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Ligue 1 2023/24 Season Preview: Paris Saint-Germain first, the rest nowhere

The 2023/24 Ligue 1 season starts with a bang on Friday as Nice and Lille go head-to-head at the Allianz Riviera in the opening Ligue 1 fixture.

Paris Saint-Germain are the overwhelming favourites to retain the title despite embarking on a squad overhaul this summer.

Read on as we preview the upcoming Ligue 1 campaign, starting with a look at whether PSG will remain the dominant force in the top flight.

PSG fancied to storm to another title success

PSG have won the title in nine of the last 11 seasons, and it is impossible to back against them adding another championship to their tally this term.

Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has replaced Christophe Galtier in the dugout and has set about revamping the squad.

Lionel Messi has been the highest profile exit to date, with the Argentine playmaker signing for Inter Miami in Major League Soccer.

Mauro Icardi and Sergio Ramos are other noteworthy players to leave the club, but the most significant outgoing could be yet to come.

PSG are in the midst of a stand-off with star striker Kylian Mbappe, who has refused to extend his contract with the club beyond next summer.

The French international has his heart set on joining Real Madrid, but PSG are understandably reluctant to lose their talisman for free.

Regardless of how the transfer saga unfolds, PSG’s squad still looks a cut about anything else Ligue I has to offer.

Manuel Ugarte is an excellent acquisition in midfield, while Lucas Hernandez and Milan Skriniar will boost their defensive options.

Striker Goncalo Ramos should score goals for fun after joining on an initial loan deal from Benfica – a move which would compensate for Mbappe’s exit if he leaves.

Marco Asensio’s arrival from Madrid on a free transfer should prove to be a shrewd piece of business, while Lee Kang-in is another exciting addition.

With Ousmane Dembele on the verge of completing a move from Barcelona, the Ligue 1 giants have assembled a supremely talented squad.

Neymar remains in PSG’s ranks despite rumours linking him with moves elsewhere, and he will be a key player if he can avoid sustaining any injuries.

PSG finished just one point in front of Lens in the final standings last season, but the margin will likely be much wider this time around.

Marseille will be best of the rest

Marseille looked set to mount a strong title challenge last season but suffered a dip in form to eventually end the campaign in third place.

They have shuffled their pack this summer and manager Marcelino now looks to have a stronger squad at his disposal.

Marseille have paid sizeable fees to sign Iliman Ndiaye, Ismaila Sarr and Renan Lodi, while Ruslan Malinovskyi is another noteworthy arrival.

Midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia should prove to be a shrewd acquisition from Atletico Madrid, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has a point to prove after flopping at Chelsea.

While challenging PSG for the title will likely be too much to ask, Marseille look a good bet to finish as runners-up behind the reigning champions.

Lens came close to toppling PSG last season but may struggle to match those efforts after losing some key players this summer.

Striker Lois Openda has signed for RB Leipzig, while midfielder Seko Fofana has joined the Saudi Pro League gravy train.

Lens have made some useful signings to compensate, but they may find it tough to keep pace with the top two this time around.

Monaco dropped out of the top three last season and have seen influential defender Axel Disasi sign for Premier League giants Chelsea.

However, Mohammed Salisu should prove to be a useful replacement, while the addition of goalkeeper Philipp Kohn further strengthens their defensive unit.

Monaco were the second-highest scorers behind PSG in Ligue 1 last season and should make a strong bid to secure one of the Champions League qualification spots.

Lille, Rennes and Lyon are other clubs with top-three ambitions, but they may find it difficult to mount a serious challenge.

Nice could force their way into contention after splashing the cash on forwards Terem Moffi and Jeremie Boga this summer.

Morgan Sanson has also joined the club on loan from Aston Villa and will be eager to make an impression after spending last season with Strasbourg.

At the other end of the Ligue 1 table, newly promoted Le Havre and Metz may find it difficult to avoid an immediate return to the second tier.

Ligue’s decision to drop from 20 to 18 teams has given the division a more competitive look, and they both look set to struggle next term.

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