Now that July is coming to a close, we’re only days away from the kick-off of the 2022-2023 Ligue 1 season. On August 5, 20 teams representing the best of the French football league will enter into the battle that promises to make legends of some and send others home in defeat.
It’s easy to choose favorites among the participating teams, when clubs like Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and AS Saint-Étienne are tied for the number of championships they’ve won (10 each), yet some big names were surprisingly relegated last season, reminding fans that no team is guaranteed a position in the top ranks. And no one, not even PSG or Saint-Étienne, can reign forever.
In fact, Saint-Étienne was one of the teams who ended up relegated, after enjoying nearly two decades in the top flight. They ended up finishing in 18th place, after which they ultimately lost to AJ Auxerre on penalties in the relegation playoffs, landing them in Ligue 2 this season.
Perhaps even more surprising was FC Girondins de Bordeaux’s relegation after 30 years in the top flight, which resulted from finishing dead last in 2021-2022 Ligue 1.
While having a less impressive track record than Saint-Étienne or Bordeaux, FC Metz had enjoyed a three-year streak in the top flight and hoped to continue their success when they suffered a 5-0 final-day defeat to PSG last season, putting them in 19th place and relegating them to Ligue 2.
But with the relegation of those three teams comes the promotion of three others. After proving themselves on the battlegrounds of Ligue 2 in 2021-2022, Toulouse FC, AC Ajaccio and AJ Auxerre will return to Ligue 1 this season after spending years away.
Through all of the upheaval, Paris-Saint Germain seems unphased – especially now that they’ve held onto Kylian Mbappe, who was expected to leave PSG for Real Madrid this summer. Along with Lionel Messi and Neymar, the incredible front three are ready to put on a show-stopping performance this season. Will the combination of their talent and experience be enough to win their 11th title? Or will another team emerge to steal the show?
Find out when you subscribe to Sling and tune into Ligue 1 live on beIN SPORTS! Want to watch FOR FREE? Sign up between August 1 and 4, and enjoy a free trial that lasts through August 20!