At long last, Ligue 1 has a title race worth watching

Monday January 30th, 2017

Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta were among the crowd at Parc des Princes to watch Ligue 1’s title contenders Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco play out a 1-1 draw in a tense game that burst into life late. Chances were at a premium, but it was the visitor who looked the more likely winner, with PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp called into action to keep out Radamel Falcao and Tomas Lemar, injuring himself in the process.

PSG missed the midfield link play of Marco Verratti, while Blaise Matuidi was off his game. Monaco keeper Daniel Subasic kept out Edinson Cavani from a tight angle but PSG’s best threat came from the right flank, where Thomas Meunier was superb. It was the Belgian who won the penalty from which Cavani opened the scoring with nine minutes left. At that point it seemed PSG had done enough to join Monaco atop the table, but shortly after, Alphonse Areola had kept out Kylian Mbappe’s effort, and then Bernardo Silva scored to make it 1-1.

Monaco, which plays Guardiola's Manchester City in the Champions League round of 16, remains three points clear of PSG and level with Nice, whom it plays next week, at the top. Win that next matchup, and Leonardo Jardim’s side can rightly call itself the title favorite. Still only one result behind, though, PSG cannot be written off. 

It's worth mentioning, too, that also in the crowd in the French capital was Roberto Mancini, who has been linked with the PSG coaching job in case Unai Emery’s first season does not go according to plan.

At last, for many reasons, France has a title race worth following.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.