What Put French Football On Its Head?

All is not well at the Parc des Princes.

After 8 matches in Ligue 1 this season, PSG, the crown jewel of French league football find themselves third in the table, a spot the club is rather unfamiliar with in recent years.

Paris Saint-Germain are used to having the league title in the bag after a handful of matches, but this year, they’ve got some competition. OGC Nice sit at the top of the table, having collected 20 out of 24 points available so far, and haven’t lost on home turf.

PSG lost Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer to Manchester United, but with a solid midfield and a young gem by the name of Presnel Kimpembe holding the back line, it’s still a strong side.

That being said, France’s biggest, wealthiest club is four points back of Nice, currently known as the club that gave Mario Balotelli another chance.

Boy, was that a great signing. After three league games and 15 shots, Mario has 5 goals, tallying a decent shots/goal ratio, especially considering his form the last few years. Inspired play has found its way to the entire starting eleven, even more so for those protecting the goal; only five goals have been allowed by Nice’s defenders. Dante and Paul Baysse add maturity and guidance that aids a bloated midfield featuring 5 players who are able to hold possession with side passes when they’re not playing balls up front to either of the two allotted strikers.

Three guys sitting back doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a system that works well for Lucien Favre’s players. Monaco, another wealthy club that plays in a league it doesn’t really belong in (if you ever look at a map) sits three points ahead of PSG and thus just a single point behind Nice; an aging midfield provides a level headed quality to the team, but who knows if the attack can keep up their blistering pace of 22 goals scored in just 8 matches.

The loss of one bright star and the addition of a rather dim one has signaled a change in Ligue 1, one that was very necessary. By now we’d be talking about how PSG will perform in the Champions League knowing that they’d sealed the deal in a rather boring league, but instead, it’s a three-horse race, one which has the prized thoroughbred sitting in third.

Who’s in front? That goofy long shot with its tongue sticking out.


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