Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

PSG Champions: How the title was won

Publish on at - S. WILLIS


Paris Saint-Germain are Ligue 1 Conforama champions for the fifth time in six seasons. How have they done it? ligue1.com's Ian Holyman takes a look at what has made Unai Emery's men title winners.

There was no doubt that last summer's transfer market saw PSG make a statement of intent. That statement was loud and oh so clear: we want the title back.

After four successive league crowns, PSG had seen their billing as the French top-flight's premier team taken away from them in spectacular style by AS Monaco. To ensure it would not happen again in 2017-18, they hit back. And hit very, very hard.

Neymar Jr, considered one of the top three players in the world, left Barcelona to come to the Parc des Princes in a world-record transfer, and he was joined by Kylian Mbappé, the wonderkid of Monaco who - undoubtedly - has the potential to join his Brazilian team-mate, and perhaps even surpass him, as a great of the game.

Money does not always translate into success of course, but in PSG's case, their massive investment has brought a handsome return. Though his season was brutally shortened by injury, Neymar Jr contributed 19 goals and 13 assists in just 20 league appearances, Mbappé - back in the Paris region where he was born and raised - showed his first season in Ligue 1 Conforama was no one-off with 13 goals and seven assists as of their Week 33 title win.

Prolific Cavani

The question was how they would gel with Edinson Cavani, but it was quickly answered positively as the formidable 'MCN' trident was born. The pair slipped seamlessly into the front three employed by Emery with Cavani not missing a beat and barely a goalscoring chance. The seemingly insatiable Uruguay international goalgetter's record of virtually a goal a game - 25 in 28 in the league after the Week 33 rout of Monaco - not only helped fuel the title win, but earned Cavani a place in the club's history by becoming Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading scorer, overtaking former team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The potency of PSG's attack even outstripped that of Monaco's title-winners last term - the capital club had scored 11 more goals after 33 matches than Leonardo Jardim's men had at the same stage last season - but their world-class attack was not all that opponents had to contend with.

The 12 wins in a 13-game unbeaten start to the season in all competitions set the tone for the campaign, and featured a 6-2 win over Girondins de Bordeaux that highlighted the team's attacking potential, but also a 2-0 victory over Olympique Lyonnais and a convincing 3-0 triumph over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

Fortress Parc

Those clean sheets were evidence of a side built on solid foundations, bolstered by the summer arrival of serial trophy winner Dani Alves from Juventus, and the return to his best form of club captain Thiago Silva. The ten-point lead PSG quickly built over the rest of the field in those opening weeks never looked likely to close, and in fact has been extended thanks in large part to Ligue 1 Conforama's meanest defence.

Other players have stood out too. Adrien Rabiot has matured into one of the division's and Europe's finest young midfielders, Angel Di Maria's stunning 2018 form, which has seen the former Real Madrid and Manchester United man plunder 15 goals in all competitions, has helped compensate for the loss of Neymar, while Giovani Lo Celso has given French football a taste of exciting things to come from the young Argentine.

Fortress Parc des Princes, where PSG have won all 17 home matches to date, has proven impregnable to opponents, but ultimately Emery must take the lion's share of the credit.

The Spanish tactician has done what the club surely asked of him in only his second season in charge: improved the team's performance. Though the Champions League dream will have to wait at least another year, Emery's men have undoubtedly been a cut above domestically, and having already wrapped up the Trophée des Champions, league title and the Coupe de la Ligue, are hotly fancied to claim the Coupe de France and complete a quadruple in France, just as they did in back-to-back seasons between 2014 and 2016.

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