After a break of more than two months, Ligue 1 returns this Friday night with a meeting between Lyon and Ajaccio as the opening of a season that promises to be exciting. That to confirm after a last happy exercise, but also the innovation, with the autumn World Cup and the four descents that mark the path from twenty to eighteen clubs. And always this same hope to see the game win.
This is the end of the weaning, and the beginning of a new adventure that we still do not know anything about. After a 76-day hiatus, Ligue 1, France’s favorite soap opera, is back to top it all. In the heart of a summer punctuated by over-analyzed friendly matches, then a painful and very long transfer window like every year, it’s time to rediscover the thrills in competition. This weekend should be the first curiosities, the first sensations and the first quick conclusions, which also contain the charm of a story that must be written in ten months, hoping that the party of this time will replace violence in the stands. . It should also be a time to confirm, after an incredible 2021-2022 harvest in terms of scenery (1,067 goals scored, the highest total in 40 years), playing , and even suspension if we reject the quick coronation of PSG. That’s in innovation, too, because the fall of the World Cup disrupts the routine for more than a month, between November 13 and December 28, until the games scheduled during the usual Christmas break. That’s for the agenda, place for the land.
Paris and the ambitious
A few hours before the start of its new season, the French championship does not seem so exciting for a long time. Above and below, the debates should be exciting until the end. The first place, however, as still reserved for Paris Saint-Germain, was renewed at the end of spring, but is still considered untouchable when appointing potential candidates for the title. In the speech, PSG also chose to adopt another approach, which is fully embodied in the induction of Christophe Galtier as coach: Ligue 1 does not count the butter. It remains to be seen if the promise of finding a caring group and a less chaotic collective will be honored. Especially since behind the Parisian ogre, the ambitious are rarely too many. Among them, AS Monaco, orphan of Aurélien Tchouaméni, but with a unique dynamic before the cut, could be cut to tickle the defending champion in the event of a drop in speed during a season where the Mondial is the number one goal for the star.
Stade Rennes, 4e in the last financial year, it also changed a little less than a month from the closing of the transfer window, which seems like a good idea after an impressive season (101 goals scored in all competitions) . OGC Nice, for its part, took advantage of the departure of Galtier to recover Lucien Favre, whose first visit to the Côte d’Azur between 2016 and 2018 left a good memory. Lille, crowned a year ago, returned to the page Jocelyn Gourvennec to continue with that Paulo Fonseca with the desire to find the colors and a place in the top 6. The two Olympics, they chose to will live a paradoxical summer: OM, runner- up to PSG, said goodbye to Jorge Sampaoli and hello to Igor Tudor, already competing in the Commanderie side, when OL preferred to continue their confidence in Peter Bosz, even still at 8e historic disappointing area and an institutional revolution to sell to a new American investor. An interesting, uncertain picture, which does not necessarily exclude outsiders like Lens, Strasbourg or even other surprises that can shake the hierarchy ruled by the richest.
The game is worth the candle
At the center of concerns, the game remains. After a period in which defensive strategies prevailed in France (you must “big” and “strong” ), the search for beauty and attack seems to take over. Some technicians from other countries are not strangers to this philosophical evolution, Marcelo Bielsa is the leader, but it is also brought by a new generation of French coaches, not so locked in a now old model, led by Franck Haise (Lens), Julien Stéphan (Strasbourg) or the newcomer Régis Le Bris (Lorient). Last season, playing teams were often rewarded, up and down. This is also the challenge of this 2022-2023 exercise, that of passing from twenty to eighteen clubs, and therefore of four direct descent into the second division.
A depressing prospect for teams destined to fight to stay in the top flight, but also for others, never safe from an accident, as shown by the relegations of Bordeaux and Saint-Étienne in May. Nantes and Montpellier, for example, can bite their nails. There were emotions for everyone, as always for almost a century in the first division, from Troyes to Reims via Brest. The promoted (Toulouse, Ajaccio, Auxerre) that we want to (re)discover at the highest national level will also have their share of the cake. Ligue 1 is theirs, to them as to us, simple observers of its players, and so we see it every summer with undisguised joy.
By Clement Gavard