Ligue 1

Ligue 1 2015-16: PSG steamroll opposition to claim fourth title in a row

 
3:11pm on Thursday 10th October 2019
By
Martin Macdonald

The 2015-16 campaign would prove to be a one-sided affair from the first week to last, as Laurent Blanc delivered PSG’s fourth league title in a row, with the capital club not knocked off the top for the entire season. The Parisiens were however, unable to break the 100-point barrier, ending the season with 96 points and 30 wins from their 38 encounters. They finished 31 points clear of Lyon, who despite being 2nd, were closer to 19th.

CHANGES

There was only one managerial change in pre-season, as Rene Girard was swapped for Herve Renard at Lille. But you only had to wait until week one to see the first managerial casualty. Marcelo Bielsa quit Marseille during the aftermath of his side’s opening league defeat to Caen in sensational scenes at the Velodrome.

Franck Passi took over on an interim basis, before Real Madrid legend Michel was hired. The Spaniard would last less seven months and without a home win in that time before Passi once more took over, leading OM into a French Cup final.

On the transfer front, PSG signed several players - the headline being Angel di Maria from Manchester United. The Argentine arrived against a check of €63 million, with PSG also signing Layvin Kurzawa and Serge Aurier.

Monaco’s lauded 2014-15 team was dismantled for significant money, but they were unable to use it wisely. Ivan Cavaleiro and Adama Traore were signed for a combined fee of €29 million.

Elsewhere, French clubs outside of PSG continued to largely spend within their means, with the only transfer of note being the return of Mathieu Valbuena to French football, this time to Lyon and not Marseille which later caused some significant controversy when the two sides met at the Velodrome.

SEASON SUMMARY

Unlike the previous campaign, there was no continuous change in the top position as PSG quickly established their superiority at the top of the table. Laurent Blanc’s side were unbeaten in the first half of the campaign, dropping only 6 points - the draws against Bordeaux (h), Reims (a) and Angers (a) denying them a perfect record

They ended the year already 19 points clear of Monaco in 2nd, with promoted Angers and Caen occupying the final Champions League spot by Christmas. In a surprising turn of events in French football.

Ligue 1 Player of the Season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The champions in recent years - Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Bordeaux and Lille all found themselves in the bottom half of the table in December, with critics lamenting the gulf in riches between PSG and the rest, which evidently had been clearly apparent in this particular year.

Lyon and Lille rallied however in the 2nd part of the season, the former pipping Monaco to automatic Champions League qualification courtesy of a thumping 6-1 win at the new Parc OL in May of that year. Nice, thanks in part to the rejuvenated Hatem Ben Arfa, secured a European spot with a respectable 4th place.

Despite confounding critics with their stubbornness, tiny Gazelec Ajaccio - the smallest team ever to make the top-flight were relegated, despite accruing 37 points. Toulouse stole survival on the final day with a stunning free-kick from Yann Bodiger to win 3-2 at Angers, a result which went viral thanks to coach Pascal Dupraz’s emotional rallying of his team.

AWARDS

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC

The Swede was once again named player of the season with his 38 goals propelling PSG to their sixth title overall. He beat Marseille’s Lassana Diarra, Nice’s Hatem Ben Arfa and team-mate Angel di Maria to the award.

MANAGER OF THE SEASON

LAURENT BLANC

Despite receiving criticism for his tactics in the Champions League defeat to Man City, he was named Manager of the Year once more for masterminding PSG’s stroll to the title.

TOP GOALSCORER

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC - 38 GOALS

Ibrahimovic once more collected the top scorer award with 38 goals in a season where he also became PSG’s all time top scorer.

TEAM OF THE SEASON

MANDANDA; AURIER, SILVA, LUIZ, MAXWELL; VERRATTI, DIARRA, MATUIDI; DI MARIA, IBRAHIMOVIC, BEN ARFA

GOAL OF THE SEASON

PIERRICK CAPPELLE'S stunning strike for Angers against Guingamp in week 28 proved to be a hit with voters.

MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER

Angel Di Maria

Manchester United to PSG

€63m

KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON

Troyes 0-9 PSG: Laurent Blanc’s men wrapped up the title in mid-March, the earliest such occurrence in years with a record-breaking victory against the relegated side.

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