I guess that’s a season, then – well, sort of. The major men’s leagues are done, so we’ve just got the European finals and Euros to keep us going. We can get through it together, I promise.
That really is a brilliant achievement by Lille, the clever husbandry of Christophe Galtier building the best defence in France and configuring at attack which did just enough. He might not hang about for next season, but he’s done his bit.
So there we have it: Lille made a tricky evening as straightforward as it could be, two first-half goals giving them the title from PSG; Monaco kept hold of third and the final Champions League place thanks to Lyon losing at home to Nice; they, along with Marseille will play in the Europa Lague with Rennes joining the Conference; Nantes lost at home to Montpellier, so will play Toulouse to see whether they stay up or Toulouse come up.
Angers 1-2 Lille
Brest 0-2 PSG
Lens 0-0 Monaco
Lyon 2-3 Nice
Metz 0-0 Marseille (playing the eighth minute of injury-time)
Nantes 1-2 Montpellier
Reims 1-2 Bordeaux
Rennes 2-0 Nîmes
St Étienne 0-1 Dijon
Strasbourg 1-1 Lorient
Full-time: Rennes 2-0 Nîmes
It’s Rennes in the Conference League, not Lens.
Full-time: Lens 0-0 Monaco
Lyon need to score twice in injury-time to push past Monaco into the Champions League.
Lille are champions of France!
They beat Angers 2-1 and finish a point ahead of PSG!
GOAL! Angers 1-2 Lille (Fulgini 90+2)
Just what you need! Jimmy crosses and Fulgini heads the ball back where it came from!
On the Lille touchline, the flags are coming out – Yilmaz has his Turkish one ready – and after two minutes of injury-time, they’ll be champions.
Serie A is over for another season!
Inter are champions, with Milan, who beat Atalanta, Atalanta and Juve joining them in the Champions League. Napoli have napolied it, a home draw with Verona leaving them in the Europa.
Lille mark time, knocking the ball about and feeling that championship feeling coursing through their veins. What an achievement it is to finish above a sovereign state, and on the bench, the party is getting going. I’d not mind being there, no offence to my family.
This has been an extremely professional effort from Lille, who’ve been patient, disciplined and composed; that’s what they do. And on the bench, Yilmaz is now dissolving into smiles; it’s lovely to see.
Lille take off Yilmaz, who’s less than gruntled by the development. But when all’s said and done, he’ll have been the key man in a title win, so I reckon he’ll get over it.
“As much as the logic of football fandom says I should be rooting against Lille,” says Kári Tulinius, “I find it impossible, they’re too full of great stories. Besides Fonte, there’s Timothy Weah, son of a PSG legend who was deemed surplus to requirements at Parc des Princes, and is about to take the title away from them. Also, Renato Sanches, last seen in England passing the ball into an advertising hoarding, who has rebuilt a career which seemed to have dissolved into nothing. And Burak Yilmaz, a legend in Turkey seemingly entering his football dotage, but has powered Lille in these last few months. I could continue, it’s a team of stories.”
I think of Sanches in the way I think of Haseeb Hameed, the cricketer; they had a dodgy period, but you’ve seen enough to know that, if things work out for them, they’re good enough.
Eesh, Verona have equalised at Napoli so that’s Juve back in the top four; Napoli have three minutes to find a winner.
GOAL! Nantes 1-2 Montpellier (Delort 76)
Salvation for Brest! Nantes are back third-bottom and facing a playoff against Toulouse.
“How likely is Juventus leading a breakaway from the Europa League along with Lokomotiv Moscow and AGF Aarhus” asks Vlado. “Legacy fan asking.”
Oh dear, what a pity, never mind.
Incidentally, the knock-down just a moment ago came from Mounie, and Faivre had the shot saved.
GOAL! Brest 0-2 PSG (Mbappe 71)
Mbappe charges onto a through-ball, screams around the keeper, rides a foul, goes down, gets up, and taps home. Brest are in that playoff unless someone else saves them.
Brest are knocking art the door, Charbonnier lifting to the back post where someone heads down and across to someone else - sorry! – who meets the ball on the burst and laces a low one ... that Navas saves with his feet!
“Fonte is 37, 18 months older than Dani Osvaldo, the man who punched him in training in 2014 and got sacked by Southampton for it,” returns Pádraig McAuliffe. “Since then, Osvaldo has played 34 games of football across five different clubs. Sliding doors.”
Unfortunately I can’t find a photo of him in one of his rigs, but it’s the thought that counts.
As it goes, Charbonnier went early and had he scored, he’d have been ruled offside, but he should have bent his run and scored.
EXCUSE ME WHILE I INTERRUPT MYSELF! Here comes Charbonnier, in behind Paris, and he’s only got Navas to beat ... but doesn’t trust his left foot, opening his body to force a right-footer, which Navas saves easily!
