Ligue 1 2021-22: PSG champions, Bordeaux at risk – Stats Perform AI predicts

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

Can Paris Saint-Germain get back on track? Are champions Lille in contention again? Could any top French sides face the drop?

Stats Perform aims to answer all of these questions and more as the new Ligue 1 season gets under way.

The Stats Perform League Prediction Model, created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, has analysed the division ahead of the new season to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams' attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years' worth of results, with weighting based on recency and the quality of opposition. The season is then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.

What does that mean for PSG and the rest of the French elite? Read on to find out...

POCH'S PSG TITLE FAVOURITES

It will surprise nobody, but PSG have been identified as the clear pre-season favourites. They are given a huge 79.5 per cent chance of reclaiming their title after falling behind Lille last term.

The signings of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum should ensure PSG get back on track, while Mike Maignan, Boubakary Soumare and coach Christophe Galtier have all left Lille.

The defending champions are still considered PSG's most likely challengers, though.

Lille have a 12.4 per cent likelihood of retaining the championship, which puts them well clear of Lyon (5.7 per cent) in third. Monaco's 2.4 per cent bid to repeat their 2016-17 success makes them the fourth and final side to be given any chance at all.

TOP FOUR SEEMS SET IN STONE

Four into three does not go, so at least one of the title contenders will miss out on the Champions League. They should all make the top four, though, with Europa League qualification guaranteed for fourth place.

PSG unsurprisingly look certain for one of the two automatic Champions League spots, rated at 94.9 per cent.

Lille are considered most likely to join them at 54.6 per cent, leaving Lyon to take third – the Champions League third qualifying round (35.2) per cent – and Monaco fourth – the Europa League group stage (40.0 per cent).

There are at least a clutch of rival clubs given a slim hope of crashing the Champions League party; Marseille (0.5 per cent), Rennes (0.2 per cent) and Montpellier (0.1 per cent) are all just about in the running for second place.

Interestingly, Nice – ninth last term but having recruited Galtier – are not given a significant chance of even making the Champions League qualifiers, whereas Lens (0.2 per cent), Nantes (0.1 per cent), Reims (0.1 per cent), Saint-Etienne (0.1 per cent) and Strasbourg (0.1 per cent) all come into consideration.

Every team in the league have at least a 0.1 per cent likelihood of finishing fifth – a Europa Conference League play-off round place – although PSG are joined by newly promoted pair Troyes and Clermont with the most remote chance.

BIG-NAME BORDEAUX IN BOTHER?

It figures that Troyes (38.8 per cent) and Clermont (34.5 per cent) are backed for relegation straight back down to Ligue 2, but some of last season's top-flight sides are also at significant risk.

Brest are rated at a 26.4 per cent chance of relegation, with Angers at 19.0 per cent and Lorient at 15.0 per cent.

Most interestingly of all, though, Bordeaux are third-favourites for the drop behind the two promoted clubs.

The six-time champions won the title as recently as 2009 but have been in steady decline, even if a 12th-placed finish last time out saw them steer five points clear of the relegation play-off.

Indeed, Bordeaux were in the European picture in late January before an awful run and they will hope new coach Vladimir Petkovic can ensure there are no relegation worries in the coming campaign.

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    Bruno Fernandes believes Erik ten Hag and Manchester United deserved to win the FA Cup after a challenging campaign.

    Goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo gave United a 2-1 victory over Manchester City in Saturday's final at Wembley.

    The cup victory comes amid strong reports that manager Ten Hag will be relieved of his duties in the near future following an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

    But with Ten Hag potentially going out on a high, Fernandes feels Ten Hag and the club earned their opportunity to walk up the famous Wembley steps to lift the FA Cup.

    "It is crucial for everyone," Fernandes told the BBC. "We know the manager is under so much scrutiny. He deserves this, also everyone in the backroom staff and the players, we all deserve this.

    "It was the last chance to get something positive from the season. We were here last season and we weren't good enough, and we had to see them [City] go up and get the trophy.

    "They have great quality, great players, a great manager. We had to sacrifice and suffer but we did great things. I try my best to help the team."

    In scoring United's second, Mainoo (19 years and 36 days) became the first English teenager to net in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981 (19y 172d) and the youngest to do so since John Sissons for West Ham against Preston North End in 1964 (18y 215d).

    Fernandes hailed the impact of Mainoo, who earlier this week was named in Gareth Southgate's provisional 33-man England squad for the upcoming European Championships in Germany.

