Ligue 1 round-up: PSG still the team to beat as Lionel Messi finally clicks

Paris Saint-Germain have won four of the last six Ligue 1 titles and are on course to successfully defend their title after an unbeaten start to the 2022-23 season.

Les Parisiens have won seven and drawn one of their opening eight league games so far, with a two-point lead between them and second-placed Marseille heading into the international break.

PSG won the title with a difference of 15 points last term and it will be tough to stop them given the form of their attacking trio.

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Nevertheless, there is a lot to play for in the French top-flight this term, and here are the results and talking points from matchday eight.

Friday, 16 September.

Auxerre 1 Lorient 3

The newly-promoted team could not keep up against Régis Le Bris’ side, and the match was done and dusted in the first-half as the visitors raced to a three-goal lead, thanks to Dango Ouattara,

Terem Moffi (who scored his sixth goal of the campaign) and Enzo Le Fee.

Auxerre attempted a comeback in the second-half, with Gauthier Hein pulling one back for them five minutes after the game restarted, but Lorient held on to all three points.

They are now third in the table after six wins, one draw and a loss, and that is as impressive as they come for a side that won just eight times last term.

Meanwhile, Jean-Marc Furlan’s side are 18th in the table, with two wins, a draw and five losses to their name.

Saturday, 17 September.

Montpellier 2 Strasbourg 1

Olivier Dall’Oglio secured their fourth win of the campaign with a hard-fought victory over the winless visitors, with Arnaud Nordin opening the scoring 17 minutes into the game with a fine header from a corner.

VAR stopped Nicolas Cozza from doubling his side’s lead just before the break, and Habib Diallo would have thought he had rescued a point for Julien Stéphan’s men with his 86th-minute equaliser.

However, skipper Teji Savanier broke their hearts in the 95th minute, converting his spot-kick to hand the hosts all three points.

The result leaves Montpellier in ninth place in the table after they lost their other four games, while Strasbourg are in 18th, with five draws and three defeats.

Lille 2 Toulouse 1

Jonathan David bagged his fifth goal of the season for the hosts to put them ahead after five minutes, but last season’s Ligue 2 winners drew themselves level through Fares Chaibi, who was scoring his first Ligue 1 goal, three minutes into the second-half.

Adam Ounas restored Lille’s lead just five minutes later with a stunning strike, though, and that result leaves Paulo Fonseca’s side in seventh place in the table after four wins, a draw and three losses.

Toulouse are in 12th place having recorded two wins, two draws and four losses so far this term.

Sunday, 18 September.

Reims 0 AS Monaco 3

Reims had their job cut out for them when they were reduced to 10 men after Bradley Locko was shown his marching orders for catching Breel Embolo with his follow-up following a clearance in the 22nd minute.

The visitors used the difference in numbers to their advantage in the second-half, as Aleksandr Golovin opened the scoring after two minutes with a fine header.

Substitute Takumi Minamino and captain Wissam Ben Yedder scored in the 87th and 90th minutes, respectively, handing Philippe Clement’s side their fourth win of the campaign.

Monaco have drawn two and lost two over games, and that has left them in fifth place in the table, while Óscar García’s side are in 17th, with a win, three draws and four losses to their name.

Brest 0 AC Ajaccio 1

The bottom two teams in the Ligue 1 table were fighting for all three points, and it was the newly-promoted side that came out on top after Romain Hamouma tapped in Riad Nouri’s delightful cross in the 65th minute.

It was a day to remember for Ajaccio goalkeeper Ghjuvanni Quilichini, 20, who made an unexpected debut after Benjamin Leroy sustained a head injury nine minutes into the game.

Brest could not get past the inexperienced youngster despite all their efforts, and their fifth loss of the term leaves them in 19th place, with just a win and two draws to their name so far.

Despite the win, Olivier Pantaloni’s men remain in 20th place having lost six games and drawn one.

Clermont Foot 1 Troyes 3

Johan Gastien bagged the opener for Pascal Gastien’s men three minutes into the game thanks to a wicked deflection, but they got three in return, with Mama Balde equalising 20 minutes later after the hosts’ defence was caught napping before putting the visitors ahead nine minutes into the second-half with his fifth goal of the campaign.

The Guinea-Bissau international turned provider for Bruno Irles’ side with seven minutes left on the clock, assisting Renaud Ripart’s goal to help Troyes secure their third win of the season.

They are now 10th in the table, with a draw and four defeats so far, while Clermont Foot are in 11th having also won thrice, drawn once and lost four.

Marseille 1 Rennes 1

Last season’s second-placed team missed a chance to go level on points with PSG, and they had to come from behind after Matteo Guendouzi’s own goal in the 25th minute put the visitors ahead.

The young French midfielder made up for his mistake by drawing his side level seven minutes after the break, and neither side could find a winner.

Igor Tudor’s men are also unbeaten this term, with six wins and two draws, while Bruno Génésio’s side have won three, drawn three and lost two, and are in eighth position as a result.

Nice 0 Angers 1

Both teams are on the same points having each won two games, drawn two and lost four, with Nice in 13th place, while Angers are in 14th.

The hosts had Jean-Clair Todibo sent off nine seconds into the game after the French centre-back brought down Abdallah Sima, and Gérald Baticle’s side made it count two minutes before the break as Nabil Bentaleb put them ahead with a worldie that left Marcin Bulka rooted to the spot.

The visitors were also reduced to 10 men after the break, with Sofiane Boufal getting his second yellow card two minutes after the hour mark for simulation.

Lucien Favre’s men could not get an equaliser no matter how hard they tried, and Angers left with all the points.

Nantes 0 Lens 0

There was not a lot of action at Stade de la Beaujoire, with both sides unable to convert their chances.

The draw leaves Nantes in 15th position after a win, three other draws and three losses, while unbeaten Lens are in fourth position, with five wins and two other draws.

Lyon 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1

Lionel Messi was the difference when Peter Bosz’s side hosted the defending champions.

The Argentine bagged his fourth strike of the season five minutes into the match to take his goal involvement to 11, and that was all Christophe Galtier’s side needed to remain top of the table.

Anthony Lopes denied the visitors with some fine saves, but the outfield players could not reward his brilliance with a goal.

Lyon are in sixth position, with four wins, a draw and three defeats to their name so far.