PSG, Ligue 1’s Ruthless Tyrant

PSG bully Ligue 1

PSG celebrate

In Ligue 1, a single point splits spots 2-4 in the table. Clubs like Angers, Monaco and Caen are in a neck-in-neck race to qualify for the Champions League, and this type of competition seems to show a relatively level playing field in France. That is until you take a look at who’s sitting atop the table. Currently, Paris Saint-Germain lead the league by 17 — yes, 17 — points going into the end of December. PSG have dominated nearly every team they’ve played against this season, with only three teams even managing a draw and no club handing them a defeat.

This astounding lack of competition for the club this season is something that hasn’t been matched in any of the other major leagues in Europe. In Spain, two teams (Barcelona and Atlético Madrid) share the top spot and Deportivo La Coruna sit just 12 points behind in sixth. The Bundesliga may be dominated by Bayern Munich, but Borussia Dortmund are still at least in the running for the title sitting five points behind in second. Who knows what’s going on in the Premier League as a new club seemingly takes over the top spot every other weekend.

The easy thing to attribute PSG’s success to this season would be the money they spend in the transfer window. This summer, the club spent a reported fee of £44 million to bring in Manchester United’s Ángel Di María. The Argentine helps lead the line for the French club with the likes of Edison Cavani (€64.5 million) and Swedish super star Zlatan Ibrahimovic (initial fee of €20 million). This glut of talent upfront means that players like Lucas (€45 million) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (€30 million) are limited to substitute appearances when they would be starting for almost any other club in the world.

This ridiculously talented attack force has seen PSG score 45 goals through their first 18 games of the season. On average, that means that the club scores about 2.5 goals per game. To put that in perspective, the second highest scoring team in the league, Nice; have found the back of the net just 31 times (1.7 goals/game). Perhaps an even more impressive statistic is that 12 different players have scored for the club since the start of the season.

The sheer amount of potency that PSG have in the final third of the field would be enough to win the league in most cases, but when you have an unbeatable defense, a title is almost guaranteed. In addition to their league-leading attack, the Parisians also have the best defensive unit in France. Through 18 games, the club has surrendered just nine goals and has kept ten clean sheets. The only time they’ve been scored on more than once in the league was way back in September when Bordeaux scored twice.

Leading the line for this astounding defensive unit is Brazil’s captain Thiago Silva. Ever since his move to France from AC Milan back in 2012, Silva has grown into arguably the best center back in the world. In his three full seasons with PSG, only once have they failed to keep the best defensive record in Ligue 1, and only once have they allowed more than 23 goals in a season. The additions of players like Thiago Silva, Serge Aurier and Layvin Kurzawa have only served to strengthen the club’s already strong backline, and the addition of Kevin Trapp over the summer has given them even more confidence in their own third.

At this point, the only real competition that PSG face will come from the Champions League. No club in Ligue 1 can realistically overcome the 17-point gap that separates PSG from the rest of the league, and it would take a horrendous lapse in form for the league leaders to drop anywhere close to the clubs chasing them. Is this type of division good for French competition, or will PSG’s dominance make it harder for other clubs to attract talented players from around the world? In my opinion, this type of domination from PSG is just the start and it may be awhile before we see any other club in France compete for a title.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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