Ligue 1 Talking Points writer Paul Bathurst examines PSG’s 9-0 crushing of ESTAC Troyes at the weekend which confirmed Les Parisiens as the 2015/16 campaign French top flight winners and explains why this match was emblematic of the current status of Ligue 1 itself.
We have known the identity of the Ligue 1 champions for a long time now, but only yesterday was it mathematically confirmed. I use the world ‘only’ in the loosest fashion, PSG have steam rolled the league this season.
Winning the title in March with 8 games remaining is nothing short of spectacular, and PSG are now fast becoming one of the elite sides in Europe, but the early clinching of the title in such a manner also all but summed up the enormous gulf in talent between Les Parisiens and the chasing pack, the all too damning reality of the French top flight in its current form.
In typical Parisian style, PSG had to have their title confirmed by putting on a show. Bottom side Troyes would eventually be on the receiving end of a merciless 9-0 drubbing from the champions.
Troyes have only scored 8 times at home this season, so PSG scored more goals at the Stade De I’Aube than the hosts during their entire campaign! . If there is a statistic that better exemplifies the enormous gulf in talent between your run-of-the-mill Ligue 1 side and PSG, I am not sure where one would find it.
Now some might cry foul play at this analysis, with ESTAC Troyes undeniably the worst side in Ligue 1 this season, sitting at the bottom of the table and having managed just two league wins during the entire campaign. So maybe Troyes are not the best representatives for the rest of the division vs. PSG, but the manner in which Les Parisiens won the title on the weekend will be interpreted differently by the rest of Europe – an embarrassment for French football.
How can the gulf be addressed? That is a discussion for another day.
Anyway, it would not be a historical PSG performance without Zlatan being the main man. The big Swede notched a second half quadruple, ensuring he stays well clear at the top of the scorer charts. PSG had a 3-0 lead with just 19 minutes on the clock, with goals from Cavani, Pastore and Rabiot. Troyes held out until half time, but then PSG went up another gear scoring 6 more without reply.
Cavani got himself a brace, whilst a miserable day for Troyes defender Saunier was compounded with an own goal. From a PSG point of view, they can only beat what is put in front of them, and whilst Troyes may not be the toughest of tests, Les Parisiens still excelled on this occasion. It is not uncommon for the top sides in Europe to hammer the lesser sides, although 9-0 is a rare scoreline, and one to be proud of for the capital club.
Laurent Blanc and his team can now turn their attention to the Champions League quarter finals. With the league sewn up, PSG are now undoubtedly a serious contender for the biggest prize of all.
There is no doubt that French football will be behind the Paris side to go all the way in the Champions League, because if they did manage to win the competition, it might serve as some justification for the other 19 sides’s total failure to make the Ligue 1 title challenge anything other than a one horse race.