Sunday, July 3

Ten talking points from PSG’s 10th Ligue 1 title: Mbappe, Messi, Ramos, Neymar…

Paris Saint-Germain are already the ‘kings’ of France and their conquest of Ligue 1 allows them to equal Marseille and Saint-Etienne at the top of the ‘Le Championnat’ list, with 10 titles in their history.

With the arrival of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), PSG have taken on a new dimension and have won eight of the last 11 leagues. This time there was no surprise, as there was in 2012 (Montpellier), 2017 (Monaco) and 2021 (Lille).

PSG have comfortably won a title that, nevertheless, has not been all positive for the Parisians.

1. Mbappe has outgrown Ligue 1

Ligue 1 kicked off with doubts about Kylian Mbappe‘s future, as in the final days of the summer transfer window it seemed that he could end up at Real Madrid, But Mbappe, whose contract expires in June, has given a lesson in professionalism, even as rumours about his future have been a constant throughout the season.

The former Monaco player has been, by far, PSG‘s best player and the best player in Ligue 1. His 21 goals and 14 assists make him the top scorer and the top assist man in the French league.

2. The eternal goalkeeping debate

The signing of Gianluigi Donnarumma generated debate over who would start in goal and it has not benefited either Keylor Navas or ‘Gigi‘ himself.

The season began with the former Real Madrid player as a starter, but, little by little, he lost his place in the starting line-up. However, the former AC Milan man has not been convincing. On the contrary. Donnarumma has been very much singled out for his mistakes, especially the one he made at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, which sparked the beginning of Real Madrid‘s comeback.

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3. Leading from start to finish

PSG have been unrivalled in Ligue 1 in 2021/22 with eight consecutive victories at the start of ‘Le Championnat’ which gave them a cushion that no one has been able to challenge.

In fact, the champions ended up being crowned with five matchdays to spare thanks to a 16-point lead over Marseille. Even so, they have been far from their best. The points record set by PSG (96) in 2015/16 is miles away. Nor will they be able to beat the record number of wins (30) set by Paris Saint-Germain (2015/16) and Monaco (2016/17).

4. Unbeatable at the Parc des Princes… vulnerable on the road

Paris Saint-Germain have been like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with two sides to them all season long. At the Parc des Princes, they have been almost unbeatable, as they have 15 wins and two draws in their 17 home Ligue 1 games.

Away from home, on the other hand, they have been vulnerable. They have only been able to win 50 percent of their matches, with eight wins, four draws and four defeats. In the Champions League, they have not even been able to win away, with two draws and two defeats.

5. Messi’s poor scoring record

The signing of the former Barcelona player aroused disproportionate expectations. In fact, he won the seventh Ballon d’Or of his career – no one has more – when he was already a PSG player.

However, his scoring numbers have been well below expectations, as he has only scored four goals in 22 games in Ligue 1. It is the lowest scoring season of his career in the league since his debut with Barcelona (1) in 2004/05.

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In Ligue 1, he has excelled as a passer with 13 assists. Plus, it is true that he has been unlucky, as he has hit the posts eight times, twice as many times as any other player in the French league. But, more was expected.

6. A mixed season for Neymar

There is no doubt that Neymar is a top five talent in the world and, even in what has been a mixed season for the Brazilian, he has scored 11 goals and set up five more in 19 league appearances.

His problem, as in other seasons, has been injuries. Physical issues have either kept him out or left him below 100 percent. He has missed 20 matches and played 24 this season.

7. The trident didn’t shine so bright

The MNM front three promised so much, but they didn’t always play together for a variety of reasons. Even when they did play together, it didn’t always work. Even going into the Real Madrid game, they’d only won 44 percent of the matches played together.

Mauricio Pochettino explained that he needed time to make the front three work, but it never quite did. The players themselves have spoken about how playing together required a different mindset.

8. Sergio Ramos’ bad luck

When PSG acquired Sergio Ramos, the Spaniard was expected to make a difference at the back. But, injuries mean he has played just nine matches for a total of 438 minutes across all competitions.

Ramos, though, has finally started to play a few games in a row and is optimistic about the future, even stating in a recent interview that he has four or five years more football in his legs.

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9. No success in the cups

Although PSG have won the Ligue 1 title, they haven’t had any success in the cups this season.

In the Champions League, they lost to Real Madrid at the last 16 stage. Then, they also lost the Trophee des Champions, the French Super Cup, to Lille by a 1-0 scoreline at the start of the season and were eliminated by Nice on penalties in the Coupe de France.

10. Pochettino wins a title, but his future is uncertain

One of the questions being asked right now is over the future of Mauricio Pochettino, who has won the Ligue 1 title but who might not be kept on.

The Champions League is the be all and end all, so further disappointment on the continent means the Parisian club might move for Zinedine Zidane. For now, that’s just a theory. Right now, it’s time to celebrate this trophy.


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