Ligue 1

PSG emphatically reclaim Ligue 1 title - Ligue in 1 2017-18

 
12:00pm on Wednesday 15th April 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

Paris Saint-Germain spent big to ensure that the Ligue 1 title returned to the capital after the exploits of Monaco the season prior. They not only captured Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record fee, but took Kylian Mbappe from Monaco and combined with Edinson Cavani obliterated the competition, scoring 108 goals in the process.

Monaco were once again their closest challengers, but sold off too many of their key players from the previous season, while a resurgent Lyon finished third.

CHANGES

PSG shocked the world when they announced the world-record transfer of Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million, and also brought in the best young talent in the world, Mbappe, which significantly weakened their closest domestic rivals, Monaco. Dani Alves was also brought in on a free transfer from Juventus.

Monaco’s attempt to retain their title was compromised early, as they lost Mbappe, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva (both to Man City) and Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea). They did invest some of that income well, however, acquiring Keita Balde, Youri Tielemans, Stevan Jovetic, and Pietro Pellegri, a youngster who joined in January having previously starred in the first half of the campaign for Genoa in Italy.

An interesting managerial move saw Nantes employee Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked by Leicester after guiding them to the Premier League title.

SEASON SUMMARY

PSG started superbly, winning eight of the first nine matches, with Neymar settling well at his new club. October saw one of the best matches of the season, when PSG drew 2-2 against Marseille at the Stade Velodrome thanks to an injury-time equaliser from Edinson Cavani. The Parisiens were able to destroy teams and grind out wins in equal measure, and their first defeat didn’t arrive until Strasbourg defeated their stars 2-1 in December.

Monaco were dropping points far too regularly, and PSG never seemed in any particular danger. Their dominance was solidified courtesy of a comprehensive 7-1 victory versus Leonardo Jardim’s side at the Parc des Princes, a result that undermined the competitiveness of the competition.

Monaco were more concerned with Champions League qualification, as Lyon and Marseille fought hard to chase them down. The trio spent the majority of the campaign swapping places below PSG, and it made for some intense clashes.

Ligue 1 Player of the Season, Neymar

Within the space of six weeks, Monaco demolished Lyon 6-0, but then surrendered to a 3-2 loss versus Marseille, and the back and forths would continue until the final day.

With three teams and only two places available Marseille required a slip-up from Lyon to reach the Champions League, who were in turn hoping for defeat from Monaco. In the end, all three teams won as Monaco defeated Troyes 3-0, Marseille narrowly beat Amiens, while Lyon - just - squeezed past Nice 3-2. A marvellous second-half hat-trick from Memphis Depay drove them to victory – and the Champions League, meaning Marseille - who would reach the Europa League final - just missed out.

At the bottom it proved an awful season for Troyes and Metz who both suffered relegation. Toulouse survived by the skin of their teeth in the relegation play-off against Ajaccio, while Lille, who were champions just a few years previous, secured safety by a point.

In one of the most bizarre incidents anywhere in Europe, PSG were taking on Nantes only for the referee, Tony Chapron, to be accidentally tripped by Diego Carlos. The referee promptly stood up and attempted to kick Carlos, before showing the Nantes player a red card!

AWARDS

PLAYER OF THE SEASON

PSG may have purchased the Brazilian superstar for Champions League success which is yet to arrive, but for the first two-thirds of the season at least, he was imperious.

MANAGER OF THE SEASON

UNAI EMERY

Emery had to deal with dressing room factions and egos and ultimately shaped the team into a largely coherent unit.

TOP GOALSCORER

EDINSON CAVANI - 28 GOALS

Twenty-eight goals for the Uruguayan as he continued to run over the weaker Ligue 1 teams with ease.

TEAM OF THE SEASON

MANDANDA; ALVES, MARQUINHOS, SILVA, MENDY; VERRATTI, GUSTAVO, FEKIR; NEYMAR, CAVANI, MBAPPE

GOAL OF THE SEASON

MALCOM cuts in from the left-hand side and takes advantage of the space ahead to rocket an unstoppable left-footed strike into the top corner off the post.

MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER

Neymar

Barcelona to PSG

€222m

KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON

Paris Saint-Germain announcing the signing of Neymar - a transfer which shook football to its core and redefined the value of players.

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