Bordeaux now lead at Reims and it’s hard to see Brest hauling themselves out of shtuck; they need Nantes or Strasbourg to concede and lose.
Credit where it’s due, Angers are having a go.
GOAL! Lyon 2-3 Nice (Saliba 57)
Well! Nice have come from behind twice and Monaco now look relatively secure in the third Champions League spot! And yes, that was Saliba of Arsenal who scored, a decent header from a free-kick.
Back in the north-west, Brest need something, but they’re struggling to get on the ball.
“Jose Fonte made his Portugal debut aged 31 in 2014 after a fairly undistinguished journeyman career,” emails Pádraig McAuliffe. “If you’d told him then he’d win the European Championships and a winner’s title in a major league, he’d probably have laughed at you. It’s a funny old sport.”
He’s been instrumental in those wins too. Great stuff.
In Italy, Amir Rrahmani has scored for Napoli; if they and Milan can hold onto one-goal leads, Juventus will play in the Europa League next season.
GOAL! Strasbourg 1-1 Lorient (Chalobah 55)
It’s Brest now in the bottom three; Trevoh, the scorer for Lorient, is Nathaniel’s brother.
Goodness! I’ve just seen Kamara’s goal! He collected a clearing header from a corner, took a touch, and absolutely flung himself into a rasper that screeched into the far top corner. That is a hit.
GOAL! Lyon 2-2 Nice (Kamara 50)
A second reprieve for Monaco, who are back in the Champions League places.
Rennes now lead Nimes 2-0 and if Lens can’t beat Monaco – it’s still 0-0 there – they’ll be in the Conference League next term.
Angers, led by Jimmy Cabot, are having a go, but Lille are far too savvy for them and him.
More news from elsewhere...
Sanches has played really well though.
Lovely from Sanches, who plays a one-two off Yilmaz and powers into the box at inside-right ... this should be the clincher ... but he absolutely lashes a slice that flies high and wide of the near post.
I should note that Angers’ ground is going through some hefty redevelopment; the side we can see will be a pretty decent one when it’s ready, but it’s a long way from that at the moment.
“Dijon are already relegated?” asks Peter Oh. “I suppose they couldn’t cut the mustard in Ligue 1. Lille seem to doing a decent job with their Angers management, so far. If they do hold on and pip PSG to the title it would be a sweet victory for all the Lille clubs in football. PSG may be good, but it sounds like they’re labouring to better Brest.”
Off we go again!
In Serie A, Juventus and Milan are winning while Napoli are drawing at home to Verona; as things stand, they’ll miss the Champions League, but if they can win, Juve will.
That went near-enough perfectly for Lille, who’ve been patient and competent in cementing their position as champions-elect. It’d take one of the great collapses to ruin things from here, which is one of the reasons we’ll keep watching.
St Etienne 0-1 Dijon
Lyon 2-1 Nice
Reims 1-1 Bordeaux
Angers 0-2 Lille
Lens 0-0 Monaco
Rennes 1-0 Nimes
Brest 0-1 PSG
Strasbourg 1-0 Lorient
GOAL! Angers 0-2 Lille (Yilmaz pen 45)
Yilmaz does a Neymar, striding up to the ball very deliberately, before smacking to the frozen keeper’s left. This is very nearly over!
PENALTY TO LILLE! THE TITLE IS RIGHT HERE!
David chases a ball poked through the middle, the defenders plays it into his stride, and he knows that if he can get it away from the keeper the challenge is coming ... and there it is! He goes down and here comes Burak Yilmaz...
“As happy as I am, as a regular French reader of the Guardian’s MBM, to see Ligue 1 feature so prominently, I feel like I should correct you,” emails Alexandre Chesnau, and rightly so. “Playoffs are in place and have been for a few years. The 18th-placed team won’t be relegated but will face Toulouse in a two-legged playoff (playoffs which are quite nonsensical, if you ask me – the first season they featured the 18th in Ligue 1 against the 3rd of Ligue 2, Bundesliga-style, which was fine. But in what seems to be a bid to make it harder for a third Ligue 2 team to be promoted, now the 4th and 5th of Ligue 2 square off in a one off game with the winner playing the 3rd of Ligue 2 in another one off game - these games are always hosted by the best-placed team. Then the winner faces off the team finishing 18th of Ligue 1. Toulouse saw off Grenoble 3-0, after Grenoble had beaten Paris FC a few days earlier).”
GOAL! Lyon 2-1 Nice (Ekambi 40)
Monaco will not be wanting to see this, because they’re not doing loads in Lens. Lyon retake the final Champions League spot.
“PSG need ... a twenty five year-old Roy Keane,” says Christopher Flaherty. “But sure so do we all.”