    "Kobbie Mainoo is really good, such a quality player and you can see the composure he had with the finish," Fernandes continued.

    "He came through the academy and once more on the biggest stage in the world he showed it again.

    "Congratulations to everyone, the staff, the players and all the fans, they have given us a big push. Finally, we have something to celebrate."

  • Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United: Garnacho and Mainoo fire Red Devils to FA Cup glory Manchester City 1-2 Manchester United: Garnacho and Mainoo fire Red Devils to FA Cup glory

    Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo were the heroes as Manchester United pulled off an upset to beat rivals Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final.

    United boss Erik ten Hag's job was reportedly on the line whatever the result in Saturday's game, but a mix-up between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega was capitalised upon by Garnacho to hand the Red Devils the lead at Wembley Stadium.

    Mainoo's fine finish made it 2-0 shortly after, and though Jeremy Doku pulled a goal back late on, United held firm to claim the famous trophy for the first time since 2016 and deny City a double after they secured a fourth straight Premier League title last weekend.

    It now remains to be seen whether Ten Hag will suffer the same fate as compatriot Louis van Gaal, who was sacked as United boss after winning the FA Cup eight years ago.

    Pep Guardiola's men started the brighter, though it was United who went close first as Ortega got his body behind Garnacho's fierce strike.

    Garnacho was not to be denied with 30 minutes on the clock, though, as he pounced on a calamitous mix-up in the City defence.

    A long ball over the top was not dealt with by either Ortega or Gvardiol, who inadvertently nodded it beyond his goalkeeper, allowing Garnacho to tuck home into an empty net, becoming the first teenager to score an FA Cup final goal since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004.

    And another teenager in Mainoo made it 2-0 before the break at the culmination a brilliantly incisive move.

    Garnacho was involved again as he burst down the right and cut back for Bruno Fernandes, whose deft pass teed up 19-year-old Mainoo to coolly slot past Ortega.

    Erling Haaland nearly halved the deficit when he rattled the crossbar after the interval, before Andre Onana made a superb stop to keep out Kyle Walker's ferocious long-range drive.

    Onana should have done better in the 87th minute, though. United's goalkeeper got down to Doku's hopeful attempt, but could only parry it into the corner.

    Yet United ensured Onana's mistake did not prove costly, as City's hopes of a double were dashed and the Red Devils claimed a stunning victory in what could have been Ten Hag's final game at the helm.

    United's teenage daydream

    United went into the game as outsiders, a fair view considering the 31 points that separated these city rivals in the Premier League table, but the Red Devils' youngsters turned up in some style at Wembley to lead their side to glory, as well as securing European football next season.

    Garnacho scored with one of his three shots on target, more than any other player on the pitch, while Mainoo's performance did no harm to his chances of making Gareth Southgate's final squad for Euro 2024, ruthlessly finishing his only big chance and again having an impact in both defence and attack.

    Mainoo's goal also made him the first English teenager to net in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981, and he looks set to be a big fixture for both United and England for many years to come.

    De Bruyne's dismal derby day

    Kevin De Bruyne finished the Premier League season with 10 assists and four goals in just 18 appearances, but he, alongside many of City's stars, looked well off the pace here.

    De Bruyne completed an uncharacteristically low 71 per cent of his passes before Guardiola had seen enough, hauling off the Belgium international for Julian Alvarez with over half an hour left.

    City ended their league campaign with nine straight wins to seal the title, but they looked a shadow of that side this time out and will finish the season with just one trophy, after claiming a treble last term.

    Doku did make an impact after his half-time introduction, but though he managed to cut into United's lead, it was too little, too late.

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    In the first half of Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City, 19-year-old Garnacho capitalised on a mix-up between Stefan Ortega and Josko Gvardiol to become the first teenager to net in the competition's showpiece match since Ronaldo did against Millwall in 2004, also for the Red Devils.

    Garnacho's goal made him the third teenager to score for United in an FA Cup final after Ronaldo 20 years ago and Norman Whiteside back in 1983.

    Then, just nine minutes later, a brilliant United move ended with Bruno Fernandes laying Garnacho's pass into Mainoo, who coolly finished to double United's lead at just 19-years-old.

    Mainoo's finish means United hold a 2-0 lead at half-time against the Premier League champions, while it's also the first men's FA Cup final to see two different teenagers net. Aged just 19 years and 36 days, Mainoo is the youngest English goalscorer in the game since John Sissons for West Ham in 1964.

    Mainoo is also the first English teenager to score in an FA Cup final since Steve MacKenzie for City against Tottenham in 1981.

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