Ligue 1 Preview, Week 5: New Signings In, International Break Over

Joe Cole talks to the media after the England training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Ligue 1 gets back to it on Saturday after a week off and the addition of some shiny new toys for several teams. Who made out best on deadline day? We'll begin to find out this week.

After a full week to rest up and ease their new signings into the squad (or in the case of some teams, remove all traces of players sold off to avoid depressing the poor saps left behind) Ligue 1 returns. The transfer window actually treated France pretty well, all things considered, and all eyes (or at least the eyes of fans of English football that don't tend to pay attention to anything not directly connected to the Premier League) will be on Lille as new signing Joe Cole makes his debut for the defending champions.

Saturday

AC Ajaccio vs. Valenciennes

Time: 17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Ajaccio shook off a tough loss in the opening week of the season to pick up back-to-back solid results, a 1-1 draw with Lyon (at Stade de Gerland, no less) and a 1-1 draw at home to a surprisingly decent looking Évian side. That probably led some folks to ask whether Ajaccio was better than they'd thought, but those people probably felt like total morons when the Corsican side was stomped by a fairly pedestrian Auxerre team. Valenciennes probably aren't as bad as they've looked so far this season, but they also lost to-and were shut out by-Caen, so they don't really get the benefit of the doubt just yet.

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Caen vs. Toulouse

Time: 17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Toulouse looked great through their first three games of the season, but in Week 4 they had to play a team that isn't terrible and, despite things coming down the wire, were beaten by two goals. Meanwhile, I hope Caen enjoyed their brief stay in the top half! They can tell their kids and everything. Good for them.

Pick: Toulouse, 2-1

Dijon vs. Lyon

Time: 17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Lyon has yet to lose - amazingly one of only two teams in Ligue 1 about whom that can be said - but they haven't been especially convincing, either; still, they've got as much talent in the squad as any team in the league (assuming you ignore Pastore because lolwut) and Dijon is a team they should grind into a tangy, creamy, white wine-kissed paste.

Pick: Lyon, 4-1

Sochaux vs. Lorient

Time: 17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Lorient cashed in on a few players this summer, spent the money on youth, bolstered the squad with some solid loan signings and keep right on ticking. They're like a poorer, slightly more adorable Lyon (before Lyon totally abandoned everything they did that made them good in the first place) and they'll probably end up right around where they were last year. Sochaux's season to this point has been hilariously inconsistent, but they'll score goals and allow goals so this should be fun to watch one way or another.

Pick: Draw, 2-2

Bordeaux vs. Évian TG

Time: 17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Évian is almost certainly going to end up being relegated this season but as of yet, they've been playing some pretty nice football and until their relegation becomes a mathematical certainty they're a whole lot of fun. Any team playing top-flight football in a very respectable league with four players on their squad who don't even have Wikipedia pages is a team worth pulling for. 

Pick: Bordeaux, 3-2

St. Etienne vs. Lille

Time: 17:00 CET/1:00 PM ET

Easily the biggest move of deadline day in Ligue 1 was Lille's signing of Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole on loan. English players don't tend to leave the domestic leagues and if they do, it's typically going to be to a big club in Italy or Spain, not a French side that, despite being defending Ligue 1 Champions, are far from a traditional powerhouse. And while Cole has enjoyed a pretty excellent career so far in England, until he does it on a pleasant evening under clear skies at  Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, I'll remain skeptical.

Pick: Lille, 3-1

Marseille vs. Rennes

Time: 19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

Marseille has been pretty poor so far this season, and at times they've been shockingly boring to watch as well. Rennes haven't been all that great either, despite sitting near the top of the table, but they score a lot of goals and their defense is clownshoes, so this might help to make Marseille look at least vaguely entertaining.

Pick: Marseille, 3-2

Sunday

Nancy vs. Auxerre

Time: 15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

Nancy has been pretty terrible so far this season and it's nearly impossible to imagine them being as bad as they've looked; they'd better hope that's the case at least, because if not they're going to get relegated. Auxerre has been better but it's still tough to call them a lot better than mediocre.

Are you excited yet?

Pick: Draw, 1-1

Montpellier vs. Nice

Time: 15:00 CET/11:00 AM ET

Through four games, Montpellier has amassed 28.1% of last season's goals scored total. Through the same number of games, Nice has scored twice.

Pick: Montpellier, 2-0

PSG vs. Brest

Time: 19:00 CET/3:00 PM ET

After winning two straight, PSG appears to be done trolling the rest of Ligue 1. Brest, meanwhile is about as exciting as those frozen peanut butter sandwiches they gave you when you forgot your lunch in elementary school.

Pick: PSG, 2-0

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