Trudat; the standard of my dishwasher loading would improve immediately. But yep, their midfield is a fair way off.
Angers aren’t creating much but for as long as the deficit is just a goal, this is nowhere near over.
Dijon, already relegated, now lead at St Étienne.
GOAL! Brest 0-1 PSG (Di Maria 37)
Di Maria takes a corner from the right, swerving it in, and it clips Faivre, blocking the route directly to goal, and the ball flicks his back and loops over Larsonneur, who gets himself into a right pickle. Lille have to pay attention now!
Paris have been so poor here.
GOAL! Nantes 1-1 Montpellier (Muani 33)
It’s Lorient back in the bottom three!
Bit of news from elsewhere.
Dean Rivers sends in a picture of Clive Allen in that lush Bordeaux kit but I don’t think I can use it, so let’s make do with this.
GOAL! Nantes 0-1 Montpellier (Laborde 30)
Nantes return to the relegation zone, Lorient returning to the land of the living.
GOAL! Lyon 1-1 Nice (Dolberg 26)
A long var check confirms that we’re all-square in the south; that shoves Lyon back fourth and means Monaco are back in the Champions League positions.
Lille almost scored again a few moments ago, someone – I didn’t see who – waiting at back post only for the cross to be intercepted by a desperate defensive slide.
Rennes lead Nimes 1-0; Nimes are already down, but if things stay as they are, Rennes will now finish above Lens in sixth position.
Back to Paris, I mentioned earlier that I’m not sure the players Pochettino has fit with how he expects his teams to play – he expects his strikers to run their legs off, which isn’t the game of Neymar or Mbappe. You can argue that if you have players that good you want them fresh to hurt the opposition, but their midfield isn’t dominating enough for their forwards to skive pressing.
Relegation latest: Strasbourg lead Lorient 1-0 and Reims lead Bordeaux 1-0!
This means that Lorient usurp Nantes in the bottom three, but there’s a long old way to go.
It’s a pretty quiet affair in Angers, so Pearce and Allen discuss their shared opinion that George Best is the greatest British footballer, by far. I think this is instructive on that point.
Neymar never looked confident, but all he had to do was hit the target. Dearie me.
NEYMAR MISSES IT!
Neymar kisses the ball, stutters, struts, strides ... and with the keeper frozen, opens his body to very deliberately stroke wide! That is very, very, very amusing.
Di Maria skips past Chardonnet then wears a rash challenge from Faussurier, who collapses through the back of him. and that’s a penalty.
GOAL! Lyon 1-0 Nice (Ekambi 14)
That last Champions League place is up for grabs; Lyon are a point behind Monaco, and as things stand will finish above them – thanks to a nicely flicked backheader from a corner.
It really is caning down in Brest, which isn’t that surprising given its proximity to England, where the weather is and has been revolting. Paris have created near enough nowt so far.
That’s the only goal in Ligue 1 so far, and will allow Lille to play with more confidence than they did last week, drawing 0-0 with St Étienne.
GOAL! Angers 0-1 Lille (David 10)
Might that be the title?! Sanches collects the ball in midfield, spins, drives, and digs out a glorious dinked pass that sneaks between two legs, putting David in; he takes a touch, steadies, and slots under Bernardoni!
Badiashile heads home a free-kick for Monaco, but mistimed his run in the process and the whistle quickly goes. A replay shows he was a good yard or two offside.
Botman looks good on the ball, and it’s fairly surprising that he’s not in the preliminary Netherlands squad for the Euros. I’ve not seen loads of Lille this season, but he’s looked the part when I have and has done a lot more than Nathan Aké.
Angers are sitting off Lille, which is no great surprise.
There’s no photo of him in what was a bazzing all-black kit – with long shorts that were uncommon at the time – so let’s enjoy this one in which he features, from England’s trip to Santiago in 1984.
I think we’ve got Clive Allen in co-commentary, which makes sense: he played 19 times for Bordeaux 32 years ago.
We were meant to start simultaneously, but the Lille game went a little later than the other two.
Away we go!
It’s raining in Brest; it might be raining in Poch’s heart too.
Here come the teams!
Lille last won the title 10 years ago. Some kid called Eden Hazard played for them.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Renato Sanches gets on today. Though he’s struggled to put it all together, he’s got a load of talent, and at 23 really needs to explore its outer limits. Assuming Soumaré leaves this summer, there’s also a vacancy in Lille’s midfield, for which he needs to apply.
Hope for Paris and Monaco: Lille have only scored 63 times this season. If Angers turn up, this could get extremely dicey.
The only time a team has been in Lille’s position going into the final day of the season and failed to win the league came in 62-63, when Reims tossed the title to Monaco.
