A thrilling Ligue 1 season ended with Paris Saint Germain winning the league for the third consecutive time, and although this campaign was tougher than those endured in the last two seasons, the Parisians are firmly establishing a monopoly in the country.
PSG didn’t start the league in very convincing fashion and in November, it looked like Laurent Blanc’s team would be displaced by Marseille or Lyon at the top. However, the Parisians raised their game in the second half of the season and ensured that the league trophy stayed in Paris. Winning eight consecutive games from 20th March until the end of the season put pressure on Lyon who eventually could not keep up with the title run, and lost by eight points. Looking at the table might make you think that this was a one horse race, but it was only three games from the end of the season, when Lyon shockingly lost 3-0 to Caen, that the balance of power in the league decisively shifted.
The turning point for PSG in the league after their slow start to the season, was the 4-2 defeat at Furiani against Bastia on January 10th. After that, they played 25 domestic games (league and cups), lost only once, drew three and won 21! After the disastrous result at Bastia, PSG were fourth in the table, seven points behind Lyon. There must have been significant alarm in the dressing room and the big names finally stepped up their game. Edinson Cavani, who had a lackluster first half to the season; Thiago Motta and others did much better in the second half of the season which reflected in the results.
PSG had the best attack (83 goals in 38 games) and the fourth-best defence (36) behind Monaco (26), Saint-Etienne (30) and Lyon (33) in the league.
PSG also won the Coupe de la Ligue and face Ligue 2 outfit AJ Auxerre in the Coupe de France final. Should they comfortably beat their opponents, PSG will become the first team in French football history to win a domestic treble. The club’s inability to advance past the quarterfinal stage of the UEFA Champions League for a third consecutive season will be a huge disappointment for the side as the Qatar owners expect some continental success.
This seasona s main aims were to retain the Ligue 1 title, to win both the domestic cups (one done, and the other arguably a certainty), but the main aim was to advance further in the Champions League (semi-finals or better). The first goal has been realized, the second one is almost complete but the third one was missed out on and this was perhaps, the most important goal just because success in domestic competitions is expected at PSG.
The club faced Barcelona in the quarter-final of the tournament and having beaten them once in the group stages (and after knocking out Premier League champions Chelsea out of the competition in the round-of-16), there was a sense of optimism around PSG’s quarter-final tie. Barcelona have undoubtedly been the team in Europe in 2015 and could possibly be the Champions in a few days time, but the manner in which the Parisians went down in the two ties (1-3;2-0) would have definitely left a sour taste in the players and management’s mouths.
It can be argued that PSG were missing the services of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta over the course of the two legs but the margin of defeat signals how much work needs to be done to be successful in the competition.
One thing that needs to be worked on immediately is improving the squad depth in quality. With such key players missing the ties, a glaring need for more quality players being there was visible for the side. FFP restricted PSG last summer (after Luiz’s arrival). Signing Paul Pogba or Angel Di Maria will mean a significant improvement in the squad but FFP is likely to constraint the club once again so PSG must target more overall quality and with expert work in the transfer market, and go for comparatively cheap options (not compromising on the talent, of course).
For a long time, it looked like PSG will be left behind in the league but a wonderful turn around at the start of the year has meant that the side is on course to win an unprecedented domestic treble. Regardless, Champions League is a competition PSG has to improve in and next season, the side needs to advance further than the quarter-final stage.
Player of the season- Marco Verratti
PSG might have a future Ballon d’Or winner in their hands. The 22 year-old was absolutely fantastic for large parts of the season. Verratti had the best passing stats not only in France, but in all of Europe. He attempted 2,766 passes, completing 2,527, for a 91.36 percent success rate. Without Marco Verratti playing in the heart of the pitch, there might not have been trophies for PSG this season. The Italian has been sensational in all competitions and along with the rejuvenated Javier Pastore, he has proved to be indispensable in the PSG side.