The 2014-15 campaign was an exciting season by French football’s often low modern standards.
PSG defended the league title for the first time in their history, losing just three of their 38 games. They finished eight clear of Lyon, who enjoyed a successful campaign. Below them, there were just six points separating the next three sides in what would turn out to be an unusually close race for European football.
There were several changes both on and off the field, particularly at the top sides. No less than 7 teams changed managers towards the end of the previous campaign, with Marseille, Monaco, Lyon and Bordeaux bringing in fresh blood. Marseille in particular, opted for the boisterous and unpredictable Marcelo Bielsa in what was then lauded as a coup for French football.
Monaco meanwhile had begun a period of austerity, in stark contrast to their wild spending just 12 months ago. Claudio Ranieri was jettisoned despite a solid 2nd place showing in les Monegasques’ first season back in the top-flight. His two stars were both quickly moved on too. James Rodriguez departed for Real Madrid in a high-profile post-World Cup move, while Falcao was also shipped to Manchester United, curiously on loan however.
Monaco’s forced stop on their project was largely attributed to a costly divorce surrounding club president Dimitri Rybolovlev. Nevertheless, they did spend relatively wisely - bringing in Bernardo Silva on a permanent deal, Aymen Abdennour and Tiemoue Bakayoko - players who would play an integral part in Monaco’s surprise run to the Champions League.
The early part of the season began to Olympique de Marseille, who under Bielsa exploded into life with eight straight victories from Week 3 to Week 11, equalling a club record. With the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet, OM soared to the top, being at one point seven clear of PSG before a winter bump brought them closer to their rivals.
Nevertheless, it was OM who topped the table at the halfway stage before the customary Bielsa drop in form. A catastrophic four consecutive defeats - including the first Clasico at the new Velodrome to PSG (2-3) - not only put paid to a first title in 5 years, but also the Champions League qualification.
Taking up the mantle from an OM side running out of steam was Lyon at first, with Alexandre Lacazette racking up the goals at Stade Gerland, before they too fell to the wayside. In the end, it was PSG who led the way - only from mid-April - as the experienced league champions mastered the run-in to claim the title with two games to spare.
Elsewhere in Ligue 1, Saint-Etienne continued their high-flying form, finishing 5th - on goal difference - after conceding just 30 goals. At the bottom, RC Lens and Metz quickly returned to the second division - while Evian TG, who came from amateur football to the top-flight in just 4 years, suffered relegation and thus beginning the equally fast route to liquidation a year later.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Lacazette was named best player - with his tally of 27 goals in 33 games ensuring victory in the top scorers’ chart.
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
2014-15 proved to be the breakout season for the young Lyon starlet. The 21-year-old scored 13, assisting 9 more to beat Antony Martial, Marquinhos and Morgan Sanson to the gong.
The young French international scored 27, assisting 5 more in his 34 games to claim the award, beating last season’s winner Zlatan Ibrahimovic (19).
TEAM OF THE SEASON
MANDANDA; JALLET, T SILVA, LUIZ, MAXWELL; VERRATTI, PASTORE, PAYET; LACAZETTE, IBRAHIMOVIC, FEKIR
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Julien Palmieri (for Bastia v PSG)
The left-back’s superb strike for Bastia in a memorable 4-2 win against PSG in January 2015 was voted the goal of the season.
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Chelsea to PSG
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
A scintillating game, the first under the new Stade Velodrome roof saw PSG all but end Marseille’s title hopes, while taking them to the top spot in Ligue 1. They would stay there for the rest of the season.