Ligue 1: New Challengers to PSG Dominance


PSG have real Ligue 1 competition

Back-to-back French trebles for Paris Saint-Germain have proven to observers of French football that only one club really matters when it comes to silverware.  Even without the Zlatan, PSG has an enviable amount of talent.  Captain Thiago Silva is not the world’s best defender like he arguably was in 2012-2014 but he still holds an average rating of 7.38 on and is mentoring the world’s best young center back in fellow Brazilian Marquinhos.

Young midfielders Marco Verratti (24) and Adrien Rabiot (21) are fulfilling the promise that they have had for years and Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani is the current leader in goals with eighteen goals in eighteen games.  With the wide gap in talent, the Ligue One table has been easy to predict who will end up on top in recent seasons with ho-hum trebles expected from the only world-class side.

That all could be changing.  PSG sits in third at the moment and are in a three-way battle for the title with Monaco and Mario Balotelli’s squad, Nice.   Monaco, who in recent years have watched their owner have the most expensive divorce in the history of the planet and have had their club’s tax-haven advantage revoked, all while failing to attract an average of ten thousand fans to their games are the team in France with second strongest amount of talent as Falcao is returning to his goal-scoring ways with twelve in fourteen games and a handful of young players like Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar are making things difficult at the top for the champions the past four seasons from Paris.

While it may be too late for this season as they currently sit fifteen points behind Monaco, Marseille are planning to win this January’s transfer window, not just in France but in all of Europe.  Marseille’s new American owner Frank McCourt –  who no baseball fan will remember fondly for nearly running the L.A. Dodgers into the ground before selling them for $2 billion dollars in the biggest franchise sale in sport – is intent on buying French national team players, Yohan Cabaye from Crystal Palace and a disgruntled Dimitri Payet from West Ham to lead this latest Marseille renaissance.

This past week also introduced new ownership for Lille as businessman Gerard Lopez took over at Eden Hazard’s former club.  His first task is keeping the 2011 League champions out of the relegation zone but if he can manage to do that, he also has his eye on helping Lille compete for trophies going forward.  This level of competition in France is good for the sport and despite their current run of league titles, the Qatari owners recognize the need to have PSG be part of a strong league.

Next: 5 clubs that should sign Dimitri Payet

When the broadcasting contract for Ligue One comes up for renewal in 2020, it will help to have multiple teams fighting for the title instead of the previous seasons where the wealth behind PSG made only one outcome seem possible as far as the champion of French football was concerned.