Paris Saint-Germain won the 2019/2020 Ligue 1 title with relative ease as they were 12 points ahead of Marseille when the season was curtailed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Thomas Tuchel’s side went on to win another domestic treble by beating Saint-Etienne and Lyon in the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue finals respectively, but they missed out on a maiden Champions League crown.
Les Parisiens managed to reach the final of the elite competition for the first time in their history, but they fell short of winning the prestigious European title after Bayern Munich outclassed them by the solitary goal.
The 2020/21 Ligue 1 season has already started with a number of clubs playing two games apiece. Nice are presently at the top of the standings with the perfect tally of six points. Les Parisiens, meanwhile, are yet to start their league season, having been offered an additional break due to their Champions League participation.
The capital outfit were scheduled to face newly-promoted Lens on the road on August 29, but they will now begin the defence of their top-flight title against the same opponents on September 10. Prior to that, their opening day fixture against Metz was also postponed from August 23 to September 17.
Here are our predictions for the 2020/21 Ligue 1 Season:
Paris Saint-Germain are definitely overwhelming favourites to win a fourth league title on the bounce and it remains to be seen whether the challengers can put the pressure on them.
Marseille and Rennes secured the second and third positions respectively during the previous campaign and it was quite a surprise. Lille were definitely the biggest losers from the season curtailment after 28 games, given they were just one point behind Rennes in the pursuit of the final Champions League spot.
Lyon, on the other hand, had a season to forget as they finished seventh in the standings and failed to qualify for European football. They performed above expectations in the Champions League campaign where they eliminated Juventus and Manchester City, but were eventually beaten 3-0 by Bayern Munich in the semi-final stage.
It’s hard to look beyond Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title this season. We will definitely see an improvement from Lyon from the previous campaign, but their progress is heavily dependent on whether they can keep hold of their leading players such as Houssem Aouar, Moussa Dembele and Memphis Depay.
Sporting director Juninho has already stated that the trio could leave at the right price this summer and that would leave a huge void in their attack. Elsewhere, Lille have pretty much entered another transition phase after selling the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes and Victor Osimhen.
Marseille have been an exciting side to watch under Andre Villas-Boas with a mixture of youth and experience, but their tight financial situation has meant that they won’t be making significant improvements to the side. Hence, Les Parisiens should be fancied to defend their Ligue 1 title once more.
Paris Saint-Germain to win a fourth successive Ligue 1 title
Behind Paris Saint-Germain, there could be a tight tussle for the remaining two Champions League spots. Marseille, Lille, Lyon, AS Monaco and Nice are all capable of making the top three next term while Rennes can’t be ruled out after their superb 2019/2020 campaign, where they performed above their initial expectations.
Among the six clubs, Marseille are probably the best placed to finish either second or third. The club may struggle to compete with Les Parisiens at the top, but they have plenty of experienced French players with international experience in the squad including Dimitri Payet and Steve Mandanda to guide them back into the Champions League.
The availability of Florian Thauvin from the beginning is a boost for them after the winger missed all, but 20 minutes of last season with multiple ankle injuries. He has returned in fine shape for the new season and bagged one goal and two assists in the 3-2 win over Brest last month.
Meanwhile, Nice are one team to watch out for. The south Coast outfit were taken over by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe last summer and they have made it clear that they won’t lose any of their young and promising players this summer.
The club have often been deemed as a selling club, but they are now aiming to push for the Champions League spots under Patrick Vieira. They have certainly made a good start to the season with back-to-back wins.
Paris Saint-Germain, Marseille and Nice to qualify for the Champions League
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe will be the front-runner to win the award for a third straight season, but there is competition from the likes of Neymar, Mauro Icardi, Memphis Depay, Moussa Dembele, Wissam Ben Yedder and Kasper Dolberg.
Depay has already opened his scoring charts with a sublime hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Dijon, but his future with Lyon remains uncertain. Neymar is capable of competing with Mbappe, but he has not been able to stay fit for an entire Ligue 1 season to date.
Hence, Ben Yedder could be the closest competitor after matching Mbappe’s 18-goal tally last term, only to be beaten to the award when goals from open play were considered. Nice’s Dolberg can be regarded as a dark horse in the race.
Kylian Mbappe to top the goalscoring charts ahead of Ben Yedder and Dolberg
Stats from Transfermarkt.com