The under-performing heavyweights in the French top flight will hope to follow the example set by the resurgent France national team when Ligue 1 resumes this weekend.
Lyon, Bordeaux and champions Marseille, who between them have accounted for every French league title since 2002, have just three wins between them and are all currently languishing on four points after four games of the season.
The trio were not helped by injuries and suspensions to key players as the league resumed in the shadow of the World Cup, but the treatment tables are beginning to clear as the 2010-11 campaign enters its second month.
Marseille, currently 10th on goal difference, host Monaco on Sunday and are expected to be able to call on the services of their France internationals Mathieu Valbuena and Andre-Pierre Gignac.
Winger Valbuena turned his ankle in France’s 2-0 victory against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday, while Gignac is yet to feature since his close-season move from Toulouse due to an ankle injury of his own.
Both should be fit for the visit of last season’s beaten French Cup finalists, but centre-back Souleymane Diawara (thigh) and Gignac’s fellow new recruit Loic Remy (groin) are both out.
The arrivals of Gignac and Remy brought to an end a turbulent transfer window for Marseille and president Jean-Claude Dassier has revealed that coach Didier Deschamps and sporting director Jose Anigo have resolved their differences after clashing over player recruitment.
“Jose and Didier spoke a fortnight ago. That allowed them to clear up any misunderstandings,” Dassier told Thursday’s edition of L’Equipe.
“They told each other what they think of each other. It’s fine.
“Even though the birth was a bit stressful, the baby is in good health. He has colour in his cheeks.”
Lyon are likely to have a fresh look for their home game with Valenciennes on Saturday.
Michel Bastos (hamstring) and Lisandro Lopez (Achilles) are both in contention to start after overcoming injuries, while centre-back Pape Diakhate may make his debut following his loan move from Dynamo Kiev.
Diakhate’s arrival suggests Lyon will call time on their attempt to convert Jeremy Toulalan into a central defender, following a number of wobbly displays from the France international holding midfielder.
“Toulalan needs to get some things out of his system,” said coach Claude Puel, who will hand a home debut to 22-million-euro new boy Yoann Gourcuff.
“He’s very important in our squad. We want him to get back to his best.”
Lyon’s defensive sector remains depleted by a spate of hamstring injuries.
Centre-back Cris and left-back Aly Cissokho are currently unavailable, and the seven-time champions have moved to address the problem by appointing former Ivory Coast physiotherapist Alexandre Dellal as their new fitness coach.
Bordeaux travel to Nice on Sunday, having begun life after Gourcuff with a 1-1 draw at home to Marseille in their last league outing.
“We have to build on our current momentum and win points away from home,” said Bordeaux reserve goalkeeper Kevin Olimpa.
Toulouse currently lead the division after winning their first four matches and they have already opened up an eight-point lead over Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux.
Alain Casanova’s team host Saint-Etienne on Saturday, while second-placed Rennes — four points behind Toulouse — take on Sochaux and Lille visit near neighbours Lens in the 107th Derby du Nord.
Saturday (1700GMT unless otherwise stated): Auxerre v Caen, Lyon v Valenciennes, Montpellier v Nancy, Paris Saint-Germain v Arles-Avignon, Rennes v Sochaux, Toulouse v Saint-Etienne, Lens v Lille (1900GMT)
Sunday (1500GMT unless otherwise stated): Brest v Lorient, Nice v Bordeaux, Marseille v Monaco (1900GMT)
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