Email! “I would like Monaco to win Ligue 1,” says Vibhanshu Bisht. “Not because I am a fan but because it would make a unique hand of five of a kind with Manchester, Milan, Munich, Madrid and Monaco across Europe’s five big leagues. Has it ever happened in history?”
I don’t think so, though we were close in 1967-68; St Étienne won le championnat but the others were champions.
If Lyon better Monaco’s result, they have the final Champions League spot from them while, at the bottom of the table, Nîmes and Dijon are down but the final spot could go to various. In possession are Nantes, on 40 points, but above them Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg have 41, while Bordeaux and Reims have 32. Brest, given their opponents, look in trouble, while Nantes are home to Montpellier with the other four playing each other, Bordeaux visiting Reims and Strasbourg entertaining Lorient. What a glorious mess.
More on the belowmentioned Cristophe Galtier...
And Monaco bring in Lecomte to replace Majecki in goal, with Badiashile taking the place of Disai at the back; Lens are sixth.
Lille, meanwhile, leave out Fonte, Araujo and Bamba, with Djalo, Sanches and Yazici coming in; Angers are 12th.
Paris are doing all they can to win leaving out a midfielder – Danilo – to get in an extra attacker – Neymar. As such, Angel di Maria plays deeper than usual, and I’d actually argue he’s better coming from midfield than off the flank. Brest, meanwhile, are 17th, and have conceded 64 league goals. You don’t fancy them.
Angers v Lille
Angers: Bernardoni, Manceau, Pavlovic, Thomas, Capelle, Bobichon, Mangani, Cabot, Fulgini, Pereira Lage, Dioni. Subs: Butelle, Ebosse, Doumbia, Taïbi, Mouanga, Cho, Thiroub, El-Melali, Bahoken.
Lille: Maignan, Celik, Djalo, Botman, Mandava, Sanches, André, Soumaré, Yazici, David, Yilmaz. Subs: Karnezis, Pied, Bradaric, Xeka, Bamba, Araujo, Weah, Lihadji, Ikoné.
Lens v Monaco
Lens: Leca, Badé, Medina, Gradit, Clauss, Haïdara, Fofana, Doucouré, Cahuzac, Sotoca, Ganago. Subs: Farinez, Boura, Sylla, Fortes, Traoré, Kakuta, Mauricio, Banza, Jean, Kalimuendo.
Monaco: Lecomte, Aguilar, Sidibé, Maripan, Badiashile, Caio Henrique, Fofana, Golovine, Tchouaméni, Volland, Ben Yedder. Subs: Mannone, Disasi, Ballo-Touré, Matsima, Matazo, Fábregas, Diatta, Martins, Pellegri, Geubbels.
Brest v PSG
Brest: Larsonneur, Perraud, Faussurier, Chardonnet, Duverne, Magnetti, Faivre, Belkebla, Mounié, Honorat, Charbonnier. Subs: Hassen, Cibois, Bain, Baal, Brassier, Pierre-Gabriel, Jean Lucas, N’goma, Mbock, Fadiga, Cardona, Le Douaron.
Paris Saint-Germain: Navas, Diallo, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Florenzi, Gueye, Paredes, Di Maria, Mbappé, Icardi, Neymar. Subs: Rico, Franchi, Dagba, Kehrer, Bakker, Pembele, Rafinha, Simons, Herrera, Sarabia, Draxler, Pereira, Kean, Nagera.
When Mauricio Pochettino was appointed manager of Paris, it was not hard to snark about him taking a job that made it impossible for him not to keep not winning stuff. And we were right: he is now the proud architect of Coupe de France and Trophée des Champions triumphs.
The thing is, when we were snarking we were also messing, because anyone who’s paid any attention to Pochettino’s management career knows that, silverware or not, he’s really good at what he does, just as anyone who’s paid any attention to football knows that imposing his style on any team, never mind this team, is not easily done. Still, though, failing to win the title will not look at all good, nor will it earn him the political capital he needs to make things as he wants them to be.
But have a look at Lille! Seeing this one home it would be a monumental achievement, and a real team effort. The defence has been solid throughout the season, the development of Sven Botman key in a goals-against tally of just 22; in midfield Boubakary Soumaré – apparently destined for Leicester – has burnished his burgeoning reputation; and up front, Jonathan David has contributed well while Burak Yilmaz has been a late-season, late-career revelation. Even set out like that, though, it still doesn’t quite add up, which tells us just how much the manager, Christophe Galtier, has contributed.
So, it comes down to this: if Lille win at Angers, they’re champions; if they draw and Paris lose at Brest, they’re champions; if they lose and Paris don’t win at Brest while Monaco don’t win at Lens, they’re champions; and if they lose, Paris don’t win at Brest and Monaco do win at Lens but without a swing of six goals, they’re champions. C’est en marche!
Kick-offs (or kicks-off): 9pm local time, 8pm BST