Stade Rennes Beat Arsenal, so How Good Is Ligue 1 Really?

Ligue 1
Newly-appointed President of the French L1 football club FC Rennes, Olivier Letang (R) and non-executive President Jacques Delanoe walk towards the pitch following a press conference on November 7, 2017 at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes. / AFP PHOTO / Thomas BREGARDIS (Photo credit should read THOMAS BREGARDIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Last Thursday, Stade Rennes beat Arsenal 3-1 making a statement to the rest of the world. Ligue 1 has always been known as a farmer’s league to internet trolls around the world. But is that really the case?

How Good Is Ligue 1?

The French league has always produced world class players and is being marketed by BT Sport as “the league of talents.” Players such as Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard have all come from Ligue 1. This year’s group of talented youngsters is no different with transfer stories emerging surrounding Nicolas Pepe, Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy all being linked with big clubs across Europe.

How to Measure Top Leagues

Two things a league can be measured on are competitiveness and ability. Obviously, Ligue 1 isn’t the most competitive. Paris Saint-Germain are leading the league by a landslide with 17 points and a game in hand over second-placed Lille. But if you look at the ability of the clubs in the top half of the table. You’d be surprised how strong the clubs are and how they perform.

How Have Ligue 1 Clubs Performed in Europe This Year?

Apart from PSG’s horrendous collapse against Manchester United last week, they’ve performed well against Europe’s top clubs. Topping a group containing Liverpool and Napoli this season, and last season topping a group that contained Bayern Munich.

Lyon this season beat Manchester City once and now have a huge match at the Camp Nou Wednesday evening.

As for Stade Rennais, in the round of 32 of the Europa league, they knocked out Real Betis in a thrilling 6-4 aggregate win. They have also just beaten Arsenal in a huge 3-1 victory and now go to the Emirates with a real chance to go through to the quarterfinals.

These are teams are first, third and tenth in the French league. But let’s look at the teams placed fourth and sixteenth, Marseille and Monaco respectively. Marseille started the season in the Europa league with hope to qualify to the next round. But with an awful showing, we saw them finish fourth in the group behind Cyprian team Apollon Limassol.

As for Monaco, we saw them finish their Champions league run end in the group stages as they too finished fourth behind Club Brugge.

The French league is most probably fighting to be the fourth-placed league alongside the Bundesliga. With mixed results in Europe, mainly down to smaller clubs losing their talent, this season looks to be another mixed run in Europe for the French clubs, with Rennes and Lyon being their only hopes remaining. But don’t get this mistaken, the French league is no farmers league and teams should not be taken lightly.

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