Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Week 1 review: The League of Talents dazzles

Publish on 12/08/2019 at 11:52


With Kylian Mbappé shining in PSG's 3-0 domination of Nîmes, France's top flight got off to a superb start, Reims' Boulaye Dia and LOSC's Victor Osimhen and also shining brightly to help their sides get off to winning starts.

Ligue 1 Conforama may have been subject to the customary outflux of uber-talented players over the summer - Nicolas Pépé (LOSC) and Tanguy Ndombele (OL) both headed across the channel in club-record moves to Arsenal and Tottenham for a combined €150m -but the Week 1 round of fixtures in France proved that The League of Talents now has another wave of promising young talent to nurture.

Mbappé means business

First and foremost, of course, is Kylian Mbappé, who was absolutely raring to go as reigning Ligue 1 Conforama champs Paris Saint-Germain dominated Nîmes Olympique 3-0 at the Parc des Princes on Sunday night. Although boss Thomas Tuchel included some new faces - recruits Abdou Diallo and Pablo Sarabia both started while Neymar remained out injured - there was an air of familiarity to the scoresheet, which saw Edinson Cavani open his account from the spot before the Mbappé show came to town.

After powerfully converting from close range after some fine work from Juan Bernat, the France star conjured a devastating assist for Angel Di Maria to round out the scoring, doing plenty to suggest that, should Neymar get his move back to Spain, the capital club will not have to look far for a driving force.

Nonetheless, Tuchel - who was full of praise for his side's high pressing and cohesive team structure - wasn't about to fan the flames of fan resentment concerning want-away Brazil star Neymar.

"The best thing," he said, when asked whether Mbappé can fill Neymar's boots, "would be to have them both playing together."

Solid start for Sylvinho

Meanwhile, in the first official match for Brazilian management tandem Sylvinho and Juninho, Olympique Lyonnais did everything to suggest that they will once again be contenders this season. Established stars Moussa Dembélé, Memphis Depay and Lucas Tousart all got on the scoresheet in a highly successful 3-0 trip to Monaco, handing new principality 'keeper Benjamin Lecomte a torrid debut.

"I'm happy with the match," said Sylvinho, not getting carried away despite some extremely sharp finishing from his attacking stars. "Because of the result I am very happy but the road is very long. What pleased me is that we were very compact defensively and that's very important in modern football."

The Brazilian's opposite number Leonardo Jardim, meanwhile, was staying circumspect.

"After the red card [for Cesc Fabregas, 30'] it was Lyon who controlled the ball. In terms of attitude my players tried to give their best. We made mistakes, big mistakes that cost the first two goals but we can also talk about a lack of attacking weight we have," said the Portuguese, who could still see star striker Radamel Falcao leave before the closure of the transfer window. "We lack the attacking impact to be more effective in the final third."

Dynamite Dia sparks victory in Marseille

An impact was exactly what 22-year-old former electrician Boulaye Dia made as he took care of the scoring duties in Stade de Reims' shock 2-0 win over André Villas-Boas' Marseille side at the Vélodrome on Saturday. Playing in the seventh division as recently as 2017, the pacy, explosive forward stunned the OM fans with a cool finish before teeing up Hyunjun Suk for the closer just a minute from time as David Guion's side gave OM's Portuguese boss a taste of what to expect in France's top flight.

"I knew Dia would trouble OM today. He has plenty of pace and he worked very hard in behind the defence. I knew he would at least create some chances, but on top of that, he was clinical and changed the match," explained Guion of his livewire forward, who is widely tipped to improve on his three goals in 18 appearances last season. "We deserved the win. It's an advantage not to have changed the squad in the summer as my players understand each other. When you are in a stadium like the Vélodrome you need to stay calm and control your emotions."

Osimhen arrives

Impressive as Dia was in disposing of OM, he was given a run for his money by Nigerian international Victor Osimhen, who lit up LOSC's clash with Nantes by hitting two superb strikes in the 2-1 win. A summer arrival from Belgian side Charleroi, the former Wolfsburg striker is still just 20 and, seemingly, set for a key role as Christophe Galtier's side look to back up last season's second-placed finish despite the departure of big names such as Nicolas Pépé and Thiago Mendes. 

"Victor was a player [LOSC sporting director] Luis (Campos) identified some time ago. He was our priority for the centre-forward role," explained coach Christophe Galtier, who saw the youngster open the scoring before bagging the winner in Nantes boss Chsritian Gourcuff's first match in charge of Les Canaris. "He is above all else a good team-mate and goal-scorer. He likes to get in behind, find space, but he also makes his presence felt in the box. We didn't have a player like him last season."

Angers, Sainté on song

Angers SCO find themselves in the upper reaches of the table after a 3-1 win over Bordeaux, Jeff-Reine Adélaïde and new signing Mathias Periera Lage both clocking a goal and an assist in the victory that left new Bordeaux boss Paulo Sousa in a tight spot despite Nicolas De Préville's having confirmed his summer form with a stunning free-kick opener early on.

Saint-Etienne had Jean-Eudes Aholou to thank for their winner in the 2-1 victory in Dijon, but it was attacking midfielder Romain Hamouma's early strike - a sublime lob that he managed to pull off despite having his back more or less to goal - that really caught the eye.

Blushes spared

OGC Nice captain Dante came up with the goods late in the piece as Les Aiglons got the better of Amiens SC 2-1, Rennes were celebrating debutant Jérémy Morel's tenth career goal after AFCON champion with Algeria Andy Delort had his penalty saved in the 1-0 win in Montpellier.

Ligue 1 Conforama's promoted sides both managed to avoid opening-day defeats, Stade Brestois 29 drawing 1-1 at home to Toulouse - for whom Greece international Efthimis Loulouris rescued a point on debut - while FC Metz took a point home from Strasbourg.

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