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Four days before the end of the French championship, Lille, Paris, Monaco and Lyon can all still mathematically claim the crown of champion. Overview of the dynamics of these four teams.
In recent years, Ligue 1 had become accustomed to the early coronations of PSG from the first heat of spring, if we except the “accident” of 2017 and the title of Monaco. But 2021 is a year unlike any other. In the stadiums emptied by the pandemic, the race for the title of champion of France is again exciting. Four days from the end, Lille, PSG, Monaco and even Lyon can still claim the crown of King of France.
In addition to first place, the battle for qualifying places for the Champions League is just as raging. Because of the four teams that offer us a breathtaking final, one will fail at the foot of the podium and will have to be content with the Europa League next year. A rank currently occupied by Lyon.
Review of the forces involved:
• The Olympique Lyonnais (4e): secure the podium
🎙 The coach @RudiGarcia before #ASMOL : “If we win this match in Monaco, everything will still be possible. We have to do it now. I don’t think there is a physical problem. We are working to keep the players mentally fresh. With the ball, it passes. much better.”
– Olympique Lyonnais (@OL) April 30, 2021
OL lost big on Sunday April 25 against Lille. While they were leading 2-0, Rudi Garcia’s men let Lille overthrow them (2-3). A defeat which expelled Lyon from the podium and pushed it back six lengths from the northern leader. Under these conditions, the title remains mathematically possible but highly improbable as it would require a series of poor performances from the teams which occupy the podium.
Lyon now has more realistic concerns in mind: obtaining a qualifying place in the Champions League. The trip to Monaco this weekend is therefore crucial: with four points behind their opponents before the match, a new defeat would condemn them to be content with the Europa League.
“We think there is still a major blow to play. We should be qualified in the Europa League in which we could also be ambitious, if unfortunately we remain in our ranking (4th) because no team in France has yet won this competition in the current configuration “, explained Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of OL. Before adding: “[Mais] it is not our main motivation, which is to qualify for the Champions League, by all means. “
• AS Monaco (3e): the fantastic ride of 2021
This is the story of a shattering comeback. Far from the podium and leading roles during the first part of the season, the Rocher club came back in force at the end of 2020 before continuing its momentum in 2021. In all competitions, ASM has played 20 matches since the beginning of the calendar year. Apart from a loss to Strasbourg on March 3, Monaco won 16 wins and conceded three draws. It is quite simply the best record of the leading quartet.
Fourth in L1 since January 15, the princely team grabbed 3rd place in mid-March and are now looking higher, hoping to surprise the PSG-Lille duo. Monaco certainly need a misstep from their opponents to be able to go up a notch or two, but their dynamics can give them confidence.
“I have the feeling that the players believe in it. I do not want to prevent them from dreaming. We can arrive 3rd, 2nd, maybe more. Everything is open, they must take advantage of it,” wants to believe the coach, Niko Kovac.
• Paris SG (2e): in the unusual hunter position
Winner of seven of the last eight championships, PSG has the force of habit when it comes to this final sprint. However, Paris is in an unusual position: that of the hunter, as it is usually far ahead at this time of year. The fault of eight defeats in Ligue 1 this season, a first since the acquisition of the club by Qatar.
If Paris can count on its plethora of stars and the most favorable of the calendars of the contenders for the title, it will be necessary to be careful not to disperse: when approaching its match against Lens on Saturday, the PSG will undoubtedly have in mind its semi-final return of the Champions League and the feat he will have to achieve on the lawn of Manchester City next Tuesday. It would be a shame to lose on both counts.
• Lille OSC (1er): the “Mastiffs” do not want to let go “their bone”
It is the only team which has its destiny in hand at the moment. If they win their last four matches, Lille are sure to be champions. Simple. Basic.
Of the four title contenders, it is the most consistent team since the start of the season. And in recent weeks, the “Mastiffs” have displayed unsuspected mental resources, symbolized by points won at the end of the match, like their stunning victory against Lyon.
“We are in front, the players are holding something and they must do everything not to be taken from them. Like a dog with a bone in its mouth. They have it. Nobody must come and take it away, they must have it. in the lead “, orders coach Christophe Galtier, who finally wants to believe it.