Paris Saint-Germain, the usual king in France, have not taken off yet after 15 fixtures. The equality in the Ligue 1 is huge among the teams on top of the table and, added to the irregularity from the current champions, has turned out into a very exciting competition. This way, the options for the European spots are multiple and the battle for them will last until the end.
Candidates for Europe in the Ligue 1:
Lille and PSG have are on the first two spots of the table, which are the ones that allow for a direct access to the Champions League. ‘Les dogues’ have proved that they are a reliable team and with multiple resources. They know how to adapt themselves to their rivals and have a group of young players with a bright future ahead of them. Mike Maignan, Sven Botman, Renato Sanches, Yusuf Yazici and Jonathan Bamba are the ones who stand out the most.
The most part of the squad has potencial and quality. Christophe Galtier has done an amazing job since he arrived to the club in the 2017-2018 season. They ended on the second spot in the 2018-2019 and they finished only one point away from the Champions League last season when the Ligue 1 was cancelled in March. All this signs make us to believe that they will fight again for an European spot this season.
PSG are the favorite ones to win the title. In this case, due to the fact that their played the Champions League final against Bayern Munich and also participating on the current edition have not given them too much time to prepare the new season. Short preseason, tight schedule and some injuries have been obstacles on their path. This way, the feelings on their game have not been positive so far. Some outcomes such as their defeat against Lens, Marseille, Mónaco and Lyon; or the draw versus Bordeaux are just a few examples of their negative dynamic.
Neymar Junior is the lifeguard of the team, their best player and also their leader. However, Thomas Tuchel is in the spotlight. Their poor performance shown in the Champions League and the Ligue 1 have put them in trouble. Despite this fact, he still has time to turn their season over.
Rudi García´s team had managed to keep an excellent run of victories after beating PSG. hHowever, their last draw, where they conceded a goal in the 93th minute against the Stade Brestois cut their streak. They have also beaten Monaco so far and drawn against Lille and Marseille. This way, they are getting good outcomes in direct games. This streak contrasts with their last season´s scores, when they finished on the 7th spot. In fact, the Frenchman coach had been criticized despite his excellent job in the champions League. However, their defensive work this year could calm the crowd.
Among the reasons for their good performance, one of the main ones is the fact that they are not playing any European tournament. This is allowing them to have more rest and to count on more time to prepare for Ligue 1 games. In addition, the good moment of some players like Denayer, Guimarães or Depay is boosting the team. No doubt that if nothing changes dramatically, Lyon should return to Europe next season.
Olympique de Marseille is another French team on an excellent shape. André Villas-Boas has made his team a tough one to be beaten. In fact, they could be at the top of the table if they won all their pending meets. However, the club is dealing with a problem with the goal and they usually win their games with a short lead. Maybe this could be a handicap for them in the long run if they are unable to keep their solid defense.
Among their strikers, neither Darío Benedetto or Valère Germain are regulars. However, Florian Thauvin is the one who stands out the most forward. The Frenchman, along with Dimitri Payet and Boubacar Kamara is a key pilar for the team. Time will dictate how far Marseille can get, but they are a solid candidate for Europe.
Montpellier, Rennais, Lens and AS Mónaco are some f the teams that could end close to the Europa League spots. Angers, Stade Brestois and even Nice are also around, but it seems that the main candidate is Niko Kovač´s club. Is the one with the best squad in this group and, moreover, they are showing excellent game performances. However, they are still a team that are going through a rebuild process. After two very poor years at Monaco, the Croatian-German coach has the goal of turning them into a competitive team.
The outcomes are proving that it is still early to battle for higher goals in France: they fell against Rennes, Lyon, Lille and Marseille. Even so, their victory versus PSG showed that they are heading towards the right direction. This way, their objectives should be in the long run.
All this clubs are contributing to a very exciting Ligue 1 and all of them count on very attractive players on their squads that make the games to be fun. Furthermore, many of them have the potential to shine in Europe as well. No doubt that this is the right season to enjoy French football.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.