Deciding which team would be relegated from the French Ligue 1 is only challenging if you had to choose one. No disrespect to any of the teams, the players, or their managers, but considering that three teams will get the axe, it becomes much easier to narrow down.
First glance at the table, and you see the usual suspects: Metz, Lorient, Clermont Foot, and Le Havre. But out of character is Lyon at the bottom of the table. With 0 wins and 4 points after 10 matches played, it’s not surprising the team has 11/4 odds of being relegated at many of the best offshore sportsbook sites.
At the beginning of the season, you would have pegged Lyon to be somewhere mid-table, making claims at a title chance, with fans hoping the team could replicate its heroics from the 2015-16 to the 2018-19 seasons. Imagine the surprise of most people, especially casual watchers of the French league, when they browse their favourite betting sites and find that Lyon, considered one of the French league’s royalty, is battling relegation and scrapping it out for points.
But as unlikely as it might seem, it is important to recognize that it is still early look-ins into the season, and if any team can make a dramatic return to good form, it would be Les Gones.
Another team that would have wished for a better start to the season is FC Metz. With 5/6 odds of relegation, they are the team most expected not to make the cut. The fans would not be surprised, considering the number of times the team has been relegated recently. A quick recap shows the 2014-15 season, where they finished 19; the 2018-18 season, where they placed 20; and most recently, the 2021-22 season, where they finished 19 again.
The Metz’s last three matches do not show a lot of promise as they drew the match with Lyon, another draw with Le Havre, and went on to lose to AS Monaco. Their situation is not helped when you consider they are in the middle of something resembling an injury crisis with players like Óscar Estupiñán, the Colombian striker on loan from Hull City, having picked a Hamstring injury, Aboubacar Lo and Habib Maiga all out of action till mid-November.
Clermont Foot 63 is no better. Reverse the table, and they are second only to Lyon, with an equally poor outing this season with a disappointing singular win against Lyon and 6 points from their opening 10 matches. While their record this season rightly earns them 10/11 odds of being relegated, they are the one team we can afford to cut some slack on the list.
This team gained promotion into Ligue 1 in 2021 and immediately flirted with relegation, toughing it out at 17th in the 2021-22 season before impressing their fans to a solid 8th finish the season after. They are currently 17th this season, with fans all over the country, hearts in mouth, hoping their fortune would improve as the season unfolds.
Le Havre is another team likely to be relegated this season, not just because of its poor outing but because it just gained promotion into the competitive French league. The team is no newbie when it comes to being relegated, having already been relegated in the 2008-09 season. They currently sit 7th in the league with 14 points, only 4 more points more than the 16th-placed Metz, showing how quickly things can change and how two errant match results can turn the tables. Regardless, the team and the fans must stay strong because, whether shaky or not, it is an impressive season they are having compared to teams like Lyon at the bottom. The odds of Le Havre being relegated are 9/4.
Lastly, Les Merlus in FC Lorient has had a rocky relationship with Ligue 1. They have toughed it out and battled for their keep, but a few times, they have fallen short of the prize, and fans fear it might be a repeat of the same sad story this season. Under their manager, the French national Régis Le Bris, they have achieved parity in the number of games played and number of points earned, with 11 being the lucky number.
They sit above Metz, Clermont Foot, and Lyon, but anybody familiar with the beautiful game would know they are far from safe, with 3/1 odds of being relegated this season.
Unlike the other teams on this list, perhaps why they sit relatively higher on the table is because they have something in the way of goalscorers—two of them, in the names of Eli Junior Kroupi, the 17-year-old attacking midfielder, and Romain Faivre, the 25-year-old right midfielder, both with three goals each.
It is easy to see how much better FC Lorient could be doing if they did not have to manage so many injuries. The team currently has Ayman Kari, Aiyegun Tosin, Debo Sylla, Loris Mouyokolo, Bamba Dieng, Quentin Boisgard, and Benjamin Mendy out of the squad because of injury.