Ligue 1 – Europe’s Underrated Top League
The Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A take most of the plaudits regarding the top European leagues, but a close look at France’s Ligue 1 will show that the nation’s top league deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.
A considerable amount of top-notch players currently plying their trade elsewhere in Europe took the first steps of their careers in Ligue 1, and it continues to create future superstars on a yearly basis.
Bayern Munich and Man City have held a monopoly over their respective leagues in recent years. In Ligue 1, it has been the cash-rich Paris Saint-Germain that has dominated. The Parisians are once again the Ligue 1 favourite for the 2023/2024 campaign at a price of 1/5, at least according to the outright betting odds for football leagues. However, they will be going into the new season without the services of Lionel Messi.
Messi helped PSG to their ninth title in 11 years last season but has now headed for pastures new on the other side of the Atlantic. The club’s Qatari owners will likely plough more money into the club over the summer, meaning that the new boss, Luis Enrique, will be given all the ammunition he requires to get his reign off to a successful start.
Recent Surprise Performers
Lille were the last team to stop the PSG juggernaut from sweeping up Ligue 1 titles in 2020/21, shocking the whole of French football under the care of Christophe Galtier, someone who would go on to manage PSG last season.
It has been a bit of a struggle since then for Lille, with Galtier departing as well as a host of their top players. A fifth-placed finish was achieved last season, and it would be no surprise to see Les Dogues again battle for a title if the right signings are made over the summer.
The surprise story of last season in France: RC Lens were the team that gave PSG their biggest challenge. Just two years after promotion from Ligue 2, Lens shocked the football world with a title challenge that seemed to come from nowhere.
Under the tutelage of the somewhat unknown Franck Haise, Lens would win their first 10 home games at the start of the season. In addition, they were the first team to beat the all-conquering PSG later in the season. They would continue to outplay and beat the so-called bigger teams in the division, and eventually finish the season with 25 wins in total, finishing just one point behind PSG, qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years in the process.
Even though PSG were already confirmed as Champions last weekend, after their loss today, it means RC Lens finished just 𝟏 𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁 behind them overall. 😲
‣ Lens conceded just 𝟐𝟗 goals in the league this season, which is the least by far 🤯
‣ They only lost 𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗲 out… pic.twitter.com/ypkJK1Es6u
— PurelyFootball ℗ (@PurelyFootball) June 3, 2023
With the likes of the aforementioned pair, and the cash-rich contingent of Nice, Marseille, and Monaco, the 2023/24 season is likely to be another topsy-turvy affair. PSG are going through a tough period behind the scenes at the moment, so it would be no surprise to see their dominance being broken again.
The Premier League, Bundesliga, and La Liga will always take the plaudits from fans, but for those of you looking for something a little different, France’s Ligue 1 won’t fail to deliver on the excitement front.