French Ligue 1 2020/21 Preview and Betting Tips

French top-flight football was stopped with a handful of Round 28 matches remaining. Paris Saint-Germain had a 12-point lead at the top and positions decided as they were then. 

The Parisian were declared champions, while Marseille and Rennes joining them in Champions League slots. Olympique Lyon made it to the semi-finals of the elite European club competition but at the time when Ligue 1 was frozen, they were in 8th place. 

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The 2020/21 Ligue 1 season has already begun with champions PSG yet to return from vacations. We are in strange times and strange occurrences should be expected. It does add to the excitement as variables have changed and anything can happen. 

There will be fans in French stadiums. While the politicians bicker, the clubs are taking stringent controls for the return of spectators. The Coupe de France had 2,805 fans in attendance and more will be accommodated as protocols are established. 

It promises to be an interesting season, both on and off the pitch. Our opinions on the major talking points about how the 2020/21 Ligue 1 season would turn out, are shared below.

Team Outrights

Who will win the League?

Before the current decade started, the last time Ligue 1 champions were from Paris in 1993/94. Bordeaux, Monaco, Nantes, Lyon, Marseille, Auxerre, Lens, and Montpellier added their name to the French champions list. Lyon were the most successful club in this period with seven successive wins. 

The days of changing champions are over. It is PSG and the rest. Such is the gulf between the Parisians and their contemporaries. Monaco managed to dent their ambitions in the 2016/17 season with Kylian Mbappe in their ranks and it will require another generational player’s arrival to dethrone them in French top-flight football. 

We are not the only one having confidence in PSG claiming their tenth Ligue 1 crown, bookies’ confidence is so high that the odds for them stand at 1.08

Tip: Paris Saint-Germain

Top 3 – who will go to the Champions League?

Unlike England, Germany, Italy and Spain, only three teams make it to the Champions League from France. Olympique Lyon missed out last season but will be looking to get in this time. They are priced at 1.55 by Bet9ja. Marseille are also the bookmakers’ favorites at odds of 2.90.  

Both, AS Monaco and Lille have an outside chance and are priced at 3.75 and 4.35 respectively to challenge the French giants. Lille sold Victor Osimhen for €70 million and will be building their squad to get Champions League riches. While the principality club will be headed by Niko Kovac in their bid to make an impact on the French top-flight.

Who will relegate?

Nimes Olympique were 18th on the points table and normally would have played in the Ligue 1 playoffs. However, the playoffs were cancelled for the 2019/20 season. This allowed them another year in the top-flight. However, it will not last for long. The Crocodiles cannot defend to save their lives and are primed to go down. 

Dijon FCO are the other side already in Ligue 1 that are bookies favorites to go down. The Stade Gaston Gerard based outfit do not have the firepower to balance their leaky defense and will be involved in the relegation battle.

The other direct candidate to go down will be one of the two promoted sides. Only a single point separated Lorient and Lens, but it is the goal difference that reveals the contract between them. Lens are conspicuous at the back and it will not bode well for them. 

Bet9ja has both Dijon and Nimes priced at 1.80 and 2.95 respectively, while Lens have 2.55 odds to go down.

Player Outrights

Who will win the Golden Boot?

Kylian Mbappe and Wissam ben Yedder topped the goalscoring charts in the 2019/20 season. It looks unlikely that the award will be shared in the coming season. 

Yedder played more games than the French wizard and barring any injuries, Mbappe should run away with the prize. The 2018 World Cup winner is the favorite with odds of 1.85.

Neymar might also be in the running for the prize, provided he can focus on the domestic competition. He misses far too many games to be considered a serious threat to Mbappe’s throne. Bookies have priced him at 4.70 and there is value to be had given the fact his distractions have greatly reduced.

Lyon attacking pair, Moussa Dembele and Memphis Depay are also in the running. They are priced by William Hill to take the Golden Boot at odds of 8.25. Depay is the better pick of the two but his future is under question with Barcelona targeting him in the transfer window.

Tip: Kylian Mbappe

Who will be the Player of the Season?

Mbappe was the last recipient of the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award. He had an exceptional 2018/19 season, scoring 33 goals and laying down 9 assists in 29 outings. We have picked him to have another outstanding season as distractions of a move to Real Madrid do not hound him this year.

However, if there is one man who can usurp Neymar is teammate Neymar. The Brazilian only participated in fifteen Ligue 1 fixtures but contributed more than a goal per game. His 13 goals and 6 assists prove that if he can remain fit, he is a force to reckon with. 

With Barcelona links dying down and the creative attacker settling at Parc des Princes, he can improve on his showings. Neymar at full flow is a delight to watch and is our pick for the Player of the Season award.

Tip: Neymar

Manager Outrights

Who will be Manager of the Season?

Massimiliano Allegri was tipped to replace Tomas Tuchel but PSG’s impressive performances in Champions League have secured his job for the time being. Allegri’s name will continue to be linked with the Parisians until he finds a new job and a sword will keep hanging on Tuchel’s head.

While Tuchel should easily take home the Ligue 1 title, it is the performances of competitors that will define the Manager of the Season. Niko Kovac has been tasked to bring Monaco back to their former heights. If the Croatian manages to claim Champions League placement, he will be in with a shout.

Tuchel and Kovac will have a fight on their hands from Rudi Garcia. The French manager gave a good account of himself in the Champions League and will have to replicate it in Ligue 1. It will be a tough task as Dembele has struggled for form while Depay is on his way out. 

Our pick is Niko Kovac for the individual award. Kovac has a lot to prove after his sackings at Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. Moreover, he is fortunate to have a gifted squad that can match with the best. 

Tip: Niko Kovac

Who will be the first to be sacked?

In 2019/20 St Etienne were the first team to sack their manager. It was a short stint for Ghislain Printant. Claude Puel took over from him but there wasn’t a dramatic change of events. By the time the league was suspended, the club were barely above relegation slots.

On the other hand, the second manager to get sacked was Brazil legend, Sylvinho. Jean-Michel Aulas got rid of him and brought Rudi Garcia on board. Lyon’s terrific Champions League run has given him life extension at the Groupama Stadium. 

Both Garcia and Puel will be under pressure to deliver at their respective clubs. In our opinion, Puel has a tougher task especially with the departure of defensive stalwart William Saliba. 

Tip: Claude Puel

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