Is Ligue 1 Improving or are PSG in Decline?
Ever since the Qatar Sports Investment company waltzed into Paris, with their dream of global football domination and a huge sack of Euro’s at their disposal, PSG have been the dominant force in French football.
Since that takeover, PSG have splashed out close to half a billion Euros on playing staff. Some of those signings have been better than others, all of which have been ranked in this article by Squawka. Whether successful or not, they have played their part in PSG’s domestic success, as they have won four straight Ligue 1 titles, as well as three League Cups and two Coupe De France triumphs.
Last season, PSG finished the season with a 31 point lead over second placed Monaco – who were closer to the relegation places than they were to catching the run-away champions. Whilst PSG have thrived since their takeover, the rest of the teams in Ligue 1 have become stagnant.
This infographic published by BWIN compares six of Europe’s top domestic divisions. On average, Ligue 1 has the least goals per game, the least percentage of matches where both teams scored and the largest percentage of 0-0 or 1-0 results. Ligue 1 may have the highest number of different teams to finish in the European qualification places, but does that mean the league is more competitive, or does it indicate the lack of sustained quality and consistency for the teams expected to challenge PSG at the top of the table?
The current Ligue 1 table suggests we could be in for a more interesting domestic campaign in France this season. Unbeaten Nice sit top of the table, with Monaco and PSG joint-second, six points adrift of the leaders after eleven games. Does this change in fortunes for the champions suggest Ligue 1 is finally regaining some much-needed competitiveness, or are PSG just starting the season slowly? Sadly, for fans of French football, the correct answer is probably the latter.
Unai Emery was brought in to replace Laurent Blanc, after enjoying great European success during his stint in charge of Sevilla. But the ambitious young Spaniard has struggled to get PSG firing on all cylinders and disappointing away defeats to Toulouse and Monaco have left the French giants languishing behind surprise package Nice. The loss of influential captain Zlatan Ibrahimović was a blow, but they still boast enough attacking fire power to cruise to the Ligue 1 title once again.
Maybe Emery just needs a bit of time to implement his tactics and the squad needs to adjust to the loss of their captain and record goal-scorer. Once they do, I doubt it will take them very long to overhaul Nice at the top of table and Ligue 1 will return to its familiar state of mundane predictability.