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Mbappé’s records, the fight for the podium… the 9 challenges to watch this season

The 2022-2023 Ligue 1 campaign begins this Friday with an OL-Ajaccio as the inaugural match and ends the weekend of June 3 and 4, 2023. Before the resumption, RMC Sport draws up its list of its desires for a season to come particularly exciting.

An incredible battle for the podium and Europe

The arrival of Christophe Galtier on the PSG bench has not changed the situation: the Ile-de-France club is still (and still) the big favorite for the title in Ligue 1. With the arrivals of Vitinha, Nordi Mukiele and in the meantime that of Renato Sanches, Paris is still the biggest spender in the French championship. But behind, the competition has also increased. Enough to give rise to a frantic race for the podium and the European places.

Without going crazy, the elite clubs tried to make moves during the transfer window. Monaco bet on the Minamino-Embolo duo to find the Champions League. On the side of Marseille, in addition to keeping Milik, Pabo Longoria has multiplied the arrivals to look good this season. Ditto in Lyon where the takeover by John Textor confirmed the ambitions for the future.

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To these four teams, logical candidates for the podium, we must also add Rennes and Lens. The Bretons bet on stability with Bruno Genesio while the Aiglons brought back Lucien Favre. Respectively qualified for the Europa League and the Conference League this season, Stade Rennais and the Riviera club will try to do even better.

It’s simple, at least seven teams have made qualifying for the Champions League a goal or a dream in 2022-2023. There will certainly be disappointed but for the enthusiasts, this bodes well for a fantastic spectacle in Ligue 1.

The season of all records for Mbappé?

The 2021-2022 financial year was to be Kylian Mbappé’s last at PSG and in Ligue 1. Almost a year ago, it seemed unthinkable to see the striker extend in Paris when Real Madrid had made it a priority. . After months of waiting, fear and uncertainty, the tricolor prodigy has finally chosen to stay. Good for PSG and especially good for L1.

Top scorer and best passer last season, the striker could well afford some records with PSG. With only 19 goals behind Edinson Cavani (119 against 138 for the Uruguayan) in Ligue 1, Kylian Mbappé will most certainly become the club’s top scorer in the competition.

The most prolific scorer in the top flight but perhaps also PSG’s top scorer. With 171 achievements with Paris, Kylian Mbappé is currently 31 points behind Edinson Cavani. With a new dream season, the 2018 world champion is in danger of erasing the Matador’s mark.

Among the other prestigious records that the kid from Bondy can aim for during the 2022-2023 campaign, Kylian Mbappé can afford a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic. With 33 games with more than one goal scored in Ligue 1, the Swedish giant is currently ahead of Kylian Mbappé for four doubles, triplets or quadruplets (29 for the Frenchman). It will therefore suffice at least five meetings with more than one pawn to become the only record holder in the league.

However, some records seem more complicated to achieve. Even for a player of the talent of Kylian Mbappé. He will need incredible lethality against the opposing cages to equal or exceed the 38 goals scored in an L1 season by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2015-2016) with PSG. Ditto for the record of the French championship in the matter, a reference established by the Marseillais Josip Skoblar in 1970-1971 with 44 achievements. Beautiful individual goals for a Kylian Mbappé determined to make an impression.

OM, confirmation or implosion

Jorge Sampaoli resigned, Igor Tudor arrived on the Marseille bench during the offseason. But after a sluggish preparation on the ground and tensions with several locker room executives, the Croatian coach already seems to be in the hot seat.

President Pablo Longoria may have recalled his confidence in him, OM have already offered themselves a crisis even before the first day of Ligue 1.

Second last year and qualified for the pools of the Champions League, Marseille must also do well on the European scene. Problem, this could harm performance in the league if the workforce fails to follow up. All the more reason to recruit in order to be able to play on both counts. New problem, and new twist to follow in the Marseille series, supporters attack players even before they join the team as with Jordan Veretout.

For all these sporting and non-sporting reasons, Marseille remains a special team in Ligue 1. And inevitably, when the season starts at such a pace, we look forward to the next episode of the Olympian soap opera.

Will these stars relaunch?

Football fans often complain about seeing stars leave Ligue 1. Of course, great talents like Aurélien Tchouaméni have left. But the elite clubs have also strengthened themselves with renowned players.

OL repatriated two Baby Gones with Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, Monaco convinced the Japanese Takumi Minamino to leave Liverpool for the Rock.

