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Is this the year PSG will be toppled ?

Monday 1st August 2016
It seems that year after year, Paris Saint-Germain are dominating the top division in France. After serious investment, the owners are starting to reap the awards on the domestic stage. A league and cup double was not enough for Laurent Blanc to keep his job as the owners wanted success in the Champions League.
After his Europa League heroics, Unai Emery has taken centre stage at the Parc De Princes and is eager to take his new side as far as possible in all competitions. With the main man, Zlatan Ibrahimović also moving on this could be the perfect season for some of the other, stronger teams in Ligue 1 to make the jump and challenge PSG for the title.

Who are the other contenders?

There are three main contenders who can challenge PSG this season with some other notable mentions. The main contenders are, of course, AS Monaco, Marseille and Olympique Lyon. Lille, as well as Saint Etienne, may also provide a challenge, however, the first three on paper would be the main challengers.

The season before last, Lyon provided a challenge before they fell at the final hurdle. PSG ran away with the title last year and won it as early as March. It was expected that Dmitry Rybolovlev and his $8.5 billion net worth at Monaco would provide serious competition to PSG. But, after Radamel Falcao failed to make an impact and James Rodriguez leaving after just one season at Stade Louis II, Monaco have struggled to bring in any real stars and therefore have not been real competition in Ligue 1.
Lyon and Marseille both struggled last season. Lyon did still manage a 2nd placed finish, however, they were still 31 points away from title winners, PSG. Marseille finished 13th, a shocking season by their high standards. Fans were understandably upset and much like Lyon and Monaco they are wanting to improve on that this season.

Are there any weaknesses in the PSG squad that can be exploited? 

After the domination of previous years, it is easy to say that PSG has no real weaknesses. However, changes in management may cause some problems to start with. Unai Emery is known for his tactical talent meaning that this could be a sticking point. When joining Sevilla, midfielders Coke and Iborra said that it took some time before the intense pressing style became the norm.

Emery is already putting forward this theory and it does seem to be working. A win against Inter Milan in the Champions cup was followed up with a 3-1 beating of Real Madrid. But, can the PSG keep this up for a 60 game season? It is a tough question to ask. A majority of current players have never played this way so it could be a sticking point.
Another weakness is the loss of the idol, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He was the poster boy for the club. The man everyone related to when talking about Paris. His departure has not only left an opening for a new poster boy but also one in attack.  Cavani is PSG's only out and out striker and of course there is no doubting his talent but he isn't a man who can drag a team through a game.

With Lucas Moura looking for a way out of the Parc De Princes, it could be soon that Emery looks for another striker. Relying on Cavani is not enough especially when competing in the Champions League. It could be a very interesting season for the Uruguayan who feels he can step into Zlatan's boots.

Who can fire another team to glory?

All three teams mentioned previously all have extremely talented players that can stop PSG storm the league this season. Lyon has a classy attack. Alexandre Lacazette, Nabil Fekir and Mathieu Valbuena can all run a game on their own and when you also have Maxime Gonalons and Corentin Tolisso in a side you have a serious team on your hands. Lacazette is, of course, the main man for Lyon. If the club can keep him, with Arsenal interested, they will have a fantastic player on their books, as they well know.
Monaco has struggled in recent times and hope that this can change this season. Kamil Glik signed from Torino and that will solidify their ageing defence. Radamel Falcao is also back at Monaco. After two forgettable loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, Falcao will be wanting to prove that he is still well worth investing in. The Portuguese trio of Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva and Ivan Cavaleiro will all aid Monaco's fight this season and they could be a wildcard come next May.

After a disappointing season last year, Marseille have bought well and will be hoping to climb the table this year around. Karim Rekik, as usual, will be solid in defence and the addition of Tomas Hubocan from Dinamo Moscow will only improve that. Remy Cabella has also joined on a permanent deal from Newcastle and his serious talented was showcased in Ligue 1, 2 years ago.

The failure to keep hold of Michy Batshuayi will have annoyed a section of Les Phocéens fans. But the $30 million gained from the fee will be invested well and with the solid squad depth Marseille have and the fact that the club has no European football to worry about, Marseille could be a darkhorse going into next season.
With changes of management and new additions as well as departures to all squads in France, many will go into the new season thinking that this is their year to do something special. On paper, PSG looks too strong and should win the league once again. However, football is not won on paper and anything can happen.

Unai Emery's side may struggle to understand his new tactics and could Zlatan's departure provide Cavani with too much pressure? There are many questions to be answered and with the changes ringing, for the first time in 3 years, PSG could be toppled. Whatever happens, we are in for a treat!
Jamie Britt
Liverpool FC fan, official club member. Liverpool and the Premier League is my thing but I take a serious interest in European as well as lower league football ! Still waiting for Liverpool to win a league title.....!!

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