Week 4 review: PSG stay perfect as OM win thriller
Reigning champions PSG racked up another handy win to carve out a three-point lead atop the Ligue 1 Conforama table while Marseille pulled into fifth after a dramatic late 3-2 win in Monaco.
In a week that featured no fewer than seven away winners - more than in the first three rounds combined - Paris Saint-Germain came out on top once again, beating promoted Nîmes 4-2 and pulling three points clear of surprise early-season performers Dijon and Toulouse atop the Ligue 1 Conforama table.
Capital club coach Thomas Tuchel once again tinkered with his formation, opting this time for a 4-2-3-1, and although his side allowed themselves to be caught at 2-2 after going two goals up, all three of Tuchel's MCN stars - Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr, and Edinson Cavani - plus Angel Di Maria got on the scoresheet in what ended up a resounding win.
"I'm happy with the result," said the German tactician, who saw Mbappé sent off in the final minute for lashing out following a dangerous tackle from Téji Savanier, who also saw red. "We showed our commitment in the first half but also had difficulties in the second. I warned my player this week about the intensity of Nîmes' game. We must always be focused against this kind of opponent. We never panicked. It was a difficult match in a difficult atmosphere and on a horrible pitch, but Paris deserves its victory."
Monaco old boy does the job for OM
Sunday night's headline match between AS Monaco and OM at the Stade Louis II also had plenty of ups and downs, with the visitors taking the lead before two individual errors from World Champion stopper Adil Rami helped Monaco to go 2-1 up. The power of coach Rudi Garcia's bench was then evident as Florian Thauvin, still short of full match fitness, came on and struck before former Monaco man Valère Germain nodded home the winner in injury time.
"This was a great win as it came away to Monaco, who are playing in the Champions League and who are shooting for a top-three finish," declared Garcia, whose side climbed to fifth, five points shy of eternal rivals PSG, while Monaco slipped to 13th. "This OM side is fantastic, because the lads have real character. But in future we can't afford to gift goals that way. [New recruit Kevin] Strootman landed on his feet and was a real stabilising influence in midfield."
Dijon, Toulouse in top three
Meanwhile Dijon maintained their grip on second place despite tasting defeat for the first time this season, 2-0 at home to SM Caen. The Normandy side were without a win heading into the match, but strikes from Enzo Crivelli and Claudio Beauvue - back in France on loan from Celta Vigo - saw Fabien Mercadal's side leap-frog Monaco into 12th.
Despite losing Jean-Clair Todibo to an early red card, Toulouse sat on their first-half lead to keep EA Guingamp - who are enduring their worst-ever start to a Ligue 1 Conforama season - pointless and slide into third, while fourth-placed LOSC came unstuck 1-0 away to an Angers side who gladly snapped up their first win of the season.
Balotelli boost as Nice hand Vieira first win
The weekend began with a shock as OGC Nice claimed the first win of Patrick Vieira's tenure as coach, 1-0 away to Olympique Lyonnais. Les Aiglons looked ominous in attack with Mario Balotelli making his first appearance for the season, but it was the irrepressible Allan Saint-Maximin who hammered home a deflected shot to clinch the historic result at the Groupama Stadium.
"We worked hard to get the three points and it's good for morale," said Vieira, who side climbed out of the drop zone (17th) with the win. "Mario Balotelli did us a lot of good. He transmitted his desire to win to his teammates. He's an important player for the team."
Rennes - who presented new signing Hatem Ben Arfa to Roazhon Park faithful before kick-off - claimed a second win of the season, 2-0 over Bordeaux, while Montpellier had a stunning strike from Ambroise Oyongo to thank for their 1-0 win in Reims.
Saint-Etienne remained the only side other than PSG maintain an unbeaten start to the season as they held out for a 0-0 draw at home to Amiens SC, while FC Nantes finally gave new boss Miguel Cardoso a first win, Argentine striker Emiliano Sala hitting the winner in a 3-2 thriller away to RC Strasbourg Alsace.