Ligue 1 season predictions: More glory for PSG but Lorient may struggle
While Paris Saint-Germain are the clear favourites to defend their Ligue 1 title, the European race and relegation scrap looks set to be as competitive as ever in France.
Even the most impartial would have to admit that it is almost inconceivable to think PSG will not defend their crown this season.
With it, they would move onto 11 Ligue 1 title wins, one clear of Marseille and Saint-Etienne, who they currently share the record with.
Les Parisiens lost out to Lille in 2020-21 and responded by signing Lionel Messi.
Another big summer has followed, with a younger profile of players acquired in Vitinha and Nordi Mukiele, while Nuno Mendes' loan from Sporting Lisbon has been made permanent.
The look to youth maybe inspired by new boss Christophe Galtier, who did the unthinkable by upsetting PSG when leading Lille to the title two years ago and now finally has the chance to show what he can do at one of Europe's elite clubs.
Galtier has made it clear he wants to play with a back three, potentially in a bid to accommodate Sergio Ramos, and earned some early credit by winning Sunday's Trophee des Champions.
Winning Ligue 1 was not enough for his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino, with the club's hierarchy desperate to take the Champions League title.
However, 55-year-old Galtier will feel that domestic glory in his first season will at least buy him time to build on the club's European ambitions.
Lyon the best of the rest?
PSG stuttered at times under Pochettino but still took the title by 15 points from Marseille in 2021-22.
Les Phoceens are back in the Champions League this season but all is not well at the Stade Velodrome.
Coach Jorge Sampaoli was another Argentine to depart the division over the summer to be replaced by Igor Tudor.
The Croat has already clashed with his players over training methods and there is sure to be drama in Provence.
Sampaoli's departure has perhaps scuppered Marseille's transfer plans but the same cannot be said for Lyon.
Known for their investment in youth, with Rayan Cherki one to watch this season, Les Gones have turned to some old faces to add experience.
Academy products Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso have both signed on free transfers following spells elsewhere, while Argentina international Nicolas Tagliafico is a steal at left-back.
A spine of goalkeeper Anthony Lopes, defender Jerome Boateng, midfielder Tolisso and striker Lacazette should win more games than it loses.
Meanwhile, retaining Lucas Paqueta, Karl Toko Ekambi and Houssem Aouar makes it inevitable they will improve upon last season's questionable eighth-place finish.
Monaco should also be aiming for the European places following another summer of shrewd business, while Rennes will hope to last the distance after tailing off last term to finish fourth.
Can Clermont transform their form?
A sparkling start to 2021-22 eventually proved enough for Clermont Foot to survive. They won just three of their last 15 last season to scrape home in 17th.
Pascal Gastien's men need a reset, or it could be another tough season.
Toulouse, AC Ajaccio and Auxerre have all come up from Ligue 2, Auxerre have been away from the big time since 2012 but beat Saint-Etienne in the play-offs and their summer business suggests they could push for mid-table.
Of those who beat the drop last term, Lorient look the most in danger, with new boss Regis le Bris likely to have to build their campaign around tactical nous after a quiet summer.