It was Lille who prevailed against a stubborn Saint-Etienne side to claim a place in the Champions League, while Lyon were consigned to the Europa League alongside their Rhone rivals. Marseille, who endured a miserable season finished 6th, but could not qualify for Europe with cup winners Guingamp guaranteed a place in the continental competition.
At the other end, OGC Nice survived by the skin of their teeth, joining former champions Montpellier and Guingamp on 42 points, just two ahead of Sochaux who suffered relegation. They would be unable - to this day - add to their now beaten record of seasons in the top-flight.
There were plenty of changes heading into the 2013-14 campaign, not least by AS Monaco who announced themselves back into the top-flight with a stunning double coup of James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao. The latter, a goalscoring hot-shot for Atletico Madrid was wanted by all the major sides in Europe, but instead opted for the newly promoted side in the principality.
The pair were joined by Joao Moutinho, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lacina Traore as Monaco sought to make a splash on the domestic stage, before setting themselves up for a tilt at the Champions League.
Their richer rivals in the north were not to be outdone however, as PSG signed Edinson Cavani from Napoli, as well as Marquinhos from AS Roma.. Lucas Digne and Yohan Cabaye were also brought in to add a domestic feel to the Qatari project as the owners began a serious push at the Champions League trophy.
The only serious deals of note outside the top two were the arrivals of Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet from Lille to Marseille, while Saint-Etienne sold star striker Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to Borussia Dortmund. Rudi Garcia, double winner with Lille just three years previously moved on to AS Roma at the close season.
AS Monaco were pretty much all the rage heading into the season given their transfer outlay, and Claudio Ranieri’s men did not disappoint in the early stages.
It would be November before they tasted defeat at the hands of Lille, doing superbly well in the early part of the season with wins against Marseille and Lyon and a highly creditable 1-1 draw away to PSG in what was dubbed as ‘the Cashico’.
Looking back, it was a high number of draws which ultimately denied the principality side the title, but they were bettered by a PSG team who themselves came good on their own sizeable transfer outlay with 89 points from 38 games.
Rene Girard, who led Montpellier to a surprise league win in 2012 managed a Champions League qualification with Lille at the end of a satisfactory campaign for them based on a solid defence and a rather uninspiring attack.
They were largely lauded for the way they managed continental qualification without star man Dimitri Payet, who was sold to Marseille. The man they thought would replace him had promptly decided to join him there too.
While Marseille were in the Champions League, they became the first former champions to secure approximately 0 points in the group stage. Elie Baup, the much maligned coach was promptly sacked after a 1-0 defeat to Nantes in December, and with no apparent successor on the radar, it was left to sporting director Jose Anigo to take the team towards the end of the season as OM spluttered over the finish line in 6th.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Ibrahimovic won the Player of the Season award in his second campaign in France, leading PSG to the title with a return of 26 goals.
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
In what was regarded as a surprise victory, it was Girard who claimed the managerial award - defeating the managers who finished above him (Laurent Blanc and Claudio Ranieri).
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
There proved to be little surprise in the end as Marco Verratti claimed the young player of the season award, defeating Serge Aurier, James Rodriguez and Layvin Kurzawa. The Italy international was mesmeric in midfield and instrumental to PSG’s success.
With 26 goals, Ibrahimovic secured the top scorer award once more, defending the title he won the previous season.
TEAM OF THE SEASON
SIRIGU; AURIER, T SILVA, PERRIN, KURZAWA; VERRATTI, MOTTA; JAMES RODRIGUEZ; CAVANI, IBRAHIMOVIC
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Ibrahimovic (PSG v Bastia)
A goal that was watched countless times over the course of the year. Ibrahimovic’s impressive karate kick goal against Bastia was the most popular with voters.
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Napoli to PSG
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Lorient 4-4 Montpellier
An incredible game. MHSC were down to 10 men, but somehow raced into a 4-1 lead with three minutes to go. Les Merlus would equalise with three goals - two in added time - to snatch a point in a memorable Ligue 1 encounter.