Olympique Lyonnais Pile on Pressure in Ligue 1 Title Race
Lyon Holding Out for League Success
The victory kept alive any championship hopes Lyon may have had, maintaining the pressure on Paris Saint-Germain and Lille above them. Anything other than three points against 17th placed Lorient would have ruled the seven-time winners out of contention for the Ligue 1 title.
As it stands, Lyon would still require somewhat of a miracle if they’re to be crowned champions: they must win both of their final matches, whilst hoping Lille and PSG drop points in the final two games. Lille stretched the gap to four points at the top with Friday night’s win against European hopefuls Lens, however, Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG side can cut their lead to one with a victory against Rennes on Sunday evening.
Lyon did have the chance to top the table heading into the home stretch, but having thrown away a two-goal lead at home to table-toppers Lille, the initiative was handed to Christophe Galtier’s men. A rejuvenated Burak Yılmaz scored twice in the victory and the 35-year-old’s 15 goals this season have been vital to Lille’s pursuit for the title.
Crucial Positionings Still to be Worked Out in Ligue 1
Even if Lyon do fall short of the title, they are still on course to challenge for the final Champions League place. The 2019/20 semi-finalists missed out on the top-three in controversial fashion last season after the Ligue 1 final standings were decided by a points-per-game mechanism. Despite being the division’s form side, Lyon ended the campaign in seventh, missing out on European football completely.
Remarkably, with two weeks of the season remaining, an astonishing four sides can mathematically be crowned champions. Eight points separate Lille in first down to Monaco in fourth. Niko Kovac’s team can leapfrog Lyon with a victory in their game in hand – mid-table Reims host the principality side on Sunday afternoon.
Struggles Continue for PSG as they Hunt Down Title
It will only be the second time in a decade a side other than PSG will win the French championship should the Parisians miss out on top spot. Used to already having the league wrapped up by this stage, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and co. have endured a troublesome season.
After losing their manager on Christmas Eve, PSG have since watched Thomas Tuchel inspire his Chelsea side to a Champions League final, whilst last season’s runners-up limped out against Manchester City in mid-week. Domestically, PSG have suffered more defeats this season alone than they’ve experienced in the last three campaigns combined, suggesting the league’s competition has increased considerably.