Neymar Mbappe
Opinion

SEASON REVIEW: 5 reasons why PSG became champions

Publish on 01/05/2020 at 13h17 - D. CROSSAN

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Paris Saint-Germain were the undisputed class of the field in Ligue 1 Conforama in 2019-2020 and deserving champions for the ninth time in the club's history.

ligue1.com takes a look at the factors that made the capital club so much better than the rest:

Fearsome attack

Plundering an incredible 75 Ligue 1 Conforama in 27 matches, PSG scored 31 more goals than Monaco, the next most prolific attack, managed in 28 games. PSG shared the goals around with Kylian Mbappé - joint-top scorer in the division with Monaco's Wissam Ben Yedder- managing 18, Neymar 13 and loan signing Mauro Icardi 12.

PSG could have had even more goals as they struck the woodwork 18 times in the truncated season. Another statistic backing up PSG's dominance was the fact they managed 449 shots, 69 more than Monaco.

Di Maria The Man

The calendar year 2019 finally saw Angel Di Maria get the credit he deserves as the Argentinian schemer was many pundits' player of the year over the 12 months. Having successfully proved himself worthy of a starring role in the team despite the presence of so many world-class talents, Di Maria became integral to the success of Thomas Tuchel's side.

Di Maria was PSG's creative heartbeat in 2019-2020 and nobody in the division came close to matching his 14 assists. Monaco's Islam Slimani was second on the list with eight and the next best PSG player, Neymar, had six. Moreover, Di Maria weighed in with eight artful Ligue 1 Conforama goals.

Marvellous Marquinhos

Long-serving Brazilian Marquinhos allowed Thomas Tuchel the tactical flexibility the German craved. A centre-back by trade, the former Roma player spent the bulk of the season operating in central midfield, though he also featured at centre-half and in a hybrid role combining the two.

Marquinhos' physicality, game appreciation and intelligence ensured the transition into his new position was a successful one and PSG looked more solid whenever he operated in front of the defence. A squad leader and sometime captain, Marquinhos is set for even greater responsibility next term.

Neymar wins back the fans

After his hopes of a return move to Barcelona were dashed, Neymar made a belated start to the season. Amidst speculation as to whether he'd be able to win back the affection of the Parc des Princes faithful, the Brazilian superstar did his talking on the pitch, scoring a fabulous winner at home to Strasbourg on September 14 in his comeback game. That was the start of a run of three goals in four games that secured 1-0 league wins for the capital club.

Because of the premature conclusion to the campaign, Neymar actually managed fewer appearances (15) in 2019-2020 than in the injury-hit 2018-2019 (17) and 2017-2018 (20) seasons. When he was on the pitch he was consistently excellent and linked superbly with Mbappé. Neymar ended 2019-2020 with 13 league goals and six assists.

Mind the gap

Though beaten three times in the league (by Rennes, Reims and Dijon) PSG were so much better than the "chasing" pack as underlined by the 4-0 walloping they dished out to Olympique de Marseille in October. Monaco played superbly to score a 3-3 draw at the Parc des Princes in January but that was a rare example of a Ligue 1 Conforama outfit being able to match PSG's firepower.

PSG boasted a stingy defence too, keeping a league-high 14 clean sheets and not conceding a single penalty.  The addition of Costa Rican international goalkeeper Keylor Navas, signed from Real Madrid, definitely helped. That said, with 24 goals conceded, they were pipped to the honour of the division's best defence by Reims (21).

It remains to be seen whether the likes of OM, Rennes, Olympique Lyonnais and Monaco can pose more of a threat to PSG's supremacy when league football resumes in 2020-2021.