Ligue 1 has basically turned into a league of two tiers; PSG, and everyone else. The Qatari owned Death Star now looms large over French football and they continue to be fully armed and operational. The gulf between the eleven time champions, with four in a row, and the rest of the league is vast and doesn’t look to be shrinking much. The fact that nine of their eleven titles have come in the past ten seasons should be a good indication of how hard they have become to stop.
PSG are once again picked to win the league, betting against them could be a costly affair, and their stable of international talent make it obvious as to why. Kylian Mbappé and Neymar, arguably two of the world’s top five players, make a horrifying attack that can shred any defense on the right day. If there are any chinks in Thomas Tuchel’s armor, it might be the aging nature of the team. The knock on PSG is that they often skip on letting their wonderkids into the senior squad and favor the transfer market, but Tuchel has shown some willingness to let high-end prospects like Xavi Simons into the squad. The team is still full of players just beyond their peak, but the Qatari owned club will likely have a sell off followed by a massive spending spree in the next few years.
The real battle, or at least the one with the most openings for intrigue, is for the Champions League slots. The race for second and third is likely a four team race with Lyon, Marseille, OSC Lille, and AS Monaco capable of taking the slots. That being said, Lyon and Marseille are the most settled sides with the best odds of making the tournament. Lyon’s Rudi Garcia is probably in the better position of the two with some higher end talent on hand and a few exciting youngsters if needed. Houssem Aouar has avoided being sold and anchors an exciting midfield with Bruno Guimarães. Recent addition Evander adds some high end depth to the midfield that only strengthens Lyon’s chances. James Rodríguez makes him way over from Everton after only a year in England and creates the potential for an exciting attack. The only knock on the squad is a lack of a dependable striker, ever since Victor Osimhen departed they have only been able to enjoy the massive pile of cash. Marseille lack the big names but they have a solid squad for the newly appointed Michael Laudrup to work with. Their back line looks very good with Duje Caleta-Car, Maxime Lopez, Berat Djimsiti, and Serge Aurier forming their core. Much like PSG they are getting a little old, but they have a number of young players ready to come up and contribute to the senior squad.
LOSC Lille and new manager Filippo Inzaghi have mostly youth on their side with a few very exciting players they will be lucky to hold on to for the next few years. Boubakary Soumaré was signed for free from PSG in 2017 and never looked back, the midfielder is Lille’s best player and will need to play that way if they have any chance of making the Champions League. Feel good story Renato Sanches seems to have revived his career after a sad spell at Bayern Munich and looks like the player everyone thought he could be. AS Monaco, to be blunt, are a mess. They have a talented squad but things are so bad with management that they apparently almost hired Thierry Henry a second time before thinking better of it and going with Niko Kovač instead. The Croatian has some good players on hand, but the team has gone through so many managers since Henry left that they lack stability. They could be the biggest threat to Lyon and Marseille if they can get things together.
Things drop off rather sharply after that group with a muddle of teams that will struggle to stand out. RB Paris would like to think they are in that group, but most have picked them to finish at or near the bottom of the league. Just staying up will be a minor accomplishment.
Joining RB Paris near the bottom of the league is Toulouse, RC Lens, and Dijon FCO. Toulouse and Dijon should feel a little hurt that the media has picked them near the bottom, Toulouse finished 14th last year and Dijon has steadily improved since finishing 18th in the 2018-19 season. RC Lens, much like RB Paris, is low-hanging fruit since they earned promotion last year. A dark horse candidate for relegation is Stade Rennais FC after they sold off €76M in talent, including Eduardo Camavinga, and didn’t replace it. There could be an opening for them to struggle.