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Three in a row: How Paris prevailed again

Published: Monday 18 May 2015, 13.55CET
Made to work harder than in their last two Ligue 1 wins, Paris Saint-Germain have nevertheless made it three titles in a row; UEFA.com considers five key points from the campaign.
by Christian Châtelet
from Paris
Three in a row: How Paris prevailed again
Captain Thiago Silva celebrates after Paris clinched the title ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Monday 18 May 2015, 13.55CET

Three in a row: How Paris prevailed again

Made to work harder than in their last two Ligue 1 wins, Paris Saint-Germain have nevertheless made it three titles in a row; UEFA.com considers five key points from the campaign.

Some say it was the hardest won of the three titles Paris have claimed in successive seasons, which makes the latest victory, secured in Saturday's 2-1 win at Montpellier Hérault SC, all the sweeter. The first club to win a trio of titles since Olympique Lyonnais claimed the last of their seven successive crowns in 2008, Paris join Olympique de Marseille and AS Saint-Étienne as fourth French side to achieve the feat.

Having only reached the top of the table for the first time on 20 March, coach Laurent Blanc acknowledged his side were made to work for their success. "It was harder than last season but this made it all the better," he said. UEFA.com's French team select five talking points from another title-winning campaign.

Lyon prove worthy adversaries
Few tipped Les Gones as Paris' main rivals but with a host of young players announcing themselves, summed up by the incredible understanding forged between 27-goal Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir, Hubert Fournier's side pushed Paris all the way after leading the standings for ten matchdays. Lacazette, 24, was voted best player in the league by peers and 21-year-old Fekir the best young player. "Credit to this Lyon team, who were a tough challenge for us," Blanc said.

©AFP/Getty Images

Pastore has enjoyed his best year in France

Pastore shows his worth
One of the first to join the current Paris project back in 2011 from US Città di Palermo, for a €42m fee, Javier Pastore experienced his best season in France. With Thiago Motta stuggling with injuries the 25-year-old Argentinian finally flourished with ten assists, his highest tally in a league season. "For me currently, the best player in the word is Pastore," said Eric Cantona last month. "I watch football to see players like him. You never know what he will do. He surprises you and his opponents."

European highs and lows
Having lifted the Coupe de la Ligue for a second year running this term and with a French Cup final to come against AJ Auxerre on 30 May, the UEFA Champions League is seen as the only competition where Paris did not live up expectations. A failure to make the last four again – though it took an outstanding FC Barcelona to oust them – means opposition fans can chalk it up as a let-down, but for Paris followers the campaign provided the highlights of the season.

Defeating Barça in the group stage proved one such high point but undoubtedly the 2-2 last-16 extra-time draw at Chelsea FC, clinched by Thiago Silva's brilliant header, was the moment of the season. Prevailing despite Zlatan Ibrahimović's 31st-minute red card, the game was a masterpiece and broke viewing-figure records in France. It also showed the level the side can reach on the European stage, providing hope that next year will be the real breakthrough campaign.

Paris strongest in final furlong
The victory at Montpellier at the weekend was Paris' eighth in as many games in the league, a pace Lyon simply could not match. Once European commitments came to an end, Blanc's men could focus fully on the league campaign. They put together their best domestic form of the season, scoring six on two occasions at the Parc des Princes against LOSC Lille and EA Guingamp.

©Getty Images

Bastia were beaten to the Coupe de la Ligue

In that run, they also retained the Coupe de la Ligue, defeating SC Bastia 4-0 to maintain hopes of a domestic treble. "We won it with our mental strength," said goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. "It was not an easy season. We got criticised but we showed we deserved it in the end."

Best yet to come?
The highlight may still await for Paris. After the Super Cup win back in August, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Ligue 1 titles, they are now totally focused on the French Cup final against Ligue 2's Auxerre. History awaits as no French side have won both cups and the league in the same year. "We have something historic ahead," said midfielder Blaise Matuidi only minutes after taking his third title on Saturday, showing how motivated the team are.

Last updated: 18/05/15 14.16CET

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