PSG is one breakthrough away from a place among all-time greats

psgWith six more victories, Paris Saint-Germain should secure their fourth straight Ligue 1 title by the end of February, a truly remarkable feat for any team in Europe. Yet their current undefeated domestic season is routinely dismissed due to the perceived weakness of the French league, as well as PSG’s financial muscle. But I would argue that regardless of where PSG play and the players they buy, we’re watching one of the greatest teams in the history of the game.

It goes without saying but it’s incredibly difficult to go undefeated in any competition, let alone a league campaign that spans eight months. When you include league cup and UEFA Champions League matches, it’s even more unlikely to get through a season unblemished. In English soccer, for example, the invincible Arsenal team of 2003-2004 went undefeated (with 12 draws), and before them you have to go all the way back to the vaunted 1888-1889 Preston North End side that won the league and FA Cup without recording a loss.

Paris Saint-Germain are approaching Preston North End status. That might be the first time that sentence has ever been written but it’s true. Last season, the team from the French capital won the domestic quadruple (Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, and the Trophée des Champions) and reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League while only losing three league matches.

It’s hard to imagine, but PSG are on pace to top that this year. Paris currently have the same number of points as Olympique Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais combined and are in all domestic competitions (having already won the Trophée des Champions) as well as the Champions League. They’re 21 points clear of second place AS Monaco with a ridiculous plus-46 goal difference.

In the top five European leagues, Paris Saint-Germain are the only team left unbeaten. In fact, they haven’t lost a Ligue 1 game since March 15, 2015 at Bordeaux. That’s 31 league matches without a loss, with only three draws. This season, only Real Madrid can claim victory over the Parisians, and that was due to a Kevin Trapp howler. That one goal was the only one allowed by PSG in the group stages of the Champions League.

The common argument thrown at PSG to explain their winning ways is the league they play in. I’m not going to defend Ligue 1 and pretend that it’s as competitive top-to-bottom as the Premier League or La Liga; however, I don’t believe it’s nearly as poor as some would have you believe.

SEE MORE: Pay raise pushes Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s salary to $1.1 million per month.

First off, Ligue 1 is one of the more physical and defensive league in Europe. The league as a whole averages 2.4 goals per game, that’s slightly less than the notoriously defensive Serie A. There’s also burgeoning talent to be found on nearly ever roster. You may recognize some of these names from your favorite transfer market rumor mill blog: Alexandre Lacazette, Michy Batshuayi, Wissam Ben Yedder, Raphaël Guerreiro, Nabil Fekir, Paul-Georges Ntep, and Sofiane Boufal to name a few.

To further demonstrate the quality of players in the French league, look no further than West Ham United and Manchester United this season. Dimitri Payet, former Marseille man, has helped lead the Hammers to sixth place, and in what has been a dismal season for the Red Devils, Anthony Martial, former Monaco striker, has been one of their standout players with five goals in 15 appearances. Still not convinced? Any Arsenal supporter should be able to tell you all about Monaco’s performance in the knockout stage of the Champions League last season.

It’s easy to dismiss PSG and their accomplishments. They’re a relatively new team, founded only 45 years ago, and in 2011 they were purchased by Qatar Sports Investments, who immediately went on a spending spree for Europe’s top players. Many believe Paris got lucky and skipped to the front of the line thanks to their wealthy owners. A Champions League trophy would silence many critics, but their domestic dominance should be applauded and admired, too. It’s too easy to say, “they should win everything in France given their resources and the league they play in,” but this is football, after all, and anything can happen—like Barcelona losing 4-1 to Celta Vigo ,or Chelsea falling to 13th place in the Premier League. With a squad full of star players on ridiculous wages — and Zlatan Ibrahimovic — you would almost expect them take a night off and lose a relatively meaningless French Cup match. After all, pundits will only judge them based on how far they go in the Champions League. Yet, they don’t.

History will decide this team’s place among the all-time greats, but I believe Paris Saint-Germain is on pace to be in that discussion. One trophy is all that remains for them to win, and should European glory come their way, combined with the unprecedented performance in France, it will be difficult for anyone to argue otherwise.

Visit PSG Talk for more Ligue Un coverage.

25+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
  • Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
  • Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
  • Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
  • Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo.
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
  • $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
  • Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
  • Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family

Leave a Reply

Translate »