Still plenty to be decided in the final Ligue 1 weekend
The Ligue 1 season is coming to close on Saturday, with one more round of fixtures to be played. Most of the significant places in Ligue 1 have already been decided. PSG won their ninth league title in 11 years and will be joined by RC Lens in the Champions League group stage next fall. Marseille has finished third, meaning they will play in the third qualifying round of the UCL.
At the bottom, Troyes, Ajaccio and Angers will all be demoted to Ligue 2, something that was already established several weeks ago. One more team will join them in the second tier in 2023/24. Furthermore, the final two European places are up for grabs among four teams.
Here is a look at what is left to be decided in Saturday’s last round of games, and the permutations for the teams involved.
European football: Lille (66 points), Rennes (65), AS Monaco (65), Lyon (62)
Four teams push for the last two European spots in what will be a fascinating round of play.
Courtesy of a late Jonathan David goal last week, Lille heads to relegated Troyes knowing a win will take them into the Europa League. Les Dogues will qualify for Europe if one or both of Rennes and Monaco drop points. If they draw and one of Rennes or Monaco wins, then it will be Europa Conference League football for Lille.
A defeat would leave them out of Europe if Monaco wins and Rennes avoids defeat, since the latter would have a better goal difference. If Rennes wins and Monaco draws, it would practically be assured Lille will finish sixth on goal difference.
Rennes takes on Brest away, with a win securing them a place in Europe. A win plus a Lille falter will put Les Rouge et Noirs in the Europa League. A draw, along with a Lille defeat and Monaco dropping points would also do the trick as Rennes has the best goal difference of the three. If all three teams collect the same number of points, or if Rennes draws, Lille wins and Monaco does not, then Rennes will enter the Conference League.
For Monaco, given their inferior goal difference to the other two sides, they need to collect more points than at least one of Lille or Rennes to play in Europe. If they get a win at home to Coupe de France winners Toulouse, while the other two do not, it will be Europa League football for Les Monegasques. If they pass just one of the other two, it will be a spot in the Conference League’s playoff round in August.
While Lyon can still finish tied on points with both Rennes and Monaco, it is virtually impossible for l’OL to pass the pair. They would have to beat Nice away by a massive margin, while Rennes would have to lose heavily, and have Monaco lose as well. That would leave them in a Conference League place.
A quick note: there remains the possibility that Toulouse, who defeated Nantes in the cup final, could miss out on Europe. This is due to them having the same owners as AC Milan. Since UEFA has strict rules on multiple clubs under the same ownership qualifying for Europe, Toulouse could miss out for this reason.
Should Les Violets do so, fifth spot would be good for a Europa League berth, while sixth place would result in UECL football in the summer.
Relegation battle: Auxerre (35), Nantes (33)
One more relegation spot is still to be sorted out between Auxerre and Nantes. The pair are separated by just two points going into Saturday’s action.
An Auxerre win versus league runners-up Lens will assure the Burgundy club a spot in Ligue 1 for 2023/24. The only way for Baptiste Malherbe’s men to go down is by dropping points while Nantes wins. Auxerre’s place in the league will also be secure if Nantes does not win.
Les Canaris is in a position of real bother. Victory over relegated Angers is needed, plus an Auxerre draw or defeat, for Nantes to remain in Ligue 1. The Coupe de France finalist will go down if they do not win, and/or Auxerre picks up three points. It would be a remarkable fall for Nantes, who enjoyed Europa League football this season. But they will need to come up with the goods when it matters most.