With four days to go, the top of Ligue 1 is presented with 3 teams separated by only 3 points, Lille in the lead, threatening the hegemony of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), while Monaco is in ambush in case one of the two heads down.
On the eve of their historic Champions League semi-final against Manchester City, Argentine Mauricio Pochettino’s men face the final stretch of the season without, as in the past, having secured their national title, which they have won with ease in the last 3 years.
When the constellation of stars gathered thanks to the Qatari capital seems to have taken a step forward in Europe, things have been complicated for him in his own country, where PSG will have to row to renew the title.
The main threat comes from Lille, an irregular team that seems to have found the recipe to face the greats, against whom they have been superior.
As if it were a modern-day David, the northern French team have beaten their main rivals for the title in at least one game, although they have had more trouble confirming that trend against smaller teams afterwards.
A strong Lille against the strong
Strong against the strong but not always against the weak, Lille faces the last four duels of its year with a point of income against PSG and after having starred in an epic comeback against Lyon this Sunday, which because of that fell off the hook some of the race for the lead, from which he is now separated by 6 points.
The Lyonnais came to dominate 2-0 in their stadium, but Lille drew strength from weakness and, thanks to a superb performance by Turkish veteran Burak Yilmaz, they managed to maintain the lead.
Ahead of Lille there are 4 a priori affordable finals, against Nice, Lens, Saint-Étienne and Angers, to add 12 points that would give them their fourth French championship title, the first since 2011. It was the last championship that was played before the arrival of the Qataris to PSG. Since then, only two editions of Ligue 1 (2011-12, won by Montpellier, and 2016-17, by Monaco), have escaped their hegemony, which seems unshakable in view of the financial differences with the rest of the clubs.
The PSG, with the head in Europe
Neymar, Mbappé and company reigned so much in their country that it seemed that only what happened in Europe mattered to them, a trend that this season may return.
Coach Christophe Galtier’s recipe seems to have worked at Lille. After 8 seasons at Saint-Étienne, he has found in troubled Lille a place where his methods are paying off.
“Now the title is a goal. There are 4 days left and we are leaders, we will have to fight each victory and hold on until the end (…) If we achieve it, it will be a great feat,” said the Lille coach, who concealed bad his euphoria after the triumph in Lyon.
The Northerners feel the breath of PSG on their back, which has 4 consecutive wins after having lost 2 games a month earlier, one of them precisely against Lille.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men are facing the duels against Lens, Rennes, Reims and Brest, although their fate also depends on a mistake by Lille and their head is now in Europe.
Given the quality of their cash, they are still the big favorites, but everything will depend on their ability to face an overloaded end of the season, with the mental strain that this entails and the hypothesis of not lifting either of the two big titles they are opting for. .
Between the triplet and nothing
PSG sails between the treble – they are also in the semifinals of the French Cup – and a blank year that would be historic since the arrival of the Qataris. The first time it would happen under its current owners.
As if that were not enough, a point behind PSB is a Monaco recovered thanks to Croatian coach Niko Kovac, who has awakened in the Principality club the dream of winning Ligue 1 again, after the one achieved in 2017 with Portuguese Leonardo Jardim on the bench.
With an unleashed Wissam Ben Yedder, author of 19 goals, Monaco faces a similar calendar: Lyon, Reims, Rennes and Lens.
The duel against Lyon complicates their trajectory and could definitively end the podium options of the Lyonnais.