Can Koscielny and Bordeaux cut the mustard in Dijon?
Arsenal legend Laurent Koscielny has settled in quickly at Girondins de Bordeaux, and is looking to lead the side past Dijon FCO on Saturday and back into the upper echelons of French football.
Dijon FCO - Girondins de Bordeaux
Bordeaux coach Paulo Sousa has endured a difficult start to his career at the Matmut Atlantique, averaging just 0.73 points per game since taking the job in March, but in Koscielny - a 51-time France international who won five major honours in nine seasons with Arsenal - the Portuguese tactician has acquired a slick defensive operator.
Les Girondins lost 3-1 to Angers SCO on the opening day, but they looked significantly better on Koscielny's debut last Saturday, holding last year's sixth-place side Montpellier Hérault SC to a 1-1 draw, and the 33-year-old centre-back thinks there is better to come.
Watch: Highlights of Bordeaux's 1-1 draw with Montpellier
"I'm doing everything I can to get back to the top," he said after an assured performance from the heart of a back-three, flanked by Pablo and fellow new arrival Mexer. "I'm happy with my first game and that the team picked up a point. I hope to blossom here in my final years in football, and that my experience and leadership is positive for the squad.
Koscielny will look to get another 90 minutes under his belt at the Stade Gaston Gérard on Saturday, then, while English youngster Josh Maya is pushing to start further forward after coming off the bench to find the equaliser against Montpellier. Yacine Adli (thigh) and Vukasin Jovanovic (knock) are sidelined.
Whilst Bordeaux have been linked with a loan move for AS Monaco midfielder Youssef Aït Bennasser, Saturday's opponents Dijon have concluded a deal for his Moroccan international teammate Hamza Mendyl, the left-back signing a season-long loan deal from Schalke.
Watch: Highlights of Dijon's 1-0 loss to Toulouse
Les Rouges, who only ensured their Ligue 1 Conforama survival thanks to a relegation playoff victory over RC Lens in June, have lost their opening two games by a single goal - 2-1 to AS Saint-Etienne and 1-0 at Toulouse FC - and Sousa's opposite number Stéphane Jobard is looking for more additions further forward.
"Zero points from two games is complicated," lamented the Dijon coach after Jean-Victor Makengo had decided the game rather against the run of play at the Stadium de Toulouse last Saturday. "But I have reasons to be satisfied. I think we're simply missing on capitalising on our best moments with goals. I'm optimistic because I think we approached the game with the right spirit."
Dijon have not beaten Bordeaux since a 3-2 win in December 2017. Without a win against Saturday's visitors in four games since, their cause is not helped by the absence of midfielder Jordan Marié, who has a foot injury.
Dijon: Runarsson; Alphonse, Coulibaly, Écuélé Manga, Menzyl; Amalfitano, Ndong; Baldé, Jeannot, Sammaritano; Tavares
Bordeaux: Costil; Mexer, Koscielny, Pablo; Sabaly, Otavio, Basic, Benito; de Préville, Kalu; Maja