From Marseille where André Villas-Boas started in Lille in reconstruction, Ligue 1 resumed this weekend, but everything will turn, once again, around the Paris SG and his star Neymar, who could play against Nimes Sunday (21:00).
. The mystery Neymar
An injury to an ankle made him miss the Copa America with Brazil. A suspension deprived him of the Trophy of Champions with PSG. This time, it's the right one: Neymar, restored and relieved of all punishment, should take his place.
But in recent weeks, marked by his desire to return to Barcelona and his club to no longer suffer events, have soiled the red carpet that had unfolded since his arrival in 2017.
The new sports director Leonardo has not closed the door, but he awaits an offer to the excess of the price paid by the PSG two years ago (222 million EUR). On the other hand, Kylian Mbappé said he wanted Ney to stay.
Will play, will not play? The end would be close if the Brazilian, who has played no time during preparation, is forgotten by coach Thomas Tuchel. But his tenure could be seen as a sign of relaxation. It will also monitor the reaction of the Parc des Princes.
. Villas-Boas, the hour of truth
In Marseille, opposite Reims Saturday (17:30), it is a new cycle that starts with the coach Villas-Boas, responsible for rebuilding after a disappointing fifth place under Rudi Garcia. Like his new club, the Portuguese technician has a lot to prove, after a year and a half unemployed since leaving China.
He will rely on a team rather close to that of last season, reinforced by defender Alvaro Gonzalez, but deprived of forward Dario Benedetto, who returns from injury. "I think we have quality and if we can stay with this group, without (other) sales, we can reach the podium, our main goal," says AVB.
. Lille, win without Grandpa
Nicolas Pepe gone to Arsenal, it's a huge gap that coach Christophe Galtier will have to fill in attack. Against Nantes Sunday (15:00), he will have a first indication of the state of his troops and, more broadly, the ability of his team to defend his status as vice-champion.
The eyes will be focused on the Turkish Yusuf Yazici, the most expensive rookie of the club (EUR 16.5 million), which should rub shoulders with Jonathan Ikoné and Jonathan Bamba. The young Timothy Weah and Victor Osimhen could also have their say ...
. Derby in Strasbourg, party in Brest
First team to have resumed the competition, because of preliminary rounds of Europa League, Strasbourg hopes to play on his emerging automatisms to beat Metz in a derby still boiling at the Meinau, Sunday (17:00). Unless the promoted mosellans take advantage of the fatigue of the Alsatians, who played in Ploviv Bulgaria Thursday (1-0).
Back in the elite after six years of absence, Brest wants to maintain its good momentum against Toulouse on Saturday (20:00), while their Breton rivals Rennes move to Montpellier, deprived of his rookie Teji Savanier, victim of a sprained at one knee.
Laurent Koscielny, just recruited from Arsenal, is uncertain with Bordeaux in Angers. Saint-Etienne, who hopes to keep his place in the top 5, will have to take points in Dijon.
© 2019 AFP