Three days before the winter break, nothing is done between the PSG, outgoing champion, and the other leaders of Ligue 1 who stand in 3 points. It remains to be seen who from Lille, Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier will be able to compete with Paris in the second part of the season.
LILLE (1st with 29 points, goal difference: + 16)
The next three matches: Dijon – Lille (15th day), Lille – PSG (16th day), Montpellier – Lille (17th day)
– Christophe Galtier’s team, which scores almost two goals per game on average, is rather offensive and has the second attack so far with 26 goals (against 33 at PSG). More interestingly, the Losc has several goal scorers with Yilmaz (6 goals / 4 assists), Yazici (4/2), Bamba (5/6) and Ikoné (2/2).
– Lille’s defense, led by captain José Fonte, is also the most airtight in the championship, with only 10 goals conceded in 14 days, tied with that of PSG (OM have also conceded only 10 goals but on a total of 12 games.)
– Since the summer, the Mastiffs have been very regular in their progress and have recorded only one defeat at this stage of the competition, 3-2 in Brest, during the 10th day on November 8.
– The leadership of Losc still needs to be consolidated. Indeed, unlike OM, OL and Montpellier, he has not yet met PSG in the first leg. Lille, which previously did not do better than a draw against Marseille (1-1) and Lyon (1-1), will play big against the Parisians on Sunday, December 21 (9 p.m.). In addition, and with a view to a final sprint, the Northerners will travel to Paris, Lyon and Montpellier.
– Opposed to Ajax Amsterdam in the round of 16 of the Europa League (February 18 and 25), the only French representative, can feed some ambitions, especially after his benchmark victory on the ground of AC Milan (3-0 ). However, scrapping on two fronts next February, or even beyond, is likely to slow Losc.
– Tensions are present within the management of the Lille club, between Luis Campos, the president’s advisor, and Marc Ingla, the general manager. Depending on the evolution of the situation, Galtier may be affected and the progress of the team is affected.
LYON (2nd with 29 points, goal difference: + 14)
The next three matches: Lyon – Brest, Nice – Lyon, Lyon – Nantes
– In terms of dynamics, Olympique Lyonnais is certainly holding the rope at this stage. Indeed, Rudi Garcia’s players have not lost since mid-September and their setback in Montpellier (2-1), or 11 games without defeat. Better, the winners of PSG Sunday remain on five consecutive victories. Looking ahead to the return matches, OL can look forward to welcoming three of their four direct competitors at Groupama Stadium: PSG, Lille and Montpellier.
– Obviously, the team of Rudi Garcia, 3rd best attack (25) and 3rd best defense (11) holds his team, both offensively and defensively. Toko-Ekambi (7 goals, 5 assists), Depay (6/4), Kadewere (5/1), Aouar (2/2), Paqueta in particular give complete satisfaction.
– Although semi-finalist in the Final 8 of the Champions League in Lisbon last season, Lyon, only 7th in the last Ligue 1 year, is not playing in European competition this season. Also, the Lyonnais are mobilized on the only championship, unlike PSG and Lille.
– Rudi Garcia, whose team is performing, will be tempted not to change, except marginally, depending on injuries and suspensions. However, the workforce being expanded, the Lyon coach may have egos to manage, among the less used players such as Moussa Dembélé.
– The winter transfer window is also likely to hamper the beautiful mechanics of Lyon, if certain candidate elements at the start see a successful transfer: Houssem Aouar, Dembélé, Depay …
– Garcia is coming to the end of his contract in June 2021 and there is no indication that he will be renewed. The coach’s lack of perspective may rub off on the team’s performance in the medium term.
MARSEILLE (4th with 27 points)
The next three matches: Rennes – OM, OM – Reims, Angers – OM
– OM have had a very good series in Ligue 1 so far: nine games without defeat and six consecutive victories. With Lille and Lyon, Marseille is the third club to have only one defeat, it was against Saint-Etienne at the Vélodrome in mid-September (2-0).
– With two games late (because of the health situation) against Lens on January 3, then Nice (on a date to be determined), both at the Vélodrome, Marseille is the theoretical leader. And even a large leader, potentially 4 points ahead, if he comes to fill up against Lens and Nice, two less well-classified formations, without giving up anything else.
– The Phocéens, eliminated from the group stage in the Champions League, will now be able to concentrate all their forces on Ligue 1 alone. This is an advantage over Lille and PSG.
– OM have a good midfielder and an efficient defense overall this season. Offensively, the Marseillais have shortcomings. Thauvin tops out at 5 goals and Benedetto at 3.
– Apart from the midfield, Marseille seems to lack bench depth, compared to its top 5 competitors. The Villas-Boas team is less affected but more dependent on injuries and suspensions than its rivals.
– The mediocre performance in the Champions League – a victory over Olympiakos for five defeats – is likely to weigh in the heads in their next confrontations against the accomplished Europeans that are PSG, Lille and Lyon.
MONTPELLIER (5th with 26 points)
The next three matches: Montpellier – Metz, Brest – Montpellier, Montpellier – Lille
– Montpellier has at this stage as many victories as Lille, Lyon or OM. It owes it to a powerful offensive sector: Delort (6 goals / 5 assists), Laborde (4/5), Mavididi (4/3), Savanier (3/3).
– Champion to everyone’s surprise in 2012, the Hérault club relies on its status as a complete outsider in the top 5 to go on to compete with the big teams for a place on the Ligue 1 podium to the end.
– Presumed weaker than its rivals, Michel Der Zakarian’s team is dedicated to Ligue 1 alone, unlike Lille and PSG.
– Montpellier has lost too many matches, four to date, to hope to compete sustainably with the top teams. The Héraultais notably lowered the flag against Rennes and PSG but also experienced mishaps against Nîmes (0-1) and Reims (0-4).
– The Montpellier defense is showing signs of weakness, with 21 goals conceded in 14 days. About twice as many as those of Lille, Lyon, PSG and Marseille.
– The return phase will not be particularly favorable to Montpellier whose team will travel to three of the four big arms of the top 5: PSG, Lyon and Lille.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr