Ligue 1 – PSG, Lens, Marseille – Title race – What a foot!

Ligue 1 – PSG, Lens, Marseille – Title race – What a foot!

In recent years, Ligue 1 has too often forgotten an ingredient to get its weekends off the ground. However, it is the uncertainty that maintains the interest of his encounters and makes the chills and fever rise. Indecision, doubt, instability: call it what you want, but this French championship season brings up to date the very concept of suspense on which this game is built.

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Halfway, Ligue 1 is not played and it is a feat with regard to the PSG match sheets. Last year, at the same stage of the competition, Nice was already 13 points behind a Paris in slippers. This Monday, three small units separate the French champions from Lens and five from OM.

TGV-like locomotives

This battle at the top energizes a frankly exciting season. Firstly because the locomotives look like TGVs. Yes Paris is faltering in 2023 with two defeats in two weeks but if everything is tightening up, it is also because its competitors are keeping up a pace which, in other times, would ensure it the place of leader. In 2021, for example, Lyon took control mid-season with five and three points less than Lens and OM in January.

“Of the three PSG stars, Neymar is the one most at risk of dropping out”

Faced with the individual bursts of PSG, Northerners and Phocaeans oppose two collective forces which are not cast in the same concrete but produce the same effects. The Lensois breath is like no other in L1, Paris was swept away without possible discussion and no one knows how far this enthusiastic momentum can take them.

Lens after the victory against Paris

Credit: Getty Images

In Marseille, everything seems possible

In Marseille, the rigor and discipline of Igor Tudor revive the wildest hopes. In a system where defenders score more than attackers, anything is possible. Not only Lens and Marseille are not there by chance, as evidenced by their number of points, but, in addition, this beginning of the year seems to have consolidated their certainties when those of Paris are crumbling.

We knew that the effects of the World Cup would be more difficult to absorb for a team studded with internationals like Paris, but the doubts were born before Qatar. Today, PSG lack intensity, ideas and plan B when the Messi-Neymar-Mbappé trio, severely tested during the World Cup, is out of breath.

OM celebrate Sead Kolasinac’s goal in their victory against Lorient (3-1) on January 14 in Ligue 1

Credit: Getty Images

Ben Yedder, Fonseca, Le Bris… thank you!

Behind the trio, the irregularity of Rennes and Monaco handicapped them in the race for the podium but, after the indisputable success against PSG, how not to reconsider the Bretons, even deprived of Martin Terrier? And the pride of Wissam Ben Yedder can lead the ASM to heights that it was no longer promised. Lille and Lorient, in view of what they offer, deserve much better than their current places.

Paulo Fonseca and Régis Le Bris (but also Rémy Cabella, Jonathan David, Terem Moffi or Enzo le Fée) offer us, every weekend, great reasons to love Ligue 1 but this championship is ruthless in offering a level rarely reached over the last decade. The boiling of the best teams pulls the championship upwards… and leaves OL at the bottom. The sanction is harsh but logical for Gones who did not know how to take the bandwagon and at the speed at which it is going…

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