Four horse race for the French Ligue 1 title

AS Monaco drew with Saint-Etienne in a French Ligue 1 fixture on Friday night, which means only five points separate the top-four sides in the league with only eight games to go. For most fans of Ligue 1, the title race cannot be any closer, and it seems no side can hold their nerves long enough to pull away from the rest of the pack.

Paris Saint-Germain (59) are currently sitting at the summit, just one point clear of Olympique Lyonnais (58). Third-placed Olympique Marseilles (57) are one point behind Lyon, while Monaco (54) are three points adrift of Marseilles. The top-three sides have all been beaten in their last four games in the league, which makes it an open affair at the business end of the campaign.

The four clubs have rotated positions all throughout the season, and with few points separating them, the table could change even further before the campaign comes to a close. European competition has seen the French league gain some credibility and notoriety, with Paris Saint-Germain knocking Chelsea out of the Champions League last-16, while AS Monaco eliminated Arsenal from the same stage.

Last season, PSG and Monaco finished 1st and 2nd in the table respectively, and unsurprisingly the Parisians are favourites to win a third consecutive title. They haven’t had it all their way this season, yet they are currently ahead as the season edges closer to a dramatic finish.

Before PSG, currently managed by former French international Laurent Blanc, rose to the summit of French football, it was an open league for a number of years. Montpellier (2011/12), Lille (2010/11), Marseilles (2009/10) and Bordeaux (2008/09) were the past winners, with Lyon winning the league between 2001/02 and 2007/08. However, this season hangs in the balance. Paris Saint-Germain stormed to the title in the last two seasons, but are having to deal with strong competition in 2014/15. The Parisians have only been top of the table for a combined duration of a month this season, with Lyon and Marseilles having some spells at the top earlier in the campaign.

PSG still have Marseilles to face before the end of the season, as do Monaco, so there’s every chance of the league changing shape once more in the coming weeks. The holders are the favourites to finish above the rest of the competition, but with mere points between the sides, and recent form of all the contenders showing some vulnerability, the race for the French Ligue 1 title is certainly between the top three clubs along with, to a lesser extent, Monaco.

The next round of games could see the table start to take some shape, and given how many twists and turns there have been so far, it is going to be too close to call.

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