The likes of PSG, Monaco, and Lille don’t have to worry about potentially going down, but for Ligue 1’s smaller clubs, relegation is always a looming reality.
Newly promoted teams and teams that struggled in the previous season are usually the default relegation favorites. This season, Troyes and Clermont Foot are the league’s new boys and were the bookies’ relegation favorites at the start of the season.
Nantes, Brest, and Lorient managed to stay up last season, but they may have to fight to stay up again. Other teams like St. Etienne and FC Metz may also be involved in this season’s relegation race.
Here’s our Ligue 1 relegation betting preview.
At the end of the Ligue 1 season, the teams that finish in 19th and 20th place are relegated to Ligue 2, while the 18th-placed team plays in the final of the relegation play-offs.
If the team wins that two-legged final, then they remain in Ligue 1, but if they lose, they are demoted to Ligue 2.
Initially, all the bottom three clubs used to be relegated directly, but that changed in the 2016/17 season after relegation/promotion play-offs were reintroduced.
Last season, none of the newly promoted clubs were relegated. Lorient finished in 16th place, while RC Lens finished in 7th place and had a season to remember—they even almost qualified for Europe!
This may serve as inspiration to Troyes and Clermont Foot, this season’s new boys, who were written off by the bookies at the start of the season.
So instead of betting on one of the new boys to go down, backing one of the sides that struggled last season may prove to be a better betting alternative.
Clermont Foot 63 – Clermont Foot finished 2nd in Ligue 2 last season and gained promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in their history. They qualified impressively, finishing two points above Toulouse, who were the promotion favorites.
So, the main question is, how will they adapt to top-flight football, especially since they’ve never played in Ligue 1 before?
While it’s a great achievement for the club, all the signs indicate that Les Lanciers will struggle in their first top-flight season. They have one of the league’s lowest budgets, and none of their summer signings have any proven Ligue 1 experience.
So Pascal Gastien, their head coach, will have to rely on the squad that earned them promotion, and it remains to be seen whether such players can step up to the next level.
ESTAC Troyes – After a three-year absence, Troyes are back in Ligue 1, but they’ll be hoping to avoid immediate relegation this season.
They’ve been promoted and relegated multiple times in the past few seasons and have gained a reputation of being a yo-yo club, which is why they are promotion favorites once again this season.
They were Ligue 2 champions last season and were worthy champions. In fact, if it weren’t for the cancellation of the 2019/20 season, Troyes might have been promoted earlier as they have consistently been one of the most impressive Ligue 2 sides.
Unlike Clermont Foot, Troyes have made several top-flight level signings. Mama Balde, an exciting winger, joined from Dijon, and Renaut Rippard, who scored 11 Ligue 1 goals last season for Nimes, joined Troyes in the summer. Rominigue Kouamé, who played an integral part in Lille’s title success, also joined Troyes.
With such signings, Troyes may just manage to stay up this season.
FC Nantes – Nantes finished in 18th place last season and were forced to secure top-flight survival via the relegation playoffs. They played Toulouse in the two-legged final and prevailed on away goals, which is probably the luckiest way that a team can manage to stay up.
Nantes were last relegated from Ligue 1 in 2009 but bounced back in 2013 and have managed to stay in the league since then. In fact, they’ve been a solid Ligue 1 team and have consistently finished in mid-table. Their only recent relegation scare came last season.
Antoine Kombouaré, who was appointed On 11 February 2021, helped Nantes to avoid relegation and will be hoping to guide them back to a mid-table finish in his first full season. However, they haven’t really improved their squad, meaning that they could struggle again this season.
Stade Brestois 29 – Brest finished in 17th place, just one point and position above 18th-placed FC Nantes. So if a few results hadn’t gone their way, they might have been playing in Ligue 2 this season. Instead, they now have to fight for survival once again.
They’ve made a few signings, but nothing too impressive to write home about. On the other hand, Romain Perraud, their star left back, joined Southampton in the summer transfer window.
Brest were last relegated in 2013 but only gained promotion back to Ligue 1 in 2019.
AS Saint-Étienne – Saint-Étienne struggled for the majority of last season but somehow ended up finishing in 11th place.
However, they are on this list based on two other key factors: financial problems and a poor start to the season. They only made 1 signing during the summer, a loan player from South America who has no experience playing in Europe, and they were forced to let a few players go to try and balance the books.
Based on how they’ve started this season, relegation is more than a possibility for the Saints. The last time that they were relegated from Ligue 1 was in the early 2000s.
FC Girondins Bordeaux – Bordeaux have an impressive Ligue 1 record; they haven’t suffered relegation since the ’90s, making them one of the league’s mainstays. Last season, however, they struggled and had to deal with the threat of relegation.
They eventually finished in 12th place but were just 5 points above 18th-placed Nantes.
They have a lot of Covid-19 related financial problems and were even relegated by DNCG, France’s financial watchdog, during the summer, but they were eventually spared by the French authorities.
However, those financial hardships have had a major impact on their transfers and their squad, and with such a thin squad, it seems as though they will struggle to stay up this season.
FC Metz – Metz finished in 10th place last season, but a poor start to the season indicates that Les Grenats may be heading back to Ligue 2. They were last relegated in 2018 and have remained in the league since they bounced back in 2019.
FC Lorient – Lorient was promoted to Ligue 1 last season, and they managed to stay up despite struggling for most of the season.
They finished in 16th place and Christophe Pélissier’s men will be hoping to match or better that rank this season. However, they have a thin squad and are tipped by the bookies to struggle again this season.
|Season||Ligue 1 Relegated Teams|
|2018/19||SM Caen, EA Guingamp|
|2017/18||ESTAC Troyes, FC Metz|
|2016/17||Lorient, Nancy, A.C. Bastia|
|2015/16||ESTAC Troyes, Gazélec Ajaccio, Stade de Reims|
|2014/15||RC Lens, FC Metz, Evian|
|2013/14||Valenciennes, AC Ajaccio, Sochaux|
|2012/13||Nancy, ESTAC Troyes, Stade Brestois 29|
|2011/12||Caen, Dijon, A.J. Auxerre|
Placing a futures bet on the Ligue 1 relegation market is extremely easy. Here are the easy steps that you should follow: