Ligue 1 fixtures preview for matchday three

We preview this weekend's Ligue 1 fixtures including Renato Sanches' return to Lille with Christophe Galtier, while Arsenal loanees Nuno Tavares and Folarin Balogun each look to make it three goals from three.

Published: 19 August 2022 - 2.26pm

The new Ligue 1 season is only two games old, but already there is an abundance of talking points at the top and bottom of the table. 

Ahead of the latest round of fixtures, we take you through each of the upcoming matches and tell you how you can watch them live on BT Sport. 

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Lyon vs Troyes: Friday 19 August, 7.45pm on BT Sport 1

Depending on your perspective, Lyon come into this encounter fresh or rusty.

Les Gones' clash at Lorient last weekend was postponed due to an unsafe pitch at the Stade du Moustoir, meaning they haven't played since beating newly promoted Ajaccio 2-1 in the opening match of the season on 5 August. 

The performances of Brazilian forward Tete and the returning Alexandre Lacazette offered great encouragement, but Anthony Lopes' sending-off for poleaxing Mounaim El Idrissy means Remy Riou is set to make his full debut for the club in goal. 

Troyes are still searching for their first point of the campaign after running Montpellier close on the opening day before being swept aside 3-0 at home by Ligue 2 champions Toulouse, where individual sloppiness and slack marking severely cost Bruno Irles' men. 

Lyon have won the last nine meetings between the sides and it's hard to see that number not ticking into double figures.

Monaco vs Lens: Saturday 20 August, 4pm

Monaco picked up a phenomenal 28 points from their final 10 league games last season and despite losing mercurial talent Aurelien Tchouameni to Real Madrid, the club have recruited smartly, bringing in the intense-pressing defensive midfielder Mohamed Camara from Red Bull Salzburg and dynamic centre-forward Breel Embolo from Borussia Monchengladbach, along with Takumi Minamino and Malang Sarr from Liverpool and Chelsea respectively. 

The principality outfit have four points from their opening two games, with their last match being a creditable 1-1 draw against Champions League-chasing Rennes having spent the vast majority of the contest down to 10 men following Youssouf Fofana's straight red. 

Fofana's suspension means Camara could be in line for his debut as Philippe Clement's side aim to avoid defeat on home soil for the first time since 27 February. 

Lens boast the joint-top scorer in the league so far in Florian Sotoca (three goals), although all of those came in the opening-weekend clash against Brest, when the Blood and Gold led 3-0 before being forced to hang on for a 3-2 win. 

Their latest match was a goalless draw at Ajaccio, and Franck Haise will hope his charges can replicate their 2-0 victory from last August at the Stade Louis II.

Marseille vs Nantes: Saturday 20 August, 8pm on BT Sport 3

Marseille fans would have been forgiven for entering this season with a degree of trepidation.

Jorge Sampaoli's departure in the summer over a lack of summer transfer activity rocked the club, while the loan returns of Amine Harit and William Saliba and the sale of highly rated defensive midfielder Boubacar Kamara to Aston Villa left notable shoes to fill.

However, the replacement of Sampaoli with Igor Tudor - who made Hellas Verona's one of Serie A's most entertaining sides last season - is an intriguing move, and the board have significantly backed the new boss since then, recruiting the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Granada's Luis Suarez and Arsenal left-back Nuno Tavares on loan.

Tavares has been a relevation, producing eye-catching strikes in both the 4-1 win over Reims and the 1-1 draw at Brest, while Suarez hit the ground running on his debut with a double. 

Nantes' relative lack of recruitment and the loss of instrumental players from last season like Randal Kolo Muani, Wylan Cyprien and Willem Geubbels means that matching last season's ninth-placed finish seems a stretch. Their opening two games against Angers and Lille both produced draws. 

Strasbourg vs Reims: Sunday 21 August, 12pm on BT Sport 1

Strasbourg were the surprise package of last season, finishing sixth, a nine-place improvement on 2020/21. 

It was their best campaign for 42 years in France's top flight, but they have had a tough start to this campaign, losing 2-1 at home to Monaco before drawing 1-1 at Nice. 

