Thursday, 6 August 2015

2015-16 Season Predictions

Ligue1 Season Predictions
We are preparing for the 78th edition of Ligue 1 in which 20 teams will compete , and unlike last seasons only 2 clubs will be relegated. The actual champion is PSG who is on pursuit for fourth consecutive title while Lyon, Monaco and Marseille will be threatening in background. Promoted clubs from Ligue 2 are Troyes, returnee in Ligue 1 after 3 years, Gazelec Ajaccio who is debuting in first division and Angers who returns to Ligue 1 after 21 years. 

PSG is too strong for this league and the most likely candidate to win the title. Current triple champion PSG will strive to continue winning the titles in domestic competitions as well as the passage to the semifinals in the Champions League. Last season they start reserved but at the end they managed to win triple crown. This year emphasis will be the Champions League performance where they were stopped in ¼ final of this competition in last 3 years. Therefore, they are in process of signing a winger Di Maria who will be significantly boost for the Paris team and with experienced trio Verratti-Motta-Matuidi they will have mighty midfield. Although it is speculated with the departure of Ibrahimovic, PSG is too strong for the rest of the league even without Ibra, so I expect another Ligue 1 title at Parc des Princes. 

Monaco will be competing with Lyon for second place which ensures automatic qualification to Champions League stage. The club from Principality change policy from past years, they are cutting costs by letting go big and expensive players while snatching young and promising talents. Team under the direction of coach Jardim is balanced and works well, also showed that they can play on two tracks. They let go Carrasco, Berbatov and Kondogbia while getting a bunch of young names including Traore, Lemar and El Shaarawy who is on loan from Milan. I expect successful season for Monaco, especially in the domestic league, where I can see them right behind the Parisians. 

Lyon surprised and ended up in second place last season which bring them back in the elite European competition, Champions League. Mainly because of securing Champions league spot, team stayed together keeping their best players including top scorer last season Lacazette, best young player Fekir, best goalkeeper Lopes, revelation of the season Tolisso while coach Fournier shared the prize with Jardim for best coach of last season. The goals for upcoming season are passage of the Champions League group stage and keep pressuring PSG but for a young team that will not be an easy task, and question is whether they can repeat last year's success. Lyon signed Lopes (Man.City) and Rafael (Man.Utd) whose experience may improve Lyon’s performance but our prediction is third place. 

Marseille, Bordeaux and St.Etienne will fight for fourth place, which leads to the Europa League. Marseille have lost Champions League spot which results with departure of 4 best players of last season. They are now without Ayew, Imbula, Payet and top scorer Gignac. Although they were leading at the middle of the season, insufficient rotation of players and loss of strength put them without title but also without key players. They signed Diaby and Diarra who will need to fit in Bielsa’s vision of open football with a high pace and the constant pressure. St Etienne is stable team that quickly gained experience. Thanks to solid defense they won fifth place last season, team has stayed together while Max Gradel is replaced with Roux. Bordeaux has one of the youngest teams with lot of talent and they will try to achieve a good placement in the Europa League but also rank among the 6 leading team of Ligue 1. 

Lille, Montpellier, Rennes, Toulouse, Nice and Guingamp should encircle the upper level champions standings and maybe disturb Europa League fight. For Lille this will be difficuilt and transition season, they lost Gueyea, Traore, Origie and Lopes and brought young players who have to prove themselves. Montpellier hopes to repeat last season's success when they finished in 6th place. However, a big disadvantage is departure of Barrios who they must adequately replace. Rennes played good campaign last season despite a disappointing last month when they won only one point. They had issue with leak defence which they solved by signing Sio and Baal for defensive tasks. Toulouse hopes for better campaign than last season when they finished just above the relegation zone, mainly thanks to the attacker Ben Yedder and hope that he would stay at club. However, they were only 7 points from the upper part of the scale which is goal for the upcoming season. Nice had problems with inefficiency, they lost Amavie and Bauthreca while signing Ben Arfa and Germain. They played a good preseason games which they will try to apply for championship games. Guingamp were playing simultaneous in Europa League and Ligue 1 where they finished in 10th place of championship. They lost top scorer Beauvue but hope for a placement in the upper half of the chart. 

Reims, Nantes, Bastia and Caen targets safe zone while Lorient will try to avoid last year's ranking. Reims last season conceded the most goals and this year priority is to improve their defense. They have a solid offense without one top scorer and goals are properly arranged by several players. Nantes had a great start last season but still finished in 14th place. This year transfers ban has ended and have already sign Sigthorsson (Ajax) and Sala (loan from Caen) and hope they will end in upper part of the scale. Caen lost Kante who has been doing great defense tasks and they will fight for staying in Ligue 1 like last season. Bastia also expects tough season after departure of four key players but home ground gives them hope for a good result. Lorient has one of the youngest teams in championship, they lost a lot of players in the transfer window including striker Ayew, positive thing is they manage to keep Guerreiro in club. However, relegation battle is once again ahead of them. 

The largest relegation candidates are newly promoted clubs from Ligue 2 Troyes, Angers and Gazelec Ajacico. Troyes won the Ligue 2, they have a quality coach who will try to show good results in Ligue 1, also. They have the best chance to stay in Ligue 1 concerning that relegation trio. Angers was very active in transfers, a lot of players came and left but they are without top scorer Kodjia which will diminish quality in attack. Gazelec Ajaccio achieved a second consecutive promotion and this will be first appearance in Ligue 1. They have the smallest budget in league and can hardly cope with other Ligue 1 teams. They haven’t got a top scorer, goals are deployed among 7-8 players but that will not be enough to stay in league.

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