perhaps irreparably. A Champions League exit to Bayern Munich in the last 16 was hugely disappointing for a club so desperate to win that competition for the first time.
And that elimination has since been followed by two home defeats in Ligue 1 either side of the international break.
The first, a 2-0 loss at home to Rennes, could have been dismissed as an off day, but last weekend’s 1-0 defeat to Lyon established a worrying trend.
PSG are struggling to break teams down and, despite their abundant quality in attack, look increasingly toothless, with Lens hot on their tail after beating Strasbourg 2-0 on Friday night.
Lionel Messi, who understandably appears slightly disinterested having won the World Cup, has been criticised by sections of the club’s fanbase and Kylian Mbappe hasn’t been scoring with his usual frequency.
Neymar is injured, too, which has only compounded the French champions’ issues.
It doesn’t get any easier for Galtier and his players. Next up is a trip to Nice, unbeaten in 12 Ligue 1 games. The last four of those have been draws, but Didier Digard’s side are as combative as any in the division.
Anything less than a victory for PSG and the pressure will be cranked up another level.
Balogun still catching the eye at Reims
Will Still may have become an internet meme, but Folarin Balogun is starting to earn just as many admirers as Reims’ precocious manager.
The 21-year-old forward, on loan from Arsenal, has 17 goals to his name in Ligue 1 and is only two behind top scorers Mbappe and Jonathan David.
He impressed again last weekend, registering an assist as Reims secured an impressive 3-0 victory at Nantes.
If they qualify for European competition this season - a very realistic aim given their form and current league position - the club in north-east France will be indebted to the Arsenal loanee, whose future looks unquestionably bright.
Whether Balogun will return to Arsenal and break into the first team remains to be seen, but the Premier League leaders will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on his progress in France.
Reims host struggling Brest this weekend, a game they will expect to win. Keep a close eye on Balogun, who is seemingly growing in confidence with each appearance.
Lethal Lacazette looking to fire Lyon up the table
From an Arsenal loanee to a former Gunner, Alexandre Lacazette has been back to his prolific best for Lyon in recent weeks.
The 31-year-old has scored eight goals in his last 10 appearances and, like Balogun, now has 17 to his name in Ligue 1 this season.
He’s on course for his best goalscoring campaign since 2016-17, when he netted 28 league goals in his first spell at Lyon.
Clearly, Lacazette thrives in Ligue 1 and his excellent form of late has coincided with an upturn in fortunes for Laurent Blanc's men, who put together a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions - including a 1-0 win at Paris Saint-Germain - up until their elimination by Nantes in their Coupe de France semi-final meeting on Wednesday.
Lyon still have an outside chance of qualifying for next season’s Europa Conference League, but to do so they will need to beat sixth-placed Rennes on Sunday. If they manage it, Lacazette is likely to be instrumental again.
Monaco and Marseille in battle for Champions League football
With Lens surpassing expectations and harbouring genuine ambitions of chasing down Paris Saint-Germain, there is another storyline emerging at the top end of the Ligue 1 table.
Marseille, currently occupying third, are three points ahead of Monaco, who themselves have a five-point lead over Lille in fifth.
Essentially, then, there are three teams - Lens, Marseille and Monaco - fighting it out for two Champions League spots (assuming PSG don’t collapse completely).
And it could be an intriguing battle between Marseille and Monaco, two clubs with real pedigree in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
Both are in action on Sunday: Monaco have the advantage of playing earlier as they travel to lowly Nantes, before Marseille make the trip to mid-table Lorient.