The new Ligue 1 season is upon us, as each team prepares for another 38 games of top-flight French football. Who’s going to find themselves battling relegation, who are the European contenders, and perhaps most importantly, can anyone give Paris Saint-Germain a run for their money?
It’s hardly been a summer full of roses and butterflies at the Parc des Princes, with the Neymar saga set to rumble on until the close of the transfer window. The world’s most expensive player wants out, and while PSG are loathe to lose their marquee man, squad harmony has to take precedence. With that in mind, the Brazilian is 7/2 to return to Barcelona this summer, while Real Madrid have been credited with an 8/1 interest.
It’s not as though PSG don’t have someone ready to step up anyway. Kylian Mbappe continued his meteoric rise last season by finishing as Ligue 1’s top scorer. With 33 strikes to his name, he finished an incredible 11 goals clear of Nicholas Pepe, who’s been snapped up by Premier League side Arsenal this summer. Mbappe is the odds-on 2/5 favourite to finish as the league’s top scorer once again come the end of this season.
There isn’t really any value in backing the champions to retain their title, with Thomas Tuchel’s side 1/7 to make it a hat-trick of titles, and seven in eight seasons. More interesting is the winner without PSG market, a race that Lyon are currently looking like winning at 7/4. Lille had an excellent season but have lost Pepe’s goals and assists, and they’re probably one to avoid at 6/1. That’s the same price as you can get on 2017 champions Monaco, who are looking to bounce back after a miserable season last time out.
The Principality club are 3/10 to finish in the top six, and reclaim European football for next term. That’s the same price as Marseille and Lille, while Nice are one of the teams hoping to break into that elusive bracket. Patrick Vieira steered his side to a seventh-placed finish last term, and Les Aiglons are 11/20 to go one better and secure a top-six finish. Montpellier managed just that last season, but with a European campaign to manage this time round, they’re available at 3/1 to repeat the trick this term.
If you’re looking to bet on the relegation dogfight, newly promoted Brest are the 7/4 favourites to go down come next May. Metz won Ligue 2 last season and have been given odds of 5/2 to go straight back down, and they’re the only other promoted side after Lens lost to Dijon in the promotion play-offs, consigning the Sang et Or to another campaign in the second tier. Dijon are 15/8 to go down this time round, while Amiens are 3/1 despite a credible 15th-placed finish last term.