After only a few weeks in the 2018-2019 season, it's time to take a look back at what has happened to this Ligue 1 campaign so far and what else could happen. PSG was again super-dominant, but never far from controversy and disappointment (take, for example, the 5: 1 humiliation on Sunday in Lille).
In the meantime, Lyon and Marseille had ups and downs, some of the smaller teams did really well and summer should be full again. Oh, and Leonardo Jardim has done a lot, unlike Thierry Henry in Monaco.
Let's check again.
PSG does what PSG does best: Brilliant chaos
What a season in Paris Saint-Germain, in every way and in every way. Thomas Tuchel has given the Parc des Princes novelty, innovation and fresh air. His team was incredibly superior domestically and will reach his eighth, sixth place in seven seasons every day. In Europe, however, they suffered again under a defeat against a notorious team of Manchester United. Then, between Neymar's toe (again), "Rabiotgate", the incredible miss of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting against Strasbourg, the Luciano Acosta disaster in January, her back and forth for the transfer window, the fight and disagreement between Tuchel and the Sports director Antero Henrique, the ongoing case of the FFP and the scandal surrounding team scouts who are profiling young players illegally, have been in the French capital for an incredible 10 months.
Sunday brought a new Nadir to the pitch as a twisted / provisional PSG team was hammered 5-1 in Lille. This was the first time since 2000 that they conceded five goals in a league game. Tuchel felt brave enough to criticize his own club by saying that his team was not deep or strong enough. He even mentioned Adrien Rabiot, who has been frozen for months by the club's hierarchy because he does not want to sign a new contract in the Parc des Princes.
PSG is never far from pure brilliance, but always seems to be a laughing animal.
The tragedy of Emiliano Sala
The season in France has not been the same since the tragic disappearance of Paris Emiliano Sala on the 20th of January. French football will never forget him, especially not for the clubs he played for (Bordeaux, Orleans, Niort, Caen, Nantes), and the numerous honors in his honor were on par with the incredible player and man he was ,
– Borden: The search for Emiliano Sala
Henry's catastrophic return to Monaco
It was a fairy tale on paper: the prodigal son came back where it all started. In fact, it was a nightmare from start to finish. Thierry Henry's first management experience lasted only 104 days in Monaco and consisted of 12 league games, two wins and a turbulent relationship with some players. In the end, Jardim was the big winner: in October he was fired with a compensation package that was called in January with an improved deal after three months and a better squad (Cesc Fabregas, William Vainqueur, Gelson Martins, Naldo and Fode Ballo-Toure) all joined in January).
– The collapse of Monaco: Henry and Monaco's catastrophic reunification
Things have improved since Jardim's return with four wins, five draws and just one defeat in Ligue 1, but the 2017 French champions are still only in 16th place. Certainly they will hope for improvement in the next season.
More magic from Mbappe
The prince has already become king. With 27 goals in 25 league games (plus five assists) Kylian Mbape's incredible climb continues. It's almost as if winning the World Cup with France last summer has taken him to a new, even greater dimension where his incredible talent is even more appropriate.
This summer, the best talents in France will once again be available
Tanguy Ndombele, Nicolas Pepe, Nabil Fekir, Florian Thauvin, Mario Balotelli, Marcus Thuram, Hatem Ben Arfa, Memphis Depay, Allan Saint-Maximin … the list goes on. Also this summer there will be a lot going on in Ligue 1. Big European clubs will shop in France.
Lille cap brilliant season beat by PSG
On the other hand, Lille is one of the most refreshing stories in France. From the fights to the end of last season and the 17th place at the end to a place in the top three – they are in second place with seven remaining games – the turnaround could not have been more spectacular. Nicolas Pepe was the star of the show with 18 goals and nine assists in Ligue 1.
The trio he makes with Jonathan Ikone and Jonathan Bamba is nicknamed "BIP GDP" – like the roadrunner in the old cartoon – because they are so quick on the ball. Turkish right-back Zeki Celik was a revelation this season, and Jose Fonte has been outstanding in the rear since leaving the Premier League. It's just a shame that the club will sell four or five of its stars this summer, including Pepe, and this team will not stick together to make a real leap in the Champions League next season.
VAR drama everywhere
In the first season in which VAR was deployed, VAR has a more negative effect in France than a positive overall season. There was a lot of controversy, a lot of misunderstandings and the feeling that the video is not much better.
Take Monaco's match against Strasbourg in January, Henry's first game, where the cameras did not work in the 44th and 68th minutes and Monaco should have had a penalty. (Fortunately for the referee it did not matter how Strasbourg scored an impressive 5-1 win. What about Nabil Fekir's terrible duel against Leandro Paredes in early February, a game in which Fekir scored one goal and set up the other to reach the first defeat of PSG's Ligue 1 of the season? Or that of Mbaye Niang on Thilo Kehrer, a game that PSG won 4-1, but saw that the winger of Rennes caught the defender of PSG over the ankle with an unpleasant failure? The referee later admitted that he had misjudged the decision.
The introduction of VAR throughout the sport was sometimes controversial and inaccurate in others, but Ligue 1 definitely got more than its fair share of problems.
Clutter in Lyon
In fairness, Lyon was not much better. There were some great moments on the field, especially against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and PSG's home, but some terrible ones. The fact that the club organized a press conference to announce a new contract for coach Bruno Genesio after the French Cup semi-final against Rennes last week, before deciding not to award him because OL was beaten, was incredible.
Barely two weeks later, he decided to retire after two more defeats at home to Dijon (3-1) and Nantes (2-1). The whole situation was a mess from beginning to end, and in this venomous atmosphere, Lyon will try to claim third place in Ligue 1 and qualify for next season's Champions League. This achievement is so important (and so lucrative). for the fighting club.
Marseille gamble and fail
A little further south, Marseille goes through a very busy season as usual. The results are not good enough (fifth in the league, beaten by Limassol in the Europa League and in the group stage winless), and the fans are not happy. This has led to a terrible atmosphere around the club, and the fans decided not to support the team in January against Lille because Rudi Garcia wanted to lose his job as coach.
It is also worrying that the club is losing a lot of money after investing heavily in a below-average squad, especially in terms of wages that were not nearly as good in domestic or in Europe as to increase revenue. The arrival of Mario Balotelli in January and his goals since then were the only positives so far, but the team can still qualify for the Champions League if it manages the four-point and the five-point deficit on Saint-Etienne to Lyon on third Location.
Promoted teams show that they belong to the French top group
The fresh breeze in Ligue 1 this season comes from the two upgraded teams, Reims and Nimes, both of which were excellent and well above their weight.
Reims, who has one of the best goalkeepers in the league in Edouard Mendy, is seventh with a very strong collective unity. Nimes is in tenth place thanks to his ingenious player Teji Savanier and their energetic style of play, while the penultimate summer, Strasbourg, is currently in ninth place. Manager Thierry Laurey is a bit intense, sometimes even rude, but his players have big hearts and their fans are incredible.