Monday, 4 August 2014

2014-15 Season Predictions

Ligue 1 2014-15 Predictions
PSG - Ligue 1 Top Favorite
A new season of Le Championnat, top class football in France is ahead. The 2014–15 Ligue 1 season will be the 77th season since its establishment and Paris Saint-Germain will be the defending champions. Not so many things have changed since last season, the gap among the best (richest) clubs and the rest of the clubs in the league is bigger than ever and we'll kick of this year predictions with league title contenders. Paris Saint-Germain - Laurent Blanc has signed a new contract with the club and signing of David Luiz will strengthen the PSG defense in the league and especially in Champions League. They won the French Super Cup with another great performance by Ibrahimović. Even doe the bar has been set high and nothing but the league and cup title would satisfy club owners early performance just convinced us even more to predict PSG as champions

AS Monaco - Leonardo Jardim is the new coach (3 year deal) but expectations will remain the same and AS Monaco will again aim for the title. James Rodriguez is off to Real Madrid and there are rumors that many clubs are willing to pay big money for Radamel Falcao. Even with the likes of Falcao and Rodrigues they would have trouble challenging PSG for the title and departure of James is certainly a huge blow for Monaco's title aspirations. They will try to sign some big names before the season starts and transfer rumors are players like Sneijder, Cerci, Bakayoko and Nicolas Gaitan. Champions League might be huge distraction for Monaco and we would not be surprised if some team from our top five made a huge challenge to second place. 

Olympique Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais, LOSC Lille - The signing of Marcelo Bielsa as new coach brought smiles and excitement to Marseille fans. He made some quality signings like Romain Alessandrini from Rennes and Michy Batshuayi from Standard Liege who will easily adapt to Bielsa's vision. No question that Bielsa's temperament would turn club and team in positive direction and perhaps challenge Monaco for the second place. Lyon (and the rest of the clubs in the league) are struggling with financial issues. Remi Garde left the club with Hubert Fournier taking over this young and talented Lyon team. With some of the veterans and high quality youngsters this season would be a solid base for upcoming years. If they progress and impress as expected, our predictions would be forth place. Lille finished third last season with aspirations to build on that success and maybe try to challenge second position. In order to do so they would have to play on the same level defensively as they did last year and maybe that is too big of a task currently. They didn't do much to boost the team in key positions and they would for sure need another solid striker. If they manage to qualify for final stage of Champions League that would affect their Ligue 1 aspirations. We predict them being in the top five this season. 

Saint-Etienne, FC Lorient, Girondins de Bordeaux - The biggest downside for Saint-Ettienne is lack of high quality goal scorer. They have been quiet during the last couple of weeks and some fresh blood is needed if expectations are to be met. With the temptations of European competitions, we predict 6th place. FC Lorient did the best they can in keeping the four key players in the club. With Vincent Aboubakar, captain Bruno Ecuele-Manga, Raphael Guerreiro, Alain Traore and signing of young forward Benjamin Jeannot this could be a really good season for Lorient. Intelligent money management and vision could be just enough to take them one or two steps higher than last season. Things have not been going well for Bordeaux over the last couple of seasons and new coach Willy Sagnol will have enough time for fresh start this season. He signed talented midfielder Wahbi Khazri from Bastia and brought back Emiliano Sala and Hadi Sacko from loan after impressive seasons in League 2. This is really an exciting time for this Bordeaux team and we predict solid season with them finishing in the top 8. 

Tolouse FC, Montpellier, FC Nantes, SC Bastia - One can never tell what can happen in Toulouse. No big signings at the moment and we predict solid mid table spot. Much is expected of Anthony Mounier and Morgan Sanson in Montpelier but the championship season is only a nice memory now. We predict mid table spot. Nantes are penalized and were unable to sign any new players and top scorer left the club. Still we predict a place above relegation zone as they still poses certain quality. Claude Makelele will debut as head coach in Bastia. They have not been that active in the market due to budget limitations and would rely on young forces. We think it should be enough and predict a spot above relegation zone. 

SM Caen, Metz, Evian TG and Guingamp are biggest candidates for relegation this season. Gunigamp are league cup winners and sure will have difficult time playing domestic and European competitions at the same time. The defense will be even more solid with Maxime Baca and Benjamin Angoua in the roster but who will score goals? If they don't find a striker who would score 10-15 goals this season they will have a hard time leaving the danger zone. Metz are returning to the league with the talented, yet unpredictable young team and sure will be somewhere in the relegation zone. Life will not be easy for them this season. Kevin Berigaud and Modou Sougou left Evian and no significant signings have been made so this will be another stressful season like the last one when they saved themselves with a win over FC Sochaux in the last day of the season. We predict direct relegation together with Caen. Team from Normandy is young and talented but this level of competition could be too much for them. They did sign Julien Feret and veteran goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre but that will not be enough to make it out of the danger zone.

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