Week 7 review: Top three takes familiar form, Monaco in crisis
By S. Willis
After claiming a club-record seventh-straight win 4-1 against Reims, PSG were joined on the podium by top-of-the-table habitués OL and OM while Monaco, still winless since Week 1, slipped into the bottom three.
Paris Saint-Germain are on the brink of equalling Lille's 82-year-old record of winning their first eight matches out of the gate after Edinson Cavani struck a brilliant brace in a seventh-straight victory, 4-1 at home to promoted Stade de Reims on Wednesday.
With matches flying thick and fast at the moment, coach Thomas Tuchel fielded three ex-youth team playersand although Reims struck a shock early opener, the capital club's quality shone through as they scored three or more goals for the seventh time in a row to grow their lead atop the Ligue 1 Conforama table to eight points.
"I'm very satisfied with our intensity and possession for the first hour. We played very fast, kept it simple, and had a few key moments. We recovered the ball very quickly. That's only possible when you work together as a team," said Tuchel who, yet to taste league defeat, has helmed the club to a perfect 21 points, edging out predecessor Unai Emery, whose side claimed 19 points in the same number of matches at the beginning of last season. "We're very happy to be the team that sets this club record. It was a big goal of ours, a great motivation for us to win and put the team in the club's history books. Now we must improve in the long term."
Dembélé steps up as OL roll on
Fresh from wins over Manchester City and Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais confirmed their excellent form with a 3-0 win in Dijon that took them into second place. Although inspirational captain Nabil Fekir was out injured, new signing Moussa Dembélé stepped into the breach, scoring his first and second Ligue 1 Conforama goals to help keep his side's momentum up.
"We showed a lot of self-sacrifice and solidarity," said OL boss Bruno Genesio, who had defensive midfielder Lucas Tousart sent off (67'), with Dijon's Enzo Loiodice joining him in injury time (90'+3). "We need to win to put pressure on the championship and we've won two games in a row. We showed a very good level, especially in attack. It was a beautiful performance."
Germain the hero
Meanwhile for Marseille, who were roundly beaten by Lyon in Week 6's Olympico, it was a question of starting a run rather than extending one, and Rudi Garcia's side managed to do just that thanks to Valère Germain's winner that clinched an injury-time victory 3-2 after the lead had changed hands twice and OM's Jordan Amavi had seen red for a raised boot (52').
"This was a special match. The equaliser in the 90th minute was my team showing their pride. At that moment we were able to say 'we're at home, and even with ten men we'll try to win!'. And we did it with a magnificent goal from Valère Germain," beamed Garcia, whose side sit in third, behind OL on goal difference. "Obviously, we can do better defensively."
While this top three has a more familiar look for French football fans, there is one notable absence - Monaco. In stark contrast to rivals PSG, the 2016-17 Ligue 1 Conforama champions are enduring their worst form in eight years, now winless in six matches since the opening day of the season after conceding a first home defeat to Angers in 45 years (1-0) without mustering a single shot on target.
"It's a very difficult start to the season for many reasons: injuries, internationals, form, the pitch. But I'm not here to explain the reasons," said coach Leonardo Jardim, who gave newly signed Russia star Aleksandr Golovin his first start for the club. "Today, I'm disappointed, especially in the first half. The team didn't create, didn't play with the commitment and attitude required. There were also mistakes and misplaced passes. There was a little bit of team spirit, but we weren't dangerous."
Bordeaux, Nice on song
In the top three at the end of Week 6, LOSC now trail the Olympiques on goal difference after coming unstuck 1-0 in Bordeaux, where in-form striker François Kamano tapped home Samuel Kalu's low cross for the only goal of the game and his fifth of the season. It is the first time this season that Les Girondins, rocked by the early-season departure of coach Gus Poyet, have claimed back-to-back league wins.
Patrick Vieira's OGC Nice notched their third win of the season as Jean-Victor Makengo scored his first L1 goal to seal a 2-1 scoreline away to Nantes, whose coach Miguel Cardoso is coming under increasing pressure with four defeats and two draws and just one win in seven matches leaving Les Canaris in 19th place.
Sainté, Amiens get up
Saint-Etienne climbed to sixth as they made it back-to-back wins by edging a five-goal thriller 3-2 in Toulouse, who drop from third to seventh, while Caen fans saw a familiar but perhaps not so welcome sight as old boy Andy Delort hit his first for Montpellier in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Stade Michel d'Ornano.
Amiens got their first win since Week 3 as captain Prince-Désir Gouano nodded home to seal a 2-1 win at home to ten-man Rennes, who slip to 17th, while wooden spoon contenders EA Guingamp claimed their first point of the season by muzzling promoted Nîmes in a 0-0 draw on the south coast.