Paris Saint-Germain, seeking only their third title and first since 1994, and Lyon are setting the pace in the league after both posted key away successes on Saturday. PSG have spent the years since their last title in the doldrums, save for occasional domestic cup success, but their repeated lack of success in qualifying for the lucrative UEFA Champions League has left the capital club with a financial gulf to bridge.
However, Peguy Luyindula's opener and further goals from Mevlut Erding and Christophe Jallet were enough to send Antoine Kombouare's Parisians joint top with Lyon following a 3-2 win at Valenciennes, for whom Siaka Tiene and Rudy Mater were on target. Lyon, dethroned by Bordeaux last season after seven unbroken years at the top of the tree, raced past Auxerre 3-0 with Jean-Alain Boumsong, Jean II Makoun and Miralem Pjanic all finding the net for Claude Puel's side, who steamrolled Anderlecht in their UEFA Champions League qualifier first leg.
Saturday underlined once again how Lyon's revamped side has recovered from the loss of the championship title after their seven-year streak and they joined PSG on seven points from three games despite being unable to call on injured Argentinian talent Lisandro Lopez, who is making fans forget about Karim Benzema, now with Real Madrid. Lopez had to miss out due to a groin strain after turning in a hugely impressive showing against Anderlecht.
Marseille are away to Rennes in the late game as they bid to leapfrog both of their rivals into pole position. The former European champions won their first two matches and a third success on a roll would propel them two points clear.
Elsewhere, Nancy lost their early leadership of the table as they slid to a 2-1 loss at modest Le Mans. Monaco, shocked 4-0 last week at Nancy, got back on track with a 2-0 home win over Lorient.
There is no respite for former giants Saint Etienne, who slumped at their Geoffroy-Guichard stadium to promoted Boulogne 1-0 for a third loss in as many outings. On Sunday, Bordeaux, with two wins under their belt, will seek to keep up their 100 per cent start with a home win over Nice, while Grenoble face promoted Lens and Lille take on Toulouse.