Rudi Garcia’s men - who also picked up the French Cup in a memorable double-winning campaign - thrived on an effective 4-3-3 formation led by Moussa Sow and Gervinho, with Eden Hazard enjoying a breakout season en route to a first league win in nearly six decades.
The old guard more or less remained there or thereabouts as Marseille, Lyon and PSG occupied the next three spots in the table. There was a surprise fifth place finish for Sochaux, while at the other end AS Monaco suffered relegation on the final day of the season - just seven years after making the Champions League final.
This was the last year before PSG began to dominate the domestic landscape, and thus they were largely absent from the big spenders list. Indeed, it was Marseille and Lyon who splashed the cash on account of consecutive appearances in the Champions League group stage. Lyon opted to snatch Yoann Gourcuff from Bordeaux in what was then regarded as the biggest intra-domestic transfer of modern times.
Marseille meanwhile on the back of a first league win in 17 years spent a combined 31 million euros on Andre-Pierre Gignac and Loic Remy, both of those players comfortably entering in the top five most expensive transfers in OM’s history. Mamadou Niang, the club’s captain and stalwart quit for Fenerbahce towards the end of the window.
After an impressive campaign, Asamoah Gyan swapped Rennes for Sunderland, while Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny were picked up by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
Curiously, there was only one managerial change to report in the off-season - Laurent Blanc left after taking Bordeaux to a Champions League quarter-final the year before, and promptly took over the job as France coach after the World Cup. He was replaced by Jean Tigana.
While Lille were expected to challenge for the title, they had a funny way of showing their credentials during a stale opening to the campaign. Three wins in their first 10 games left them 5 behind of the podium, before they made amends with an unbeaten run in the next fourteen games to go at one point, as much as five points clear over Marseille.
A 2-1 victory over Didier Deschamps’ champions on week 26 not only cemented their title bid, but invigorated a flagging side who were becoming hamstrung by the number of games over the course of February and March.
Heading into the run-in, they once more led by four points over Marseille - but three games without a win, including a defeat to relegation strugglers Monaco saw them relinquish the lead to OM, who themselves were putting up a strong response. The Provence club, who had gone nearly two decades without the league title were not giving up without a fight, but a defeat to Lyon allowed Lille to regain the advantage.
And so, Rudi Garcia and his side - at the third time of asking, did not disappoint this time. They conceded just once in their next four games, putting themselves in the position of only requiring a point away to PSG to win the title. They managed that, before seeing off the same opposition in the cup final to seal a memorable title.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
In truth, any of Lille’s front three had deserved the player of the season award, but Hazard - at the age of just 20 was crowned the best player of the campaign for his impressive contribution to LOSC’s title win.
MANAGER OF THE SEASON
A well-regarded manager in his time at Le Mans and Dijon, Garcia confirmed his managerial ability holding off the challenge of bigger rivals to lead Lille to an unexpected title victory.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON
The young PSG captain impressed many observers with a number of assured performances at the back as his side qualified for the Europa League at the end of the season.
With a return of 25 goals, Sow beat the likes of Kevin Gameiro and Valenciennes’ Gregory Pujol to the award.
TEAM OF THE SEASON:
MANDANDA; REVELLIERE, RAMI, SAKHO, TAIWO; GERVINHO, M’VILA, HAZARD; NENE; GAMEIRO, SOW
MOST EXPENSIVE TRANSFER
Bordeaux to Lyon
KEY MOMENT OF THE SEASON:
Needing just a point to claim the title, Lille took a 2-0 lead at the Parc des Princes to put themselves on the brink of glory. While the hosts found their way to claim a point, it was enough to finally beat Marseille to the trophy.