The title race may be all but over in Ligue 1, but plenty is still up for grabs. Which clubs will qualify for the Champions League and, in a season that will see four teams relegated, who will be scrapping for survival? Fear not, our trusty supercomputer has crunched the data for you.
All eyes will be on Ligue 1 when football returns after the World Cup.
Ah, wait. Hold on a second. All eyes on Ligue 1? More precisely, all eyes will be on Paris Saint-Germain.
The club’s two biggest stars headlined possibly the best World Cup final ever. Given the stakes and the drama, it might have been the greatest game of football ever but soon Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé will turn their attention away from each other and onto their French league opponents as they look to torture them into submission during the club’s quest for honours in 2023.
Club football is back, baby. And so too are our supercomputer’s super predictions.
Ligue 1 Title Prediction
As expected, the supercomputer can’t see past PSG. They currently have a five-point lead over Lens in second place and the Parisians have a 98.5% chance of keeping hold of that advantage to win the title. Should this turn out the way the supercomputer predicts, it will be PSG’s 11th crown, one more than Marseille and Saint-Étienne on the all-time list.
Christophe Galtier will have to get his squad, overflowing with world-class talent, and now a few more World Cup winners, tuned in to the task at hand for the second half of the season. How much does Messi have left after pouring so much into Argentina’s World Cup victory? Can Mbappé and Neymar put their hurt behind them after such disappointing ends to their 2022 World Cup dreams? The only team that can stop PSG now is PSG.
Who Will Qualify for the Champions League?
The supercomputer only needed 0.01% of its bandwidth to tell us who would win Ligue 1 – any regular old laptop running Windows 95 could have predicted that. A more difficult task is predicting how the tier below the Parisians will sort itself out. It’s down to four teams for the last two places in the Champions League with one of those, the third-placed team needing to go through the qualifiers first. Lens, Rennes, Olympique Marseille and Monaco are the teams the supercomputer thinks have the best chance.
Lens are in the driving seat right now with a 0.9% chance of pipping PSG to the top spot. They have a much better chance, 40.7%, of qualifying for the Champions League next year in second place than catching PSG. Rennes are third on 31 points and have a 24.0% chance of making their way into the Champions League by finishing second, and a 25.8% chance of having to go through the qualifiers.
Olympique Marseille and Monaco make up the chasing pack.
Who Will be Relegated from Ligue 1?
The race to avoid relegation is much tighter. Four teams will drop into Ligue 2 next season as part of a league restructure. The top flight will have just 18 teams next season and that’s why the supercomputer foresees a lot of squeaky bum time in the second half of the campaign.
Angers have just eight points. But that’s only five off Brest who sit in 16th place. If Angers can hit the ground running in the second half of the year, staying up is not an impossible task. The supercomputer gives them a 91.4% chance of dropping into the second division, though, so it won’t be easy. It might get considerably harder if they can’t retain the services of Azzedine Ounahi beyond January. The Moroccan starred at the World Cup and they have already received many offers for his services. They want to strike a deal now and keep him until the summer but that might not be possible.
Strasbourg, Ajaccio and Auxerre are the other three teams in the relegation zone but the supercomputer doesn’t think they’ll all stay there. Strasbourg, who currently sit on 11 points and in 19th place, have just a 27.9% chance of relegation. That’s less than 13th-placed Troyes but they need to get their act together sharpish after the break. Ajaccio and Auxerre have a 67.3% and 63.2% possibility of the dreaded ‘R’ word. Brest are currently outside the drop zone, but they have a 46.1% chance of relegation.
How Does the Supercomputer Model Work?
• Opta’s League Prediction model estimates the likelihood of teams finishing in each position in the competition. We can therefore see how successful a team’s season is likely to be, whether it’s their relegation or title chances.
• The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) by using betting market odds and Opta’s team rankings. The odds and rankings are based on historical and recent team performances.
• The model considers the strength of opponents by using these match outcome probabilities and simulates the remaining fixtures in the competition thousands of times. By analysing the outcome of each of these simulations, the model can see how often teams finished in each league position to create our final predictions.
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