The 2016-17 season is upon us and the French Ligue 1 is starting this Friday. The major question in France is can anyone end the domination of the league by Paris Saint-Germain. They have won the last four league titles, including last season by 31 points. This season has seen a lot of changes around the league. Hopefully this season will be more competitive.
The title favorites are Paris Saint-Germain. They are currently 1/12 favorites to win the title. The next closest teams in terms of odds are Lyon at 12/1 and Monaco at 16/1. These two teams finished second and third last season, but they were far behind PSG. Lyon will hope to challenge this season after a very disappointing start to last season. Monaco has spent the summer strengthening their defense. They signed Morgan De Sanctis from Roma to play in goal. Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy were brought in to challenge at right and left back respectively. They also brought in Kamil Glik from Torino to play center back. They also got Radamel Falcao back on loan, but he may not have an impact this season. Lyon also strengthened their defense which was needed since 3 center backs left the club this summer. They brought in Emanuel Mammana from River Plate and Nicolas N’Koulou from Marseille. They will hope that these two can make a great impact on their defense.
The Three Promoted Teams
The champions of the Ligue 2 last season was Nancy. The other two teams that were promoted were Dijon and Metz. After 3 seasons in Ligue 2, AS Nancy has returned to the Ligue 1. They earned their promotion with 3 games to spare and won their fifth Ligue 2 title. Nancy’s most well known player is Michel Platini. Their closest rivals are Metz who also earned promotion to the top tier. Metz finished third in the second division. Metz was in Ligue 1 in 2014/15 and finished 19th, but they only spent one season down in the second division. They will hope that they are able to stay for a couple seasons this time around. The final team promoted was Dijon. They finished second last season in Ligue 2. They have returned to Ligue 1 for the first time since 2011/12 when they finished 19th in the league. All three of these teams are the favorites to get relegated. Can any of them survive this season and play in Ligue 1 next season?
There have been 6 coaching changes this summer with the biggest coming at Paris Saint-Germain. Laurent Blanc resigned on June 27th and the next day, they appointed Unai Emery from Sevilla. He will have the hard job of maintain the unprecedented success in France and win the Champions League. Unai Emery has won the last three Europa League titles with Sevilla and the French giants will be hoping that he can take his European success to the next level. Bordeaux signed Jocelyn Gourvennec from Guingamp, following Ulrich Rame’s contract coming to an end. Guingamp replaced him with Antoine Kombouare. Nice decided to part ways with Claude Puel and replaced him with Lucien Favre. Nantes hired Rene Girard and Rennes hired Christian Gourcuff following both of their managers contracts ending.
5 Big Incoming Transfers
Eder – Swansea to Lille (£3.83m)
Nicolas N’Koulou – Marseille to Lyon (Free)
Remy Cabella – Newcastle to Marseille (£6.80m)
Hatem Ben Arfa – Nice to PSG (Free)
Grzegorz Krychowiak – Sevilla to PSG (£28.56m)
5 Big Outgoing Transfers
Samuel Umtiti – Lyon to Barcelona (£21.25m)
Raphael Guerreiro – Lorient to Borussia Dortmund (£10.20m)
Michy Batshuayi – Marseille to Chelsea (£33.3m)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – PSG to Manchester United (Free)
Ousmane Dembele – Rennais to Borussia Dortmund (£12.75m)
My Pick – Paris Saint-Germain
Brad’s Pick – Paris Saint-Germain
Champions League Places
My Picks – Lyon, Marseille
Brad’s Picks – Lyon, Toulouse
My Picks – Metz, Guingamp, Dijon
Brad’s Picks – Nantes, Rennes, Bastia
My Picks – Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon
Brad’s Picks – Edinson Cavani, PSG