Paris Saint-Germain are champions of Ligue 1 again, clinching a sixth title in seven years after Lille failed to beat Toulouse on Sunday.
The Parisians still have six matches remaining but their 16-point gap to Lille, who have played a game more, means a title race that was virtually over before it began is now officially done.
Despite plenty of teams in France’s top flight playing attractive football, there is at present no side who appears capable of interrupting PSG’s dominance.
No club has been able to match PSG’s spending power since the Qatar Sports Investments takeover of 2011, which has transformed them from a top-six side to Ligue 1’s superpower.
Here we assess how Thomas Tuchel’s first title win compares to previous years in terms of their superiority over the division by looking back at each season since the takeover.
2011-12: The Montpellier miracle
PSG were denied Ligue 1 glory in the first season of the QSI era by a team nobody expected. The club parted company with Antoine Kombouare halfway through the season and replaced him with Carlo Ancelotti in a bid to hold off Montpellier. They were unable to do so and lost out by three points in a dramatic title race, with a 2-1 defeat to an Eden Hazard-inspired Lille key to their failure. It went down to the final day but despite a 2-1 win over Lorient it was Rene Girard’s Montpellier, led by the superb form of top-scorer Olivier Giroud, who won the title for the first time in their history by beating Auxerre 2-1.
2012-13: The end of the drought
PSG’s response to missing out in 2012 was, typically, to spend big. Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verratti and Ezequiel Lavezzi all coming in, with Lucas Moura and David Beckham arriving later in the year. And this time Ancelotti and his players made no mistake as they cruised to a first Ligue 1 title since 1994, clinching it with a 1-0 win at Lyon and finishing 12 points clear of arch rivals Marseille as Ibrahimovic starred in a 30-goal campaign.
2013-14: A successful first defence
Ancelotti’s success in winning the league and leading PSG to the Champions League quarter-finals saw him lured to Real Madrid, and his replacement Laurent Blanc was tasked with filling the void and holding off a new challenger in the similarly cash-rich Monaco. PSG had little problem in doing so, though, and defended their title by a nine-point margin. Blanc also led PSG to Coupe de la Ligue glory and the Champions League quarter-finals, where they suffered the first of many collapses in that competition by throwing away a first-leg lead against Chelsea.
2014-15: The first treble
Blanc’s second season at the Parc des Princes saw him make history as the club completed an unprecedented domestic treble. They survived the challenge of Lyon in Ligue 1, with a third successive title claimed with victory at Montpellier. Wins over Bastia and Auxerre respectively sealed glory in the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France but their Champions League quest, which saw them get revenge on Chelsea in the last 16, was ended in the quarter-finals by a treble-winning Barcelona side that PSG did beat in the group stage.
2015-16: Utter domination
What proved to be Blanc’s final season was PSG’s most dominant domestically as it yielded another treble, with Ligue 1 secured with two months to spare courtesy of a 9-0 win at Troyes. The final gap at the top was a mammoth 31 points. Lille and Marseille were beaten in the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France finals as the unstoppable Ibrahimovic scored 50 goals in all competitions. However, an underwhelming Champions League quarter-final defeat to Manchester City spelled the end for Blanc.
2016-17: Reign ended in Emery’s debut
Unai Emery was brought in to try and improve PSG’s Champions League fortunes having had considerable European success with Sevilla but, in addition to failing to do that, he also oversaw a campaign in which their domestic rule was interrupted. PSG never led Ligue 1 at any point in 2016-17 as a young Monaco team led by superstar Kylian Mbappe took the division by storm. The principality club triumphed by eight points and, though PSG beat them to retain the Coupe de la Ligue and defeated Angers to defend the Coupe de France, they endured a humiliating exit in the Champions League last 16 as Barcelona incredibly overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit in a 6-1 win at Camp Nou.
2017-18: A century of league goals in a third treble
The men who inspired PSG’s downfall in Ligue 1 and the Champions League joined their cause in an incredible subsequent transfer window. The club shattered the world transfer record to sign Neymar from Barcelona in a €222million deal while Mbappe was acquired from Monaco in a loan deal that became permanent for €180m. Forming a star-studded forward line with Edinson Cavani, they ensured PSG quickly dethroned Monaco, finishing 13 points clear of Leonardo Jardim’s men and scoring 108 league goals.
Monaco were also vanquished in the Coupe de la Ligue Final and another treble was sealed with defeat of third tier Les Herbiers in the Coupe de France. PSG’s champions League misery continued, however, injury reducing Neymar to the role of spectator for their last-16 exit to Real Madrid, with Emery’s domestically impressive second act not enough to keep him in a job.
2018-19: No treble, but teriffic Ligue 1 start for Tuchel
Despite another Neymar injury, PSG have eased to another league title under Tuchel, whose first season in charge compares well with Blanc’s final one in terms of their domination of Ligue 1, losing just three games so far. The title has been a formality for some time, but it has been a campaign in which PSG have provided plenty of disappointment.
There will be no treble this year after their Coupe de la Ligue reign was ended. They are in the final of the Coupe de France again but suffered perhaps their worst collapse in the Champions League to date, surrendering a 2-0 first-leg lead to an injury-hit Manchester United team at the Parc des Princes in the last 16.
Neymar was again a spectator due to injury but, though that fact may buy Tuchel some time, failure in the competition PSG value the most is unlikely to be tolerated much longer regardless of their domestic superiority.