Ligue 1

Five in a row for Lyon as rivals continue to struggle - Ligue 1 2005/06

Bordeaux finished second but ended up 15 points behind their championship rivals

 
1:00pm on Friday 3rd April 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Olympique Lyonnais won the Ligue 1 title for the fifth year in a row - a feat not seen at the time in the top five European leagues. The Stade Gerland club won the title with 84 points, 15 ahead of Bordeaux. Northern rivals Lille and Lens fought each other for a spot in the Champions League, with the former pipping the latter to the post.

At the other end, Strasbourg, Ajaccio and Metz suffered relegation - while all three promoted sides (Troyes, Le Mans, Nancy) avoiding the drop - the latter side even secured a place in the UEFA Cup having stormed to a shock Coupe de la Ligue title.

CHANGES

As had been the case for a while, the transfer market was largely dominated by Lyon on the back of their accumulated riches divulged from the Champions League. The big departure however was that of Michael Essien, the uncompromising Ghanaian midfielder was picked up by Chelsea against a fee of 38 million euros. He was replaced by Portugal international Tiago.

Brazilian star Fred also moved to the title holders, where he was joined by Benoit Pedretti. The other major departures were that of Patrice Evra and Emmanuel Adebayor, who both left Monaco for Manchester United and Arsenal respectively. The latter was replaced in the January window by the famed Italian striker Christian Vieri.

After several seasons, Didier Deschamps - who delivered a cup title for AS Monaco and a famous run to the Champions League final - resigned from his position at Stade Louis II. He was eventually replaced by Francesco Guidolin.

SUMMARY

Lyon were largely untroubled from the beginning, having gained the championship lead after five weeks. In fact, it was until December before the title holders suffered their first defeat of the season against Lille, who picked up an impressive 1-3 win away from home. By Christmas however, Lyon were 12 points clear of their nearest challengers.

Despite their superiority, that lead was halved by February as the champions began to wobble. This was underlined by a stunning hat-trick from John Utaka for Rennes who won 4-1 at the Gerland amidst a Champions League knockout tie for OL.

Nevertheless, Lyon eventually regained their composure to seal the title just two months later - mostly on account of the sides below them slipping up every weekend. They claimed the title on April 15, at the Parc des Princes thanks to a 1-0 win, while Bordeaux beat Lille 3-2.

Not content with their all-encompassing strength in the championnat, Lyon would go on to completely destroy Le Mans 8-1 in their final game to finalise a 15-point gap between them and Bordeaux in 2nd place.

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

Juninho

The Lyon captain wowed fans with his performances, particularly in the second half of the campaign.

MANAGER OF THE SEASON

Claude Puel

The former Monaco man won plaudits for his brand of attacking football, as Lille eventually ended the season on the podium.

YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON

Franck Ribery

The France international enjoyed a stunning season at the Velodrome which culminated in a place in France’s World Cup squad.

TOP GOALSCORER

Pauleta

The Portuguese international again dragged PSG by the scruff of their necks throughout the campaign, ending with 21 goals - 7 clear of any other player.

TEAM OF THE SEASON

COUPET; JEMMALI, CRIS, YEPES, ABIDAL; M DIARRA, RIBERY, MALOUDA, JUNINHO; PAULETA, WILTORD

MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER

Fred

Cruzeiro to Lyon

€15.6M

KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON

PSG 0-0 OM

A result which will live long in the memory for all the wrong reasons. For this edition of Le Classique, OM were incensed at the league for not being able to take their fans to Paris for the typically heated encounter. Incensed, OM left their first team at home, preferring to take their youth side to the Parc as a form of protest.

Nevertheless, the youth more than held their own, picking up a spirited draw in a match that confounded just about everyone in European football.

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