Smart money on Monaco to topple PSG but Bielsa could surprise
Paris Saint-German head into the new Ligue 1 season as runaway favourites for success and with BT Sport set to broadcast games from across the channel each and every weekend, there’s never been a better time to get into French football.
The mega-rich Parisiens’ biggest challenge could come from the similarly affluent AS Monaco, but as lowly Montpellier showed in 2012, it can sometimes pay to think outside the box when it comes to selecting an outright winner in France.
Here’s a rundown of the five teams with the potential to take home the title next summer.
Before the World Cup the purchase of David Luiz looked a good, if a tad expensive, bit of business for Paris Saint-Germain but the outlook on the deal changed somewhat in the aftermath of Brazil’s 7-1 horror show against Germany.
Luiz played a starring role in that game and with fellow Selecao star Thiago Silva lining up alongside him in defence, there must be some concern over a potential World Cup hangover.
Throw in the fact that Edinson Cavani is agitating for a move while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not getting any younger and the odds make this a bet best avoided.
Radamel Falcao’s bid to be fit for the World Cup may have ended in failure but the Colombian will have had plenty of time to recuperate by the time the season starts and in James Rodriguez the Principality Club have the undoubted star of the finals in Brazil.
Throw in the presence of the ever-useful Dimitar Berbatov from the bench as well as midfield stars Joao Moutinho and Geoffrey Kondogbia and Monaco may have all the ingredients required to mount a serious challenge on the title, with more big name signings expected in the coming weeks.
Rene Giraud has already helped unfashionable Montpellier HSC to a title win at the expense of mega-rich PSG and with promising youngster Divock Origi fresh from an excellent turn for Belgium at the World Cup and already set to stay for at least one more season, Lille could be dark horses.
Vincent Enyeama will be keen to put his error against France behind him and return to the record-breaking form of last season while Simon Kjaer and Rio Mavuba give the team a solid base to work from. The only concern could be if Lille lose top scorer Salomon Kalou over the summer.
The winners of seven titles from 2001 to 2008, Lyon’s new budgetary restrictions have seen the side focus more on youth talent than big money signings, though it’s a policy that is starting to bear fruit thanks to the likes of Maxime Gonalons, Clement Grenier and Alexandre Lacazette.
They have appointed a sage manager in Hubert Fournier who has experience of working on a budget, having guided Reims into the top-flight in 2013 before helping them to a mid-table finish last term. If he can keep the young guns at the club, then Lyon may make a great each-way pick.
The undoubted outsiders for the title following a season everyone associated with L’OM would rather forget, while Marseille may not have made many in the way of big signings as yet, they could have already pulled off the coup of the summer by convincing Marcelo Biesla to join the club.
A mentor to the likes of Jorge Sampaoli and Pep Guardiola, the Argentine has already shown what he can do with an average squad at Athletic Bilbao in Spain. Mathieu Valbuena is set to depart but the Ayew brothers still remain alongside Andre-Pierre Gignac – a forward once known for finding the net at an alarming rate in Ligue 1. Put a quid on L’OM and enjoy the ride.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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