The French Ligue 1 kicks off this weekend, and the question remains the same as the last; can anybody get close to Paris Saint-Germain?
It looks increasingly unlikely, but ahead of their opener against Nimes we asses if any sides could possibly spring a surprise this season and topple the dominant capital club.
PSG have strengthened over the summer with the arrivals of Ander Herrera, Idrissa Gueye and Pablo Sarabia. It could be said that the remaining sides in France have actually been weakened of the summer months, but the fact remains; PSG are aiming for European success this season and these signings highlight that.
Gueye and Herrera are defensive-minded midfielders and will strengthen an area of the pitch where PSG have struggled when they have come up against better sides. Without doubt, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar can cause problems for any defence, but if you don’t have a solid foundation, then you can’t achieve success on the continent. Success in France is a much simpler task for PSG since no other side has the quality at the manager’s disposal or the resources that PSG have, and they will probably win the division at a canter once again.
Thomas Tuchel will know that his job will likely hinge on the performances in Europe, but PSG will have to maintain their dominance domestically to ensure the German has the best chance of staying with the club in the future. PSG are currently the 0.12 favourites with BetXChange to win the Ligue 1 title, and that is an extremely difficult option to bet against. But, who could possibly challenge the runaway leaders?
Lyon finished last season in third, and Bruno Genesio paid the ultimate price for his failures by being fired. Former Arsenal full-back Sylvinho subsequently replaced him, but it’s increasingly unlikely that he can achieve the impossible and replace PSG as the leading side in France. They have lost Ferland Mendy, Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele over the summer months and how their inability to find players of the same calibre could be the aspect that lets them down. Thiago Mendes and Joachim Anderson are both decent signings, but neither are the calibre of player that could lead Lyon to a domestic title.
Expectations are high for the new season after Lyon beat Arsenal in the recent pre-season competition called the Emirates Cup, but this is undoubtedly a false dawn, and they simply have no chance of toppling PSG. However, a smart bet for punters would be Lyon finishing top without PSG at odds of 1.50 with BetXChange.
Much like Lyon, the other leading contenders for PSG’s crown have also been weakened over the summer. Marseille have lost Mario Balotelli, while Lille have lost last season’s second-highest scorer Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal. This means that the Ligue 1 title is almost a formality for PSG once again this season, but there is still value to be had in the race for the top four; with Lyon, Marseille and Lille leading the chasing pack.
There could be a renaissance for Monaco this season after a dreadful campaign last time out. Leonardo Jardim stars the season as manager again, but for fans of Monaco, they will hope that he will remain in charge for the whole season this time. The club decided to appoint Thierry Henry halfway through last season, and he almost got them caught up in a relegation scrap. However, Jardim rescued the club following Henry’s sacking, and he has strengthened the squad over the summer as they hope to get back into the Champions League places, but it is doubtful.
Ligue 1 Tip: PSG to win the title at 0.12 with BetXChange.