The transfer window has been a quiet one for Julien Stephan, with defensive reinforcements the order of the day, but crucially, none of the team's four goalscoring threats - Ludovic Ajorque, Habib Diallo, Kevin Gameiro and Adrien Thomasson - have yet departed the Stade de la Meinau.

Meanwhile, after a steady 12th-placed finish, Reims must urgently address frailties at the back. 

The Red and Whites have conceded four against both Marseille and Clermont and despite Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun providing some postivity with two goals in as many games, shipping four goals in 26 minutes to a Clermont side who were tipped to struggle is a massive cause for concern, with Emmanuel Agbadou suspended after picking up a red card at the weekend for dragging down Komnen Andric. It's hard to look past a home win. 

Folarin Balogun celebrates scoring his penalty for Reims against Clermont (Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images)
Folarin Balogun's form has been a rare bright spot for Reims so far this season (Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images)

Angers vs Brest: Sunday 21 August, 2pm

A meeting of two sides who have yet to record a victory between them so far this season.

Angers' goalless draw at home to Nantes was followed by a test of their mental strength as they trailed 2-0 at newly promoted Auxerre before recovering to claim a draw (helped somewhat by a second yellow card for Lassine Sinayoko).

The loss of the creative Angelo Fulgini, along with left-back Enzo Ebosse, winger Jimmy Cabot and teenage centre-forward Mohamed-Ali Cho will need some adjusting to and Gerald Baticle will no doubt be content just to keep the team up. 

Another of the departures, midfielder Mathias Lage, has joined this weekend's opponents, with the Frenchman set to make his third start in succession for Brest since joining. 

Michel Der Zakarian's men played superbly to come back and earn a point against Marseille courtesy of Pierre Lees-Melou's thunderbolt and will be looking to add a "1" to their wins column this weekend. However, Brest have failed to win in their last five meetings against the Black and Whites. 

Clermont vs Nice: Sunday 21 August, 2pm on BT Sport 1

Clermont were the first side to feel the wrath of Christophe Galtier's Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 as they were handed a 5-0 thrashing on their own patch. 

However, losing convincingly to a global footballing heavyweight does not accurately reflect the state of the team and although Pascal Gastien's men then trailed 2-0 at Reims courtesy of two spot-kicks, they responded in stunning fashion after the hosts went down to 10 men, with Komnen Andric's brace, Muhammad-Cham Saracevic's lovely curling effort and Jeremie Bela's emphatic strike securing the win. 

Following the departures of key men like talisman Mohamed Bayo, defensive midfielder Salis Abdul Samed, centre-back Cedric Hountondji and right-back Akim Zedadka, the Lancers were among the favourites for relegation.

Much will depend on Andric's ability to replace Bayo's goals, but if he can do that, Clermont should be just about fine. 

Nice opened their account this season with two draws against Strasbourg and Toulouse, with debutant Aaron Ramsey coming off the bench to score within a minute of entering the field. 

The good thing for new boss Lucien Favre is he has retained attacking talents Andy Delort, Amine Gouiri and Kasper Dolberg, although seeing Justin Kluivert return to parent club Roma wasn't ideal. This should be a tight encounter. 

Komnen Andric heads home Clermont's opener at Reims (Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images)
Komnen Andric's goals will be crucial to Clermont's hopes of staying up (Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images)

Montpellier vs Auxerre: Sunday 21 August, 2pm 

Like Clermont, Montpellier felt the full force of a rejuvenated PSG as they were defeated 5-2 at the home of the champions, a week after squeezing past Troyes 3-2. 

Olivier Dall'Oglio's men will certainly need to sharpen up defensively, but they have a wealth of exciting attacking options, the most pivotal of them being captain Teji Savanier. 

The 30-year-old is one of Ligue 1's most technically accomplished players and he signed a new contract until 2026 in the summer, since scoring in the last two matches. 

With livewire Elye Wahi staying at the Stade de la Mosson and La Paillade bringing in Saint-Etienne pair Arnaud Nordin and Wahbi Khazri, they could be a mouthwatering proposition.

