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Ligue 1: Five things to take from the opening weekend

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C'est fini! The first weekend of the Ligue 1 2013/14 season is over and there are plenty of talking points from the ten opening matches.

Here are five things we learnt from the opening weekend of the French championship: 

1. Monaco mean business

It may have taken until the 83rd minute for their first Ligue 1 goal of the season, but Monaco certainly impressed against the Coupe de France winners Bordeaux on Saturday night.

Eric Abidal captained his side of multi-million euro transfers to a comfortable 2-0 victory at a packed Stade Chaban Delmas, with 

It was the perfect start for Claudio Ranieri's side; a difficult three points against a side that is expected to challenge for European spots and that won the cup last season.

The victory also demonstrated the perfect mix of the new expensive signings with the promotion-winning players as Rivière, who joined in January and helped the side to the Ligue 2 title, came on for €45 million signing James Rodríguez and scored the needed goal. The star signing Radamel Falcao then doubled the score four minutes later to seal the three points.

If Ranieri's side can continue to gel like this and earn away victories then they will certainly be challenging for Champions League spots next May.

2. PSG needn't worry yet

The champions may have only taken a draw away from Montpellier on Friday night, but manager Laurent Blanc would have seen many positives in his side's performance, especially in the second half.

Montpellier's goal was down to a lucky bounce and a sublime finish from Remy Cabella, but apart from that tenth minute strike, PSG rarely looked like conceding. 

Sure, there were areas in defence that could do with some work, but this generally looked like a side that knew how to keep the opposition out.

Any signs of weakness in this side were up front, where only Zlatan Ibrahimovic looked like a threat to the Montpellier goal in the first half. The Swede assisted the second goal and must have enjoyed the arrival of Edinson Cavani in the 71st minute.

With both Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani up front for the final 20 minutes - not to mention only ten home players on the field - PSG looked like scoring, but were unlucky not to find a way through.

Blanc can expect a much better performance and result next week against AC Ajaccio to really kick-start the title defence.

3. It's not just Monaco that have announced their arrival

While most of the summer chatter has been focused on Ligue 2 champions Monaco, little has been said of FC Nantes - a team that has impressively won the top division eight times and which earned promotion back to the top flight last season.

25,000 came out to see the former champs beat SC Bastia 2-0 in a bad-tempered match that saw both sides have a man sent off in the second half. Nantes were already ahead by then thanks to a Filip Dordevic strike with a good assist from fellow striker Serge Gakpe.

The home side then sealed the victory thanks to an own goal in the final minute.

Although SC Bastia are not expected to be anywhere near the top half of the table this season, this was a good showing for Nantes and sent out a message to the rest of the league that the Stade de la Beaujoire will be a difficult place to visit.

If that 12th man can keep their support up all season, Nantes might just be able to avoid relegation.

4. The good old teams are still alive and kicking

Lyon and Marseille may have been covered in PSG's shadow in the last couple of seasons and now even in that of Monaco, yet two of the most successful teams in French football (with 17 titles between them) got off to good starts.

Lyon thumped Nice at home 4-0 on Saturday night, while Marseille beat newly promoted Guingamp away from home on the Sunday.

While these games may not have been much of a test, it does see the pair sitting near the top of the table at this early stage. Paris and Monaco will soon be right there with them, but it does look like these two giants of French football will be competing with the money sides throughout the season.

5. Let's watch Lille

Lille have been tipped by a few as a team to watch this season and may be a dark horse in the race for that last Champions League spot. The northern side have a new manager in Rene Girard, who famously won the title for Montpellier two seasons ago.

The club finished sixth last season and expect an even higher placing this campaign with their new manager.

Although they have lost world-class players over recent seasons, such as Eden Hazard and Gervinho, this squad is good enough to challenge for a European spot and got off to the perfect start this weekend with a toughly earned three points against Lorient thanks to a 1-0 win.

Divock Origi got the goal, but there are many other talented players on this Lille side too, from lead-by-example captain Rio Mavuba to ex-Chelsea man Salomon Kalou. A good start was what they needed to gain confidence and now that they have that they could well push on.


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Topics:
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Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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