Ditto for Aaron Ramsey and Kasper Schmeichel in Nice. The former Arsenal playmaker left Juventus to sign in the South of France. After eleven years at Leicester, the Danish goalkeeper has also decided to take up the INEOS challenge with Lucien Favre’s Aiglons.

After a complicated year in Rennes, Alfred Gomis seems to have had its day. Instead, the Breton club offered a nice project to Steve Mandanda. Barred at OM, which could welcome the Chilean Alexis Sanchez, the 37-year-old goalkeeper will try to shine at Roazhon Park. Arrived from Watford, Moussa Sissoko will be entitled to a beautiful last stand in Nantes, nine years after his departure for England.

Will OL bounce back?

Deprived of Europe, the fault of a disappointing eighth place in 2021-2022, Lyon no longer has the right to make mistakes. By only playing one game a week, unlike their main rivals for the podium, Les Gones will have a freshness advantage. Sometimes attractive but too often irregular, the team coached by Peter Bosz arouses great enthusiasm for the resumption of Ligue 1. By keeping certain young people like Caqueret or Gusto and with the recruitment of its illustrious former Lacazette and Tolisso, the Rhone club has of a fine squad for the French elite. Both in quality and in quantity.

With the already announced arrival of John Textor at the head of the team, the American businessman not forgetting to throw spades at PSG and OM, this OL constitutes the promise of a show throughout throughout the championship. It is still necessary that the club dear to Jean-Michel Aulas does not miss its start to the season. With a good series during the first months of competition, Lyon will clearly have something to scare their rivals. But for the moment there is only one certainty: it is forbidden to relive the same galley as last year.

The first French “Boxing Day”

It’s hard to forget as the meeting approaches at high speed. In 2022-2023, Ligue 1 will experience a big break for almost a month because of the World Cup in Qatar (from November 21 to December 18). If the French championship will only stop eight days before the start of the World Cup (the 15th day is scheduled for November 13), it will resume ten days after the final in Doha.

Due to the World Cup in Qatar, even if not all L1 players will be affected, the traditional winter break will be skipped. Instead, France will treat itself to its first “Boxing Day” with a championship day scheduled for December 28 and then another on January 1, 2023. Without yet having enough prestige to compete with the Premier League, this will certainly constitute a nice attraction during the holiday season.

Finally sparks for the Messi-Neymar duo

In the list of reasons for celebration before the resumption of Ligue 1, we must also give a small place to Lionel Messi and Neymar. Very criticized for his first season in France, the Argentinian will certainly want to take his revenge. The best way for him to forget the whistles of the Parc des Princes? Shine with goals and caviars.

His sublime free kick during the Champions Trophy set the tone: Neymar wants to silence his detractors. Author of a great summer preparation, the Brazilian seems to have ants in his legs for the recovery.

If he escapes the physical glitches, the former Santos and Barça could well delight the spectators of the French championship again. In a playmaker role in support of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé, the Auriverde star of PSG could well benefit from a creative freedom capable of offering some flashes of which she has the secret.

A mad struggle to maintain

The race for Europe will cause spectacle in Ligue 1. But the battle for maintenance too. The transition to 18 clubs in 2023-2024 requires that the LFP has decided to condemn four teams to relegation this season. In order to avoid imitating Bordeaux, Metz and Saint-Etienne, the elite formations will have to give everything not to go down.

The sporting and financial consequences of a move to Ligue 2 could prove disastrous for certain teams with a fragile balance. When we know that a fifth of the clubs involved will not continue (4/20) this already promises crazy evenings of the championship with a single watchword: woe to the defeated!

Peaceful grandstands

Finally, and this is perhaps more than wishful thinking, Ligue 1 must also show good things in the stands. In 2021-2022, from the first day with a stormy Montpellier-OM and until the return barrage between ASSE and Auxerre, incidents with supporters multiplied. Difficult to forget the violence of the clash between Nice and Marseille or that of the Olympico with the bottle thrown in the face of Dimitri Payet.

To avoid experiencing such difficulties with the fans, the LFP as well as the public authorities and the clubs have worked to guarantee security in the stadiums. Exit plastic bottles, which officially join the list of prohibited items in the stands.

A reinforced protocol is also planned for high-risk matches with, for example, the obligation for clubs to have anti-projection devices (safety nets) and anti-intrusion devices (grids, plexiglass, barriers, pits), removable and activatable on recommendation of the prefect or the National Division for the Fight against Hooliganism (DNLH).


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