Ligue 1 kicks off with PSG in spotlight

The pressure will be on new-look Paris Saint-Germain to deliver after their money-spinning takeover by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) earlier this summer when they kick off their Ligue 1 campaign on Saturday at home against Lorient.

The Parisians have splashed out a French record €80 million during a recruitment drive with France internationals Kevin Gameiro, Jeremy Menez and Blaise Matuidi among seven new players arriving at the Parc des Princes.

PSG are also poised to finalise a €43 million move for Palermo's gifted Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore that would be the biggest transfer in French football history.

Fourth last season, narrowly missing out on a UEFA Champions League place to Lyon, and French Cup runners-up to Lille, PSG will embark on the 2011/12 campaign with serious designs on a first league title since 1994.

Coach Antoine Kombouare said that while it could take time for the new team to gel the players know what is required of them. "The arrival of the Qataris is a very good thing. They are able to invest a lot more money and the club can have superior ambitions.

"We have a team to challenge. However the arrival of a lot of new players requires time for a group to form," Kombouare told the daily L'Equipe. "The players have to understand that we've entered a new dimension in terms of means and mentality. Results are now needed," said Kombouare, adding that there was no room for error. "I know the rule. We win, I stay. We lose, I'm out."

Silverware defence for Lille
Lille's preparations to defend the league and cup crowns have been overshadowed by the Qatari revolution in the capital. Rudi Garcia's side have lost three of their key elements, with Adil Rami completing a move to Valencia, Gervinho joining Arsenal and Yohan Cabaye making an unexpected switch to Newcastle United.

They travel to fellow northerners Nancy on Saturday as Ligue 1 runners-up Marseille, who are looking to put last season's disappointments behind them, face a potentially tricky opener against Sochaux, who finished fifth. Didier Deschamps' team may have retained their League Cup crown, beating Montpellier 1-0 in April's final, but their second-place league finish belied a season in which the defending champions never hit their stride.

Marseille striker Loic Remy believes their strength lies in the fact that all the players know each other well and can pick up where they left off last season. "When I see Paris (Saint-Germain) who have undergone a total makeover, that can be positive or negative. When you know each other you have the advantage of getting down to work straight away," said Remy.

"Last year the first two matches were catastrophic (for Marseille) so you see that can set the tone for the rest of the season. A good start will do us a world of good."

Third-placed Lyon, with new coach Remi Garde at the helm, travel to Nice. Bordeaux, seventh last season, will begin the new campaign under new management as well, at home against St Etienne.

Ligue 2 winners Evian travel to Brest while the other newcomers Dijon and Ajaccio will also be looking to get off the mark against Rennes and Toulouse respectively.