HASngers, Troyes, Lorient, Brest, Clermont, the promoted Auxerre, Toulouse, Ajaccio, but also Nantes, Montpellier or Reims: they all have a little extra anxiety for this new season. On June 3, 2021, the general meeting of the LFP approved a future Ligue 1 with 18 clubs in order to preserve economic interests and increase its competitiveness. To achieve this tightening, it was decided that four direct relegations would take place during the 2022-2023 financial year. After the falls of Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne and Metz, who should fear for his place?
Smart recruitment at all levels
Jean-Marc Furlan, coach of AJ Auxerre, believes that the maintenance will be played as often in recent years at a fairly low pace. “Ligue 1 has changed a lot, because 15-20 years ago, it needed 42 points to maintain. But now, 33 or 34 points may be enough. There are the first 5-6 and the rest […] But what is essential, with the three-point victory, is how well we can end the season, in the last 10 or 12 days. This is where everything is played, “said the Burgundian technician on the Ligue 1 site. Not to miss his start, to succeed in his final sprint, but also to negotiate the November-December truce for the World Cup at the Qatar: the stakes are multiple.
�� “The club has won its place, we must not underestimate ourselves, humility does not prevent ambition. We will do everything to fly the colors of AC Ajaccio and Corsica.” pic.twitter.com/biYZEJB8T5
—AC Ajaccio (@ACAjaccio) August 4, 2022
Among the clubs announced as the favorites for the descent, it’s hard not to think of Clermont Foot, the smallest budget in L1 with AC Ajaccio. It is often said that the second season in the elite for a graduate is the most delicate: the Auvergne technician is aware that his mission will be perilous. “Until now, before us, only one club [Troyes] was maintained during his first season in L1. So the first one is already very difficult. Everything is complicated. People rightly see us in the bottom four. We are going to sell our skin dearly and try to maintain ourselves, ”explained Gastion during an interview with France 3.
With often limited means and a delicate attractiveness, it is often a headache to recruit within these clubs. But we have still been able to see some interesting moves in recent weeks: Gonalons in Clermont, the Japanese international Ito in Reims, one of the best L2 players Youssouf M’Changama in Auxerre, Wahbi Khazri in Montpellier or even Thijs Dallinga, Dutch trigger, land in Toulouse. A reduced financial envelope does not prevent you from having good ideas!
“Even the tenth could quickly be affected by the maintenance”
But it is not only the modest teams and the promoted who will be affected by the maintenance. Last season’s surprise team and qualified for the Europa League thanks to its victory in the Coupe de France, FC Nantes could well be in danger after a see-saw transfer window. His trainer, Antoine Kombouaré, is well aware of this. “In this championship, Paris could crush everything. I see a three-speed Ligue 1 with a few teams fighting for second place and many fighting not to go down. Even the tenth could quickly be affected by the fight for maintenance. Last season, the fight against relegation involved only six to seven teams. With this new intense calendar and its cuts, the fight promises to be much fiercer.
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Even on the side of Lens, which has nevertheless managed two convincing seasons in the top flight, the specter of a possible relegation is very present. “I have leaders who talk about maintenance and they are right. Because football remains fragile. And this is the first mission. After this mission, there are others, because we have never set a limit since we returned to Ligue 1, ”said Franck Haise, coach of the Sang et Or on RMC Sport. Proof that these four direct descents leave no one indifferent, the L1 will vibrate to the rhythm of this sword of Damocles until the end of the season.