There are very few certainties in soccer. Very few foregone conclusions. Very few outcomes that never – not at any point throughout an entire season – were newsworthy. But Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 title feels like one of them.
It finally became a confirmed conclusion on Sunday in Paris. PSG ripped Monaco to shreds, 7-1, to put the league out of reach. It did so in style, even without its two best players and other regulars.
It did so with five matches to spare, just like Bayern Munich did in Germany, and just like Manchester City did in England. But there was something different about PSG’s French dominance. There is, of course, the plus-80 goal differential, higher than any other team’s goals for tally. But there was also a certain ease. And it was on display Sunday.
Monaco, the second best team in France, was so strikingly inferior. It seemed helpless as PSG pinged the ball around and attacked at will. As Giovani Lo Celso, Edinson Cavani and Dani Alves combined for goal No. 1:
As Cavani nodded home goal No. 2:
As Di Maria got in on the act, splitting a sleepy defense and finishing with a cheeky chip:
And as Lo Celso got his second, and PSG’s fourth, in a span of 14 minutes:
Di Maria got the fifth. An own goal gifted PSG the sixth. Julian Draxler drove home the seventh. Monaco, so impressive last season, was no match for the Parisians, just like 18 other Ligue 1 teams have been all season.
With or without Neymar, who continues to recover from a foot injury suffered in February, the gap between the champions and their competition was wide. They responded to Monaco’s surprise 2016-17 title with ludicrous, Qatari-funded spending and the biggest transfer splash soccer has ever seen. Monaco willingly auction off its talent and as a result had no chance.
It’s strange to think that PSG wasn’t just winning a title, but reclaiming it. It’s also strange to think its season will be seen as a failure. Nothing after its Champions League round of 16 defeat to Real Madrid could have rescued those perceptions. Manager Unai Emery seems to be set for the sack. Thomas Tuchel has reportedly been tabbed – by the emir of Qatar himself – as the successor.
But there is something to be said of PSG’s dominance. Something positive. Something that uses the spending as a pro, not a con or a caveat. Whatever the source of its money or the extent of it, PSG has built a juggernaut. It is not yet a dynasty. But it could become won. It is a special collection of talent. And Sunday’s could be the first of many consecutive Ligue 1 titles.
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