Auxerre have faced some tough tests on their return France's top table for the first time in 11 seasons, thumped at Lille 4-1 before squandering a two-goal lead at home to Angers.

Lassine Sinayoko misses out after receiving a second yellow in that latter contest and could be replaced by new signing M'Baye Niang, tipped for great things after joining Milan at 17 and going on loan to a few clubs, including Montpellier, before losing his way. Can he finally find a home to showcase his talent aged 27?

Teji Savanier celebrates scoring for Montpellier against Troyes (Sylvain Thomas/AFP via Getty Images)
Teji Savanier is Montpellier's inspiration and has signed a contract until 2026 (Sylvain Thomas/AFP via Getty Images)

Toulouse vs Lorient: Sunday 21 August, 2pm

Toulouse have taken on the challenge of remaining in Ligue 1 with relish after winning Ligue 2 in style last term. 

Rhys Healey led the way with 20 league goals, while Branco van den Boomen, Rafael Ratao and Ado Onaiwu also notched up double figures. 

The southern France outfit shot out of the blocks against Nice, scoring early through young Dutch signing Thijs Dallinga and could have added to their tally before the visitors' equaliser.

Philippe Montanier's men then pounced on Troyes' defensive disorganisation to blow away their hosts, with Ratao and a fine individual effort from Healey following Yasser Larouci's own goal. 

Lorient were among the favourites to fall through the trap door heading into the campaign, but they secured a shock victory at Rennes in the Derby Breton before their home game with Lyon was called off. 

However, they still badly need to strengthen in attacking areas having scored the joint-fewest in the top flight last season. 

Rhys Healey celebrates after scoring Toulouse's third goal against Troyes (Francois Nasimbeni/AFP via Getty Images)
Rhys Healey got off the mark in Ligue 1 with a fine solo strike at Troyes (Francois Nasimbeni/AFP via Getty Images)

Rennes vs Ajaccio: Sunday 21 August, 4pm on BT Sport 3

Rennes were France's most exciting side last season. Their 82 goals was second only to PSG's 90 as Martin Terrier, Gaetan Laborde and Benjamin Bourigeaud bagged 44 league goals between them. 

Four points from their last nine ultimately cost them a Champions League place, but Bruno Genesio has retained his front three and brought in Arthur Theate and Tottenham's Joe Rodon to bolster the defence, as well as signing 20-year-old forward Arnaud Kalimuendo, who scored 12 league goals for Lens last season. 

The Red and Blacks would have liked a better start - losing at home to Lorient before drawing at 10-man Monaco - but expect things to click sooner rather than later. 

Ajaccio's incredible defensive record got them up last season - they conceded just 19 goals - and that solidity has been replicated in the top flight, losing 2-1 at Lyon and drawing 0-0 at home to Lens. 

However, they badly need attacking options to bolster a low-scoring frontline. A home win looks a strong bet. 


Lille vs PSG: Sunday 21 August, 7.30pm on BT Sport 2

The most mouthwatering eagerly anticipated clash has been saved until last. 

Renato Sanches returns to the place he called home for three years, just over two weeks after leaving the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Sanches scored on his debut in the 5-2 win over Montpellier and is back in familiar territory along with Christopher Galtier, who masterminded Lille's against-all-odds 2020/21 title triumph before upping sticks and moving to Nice, guiding the Eagles to an impressive fifth place.

Now in the capital, he seems to have allowed a team of megastars to express themselves fully after a subdued spell under Mauricio Pochettino, with Neymar and Lionel Messi having started the campaign in ominous fashion (although the Brazilian has reportedly fallen out with Kylian Mbappe over suspicions that the Frenchman asked for him to be sold over the summer). 

Lille will need to find a way to stop PSG scoring five for the third game in succession, but they have also shown that they can pose a threat themselves. Jonathan David hit two in the season opener against Auxerre, while Remy Cabella bagged two assists. 

That 4-1 victory was followed by a battling 1-1 draw at Nantes and should Paulo Fonseca's men pull off a result here, murmurings about a return to Champions League football will get louder. Expect fireworks.