PSG Have High Expectations for 2021-22, Domestically and on the European Front

Books opened with PSG the prohibitive faves to win Ligue 1 this season. That stance hasn’t changed  as Les Parisien’s campaign is off to a flying start. However, with the addition of Lionel Messi, PSG’s odds have improved both domestically in Champions League betting.

Before Lionel Messi was even a flicker on the Ligue 1 radar, Paris Saint-Germain were dubbed the team to beat in France’s topflight league. Then came the news that would rock the world of football: Messi was leaving his boyhood club Barcelona for the greener pastures of PSG. Spain’s loss was France’s gain.

If PSG were the prohibitive faves before news of Messi’s coming was announced, their favour skyrocketed exponentially and the twinkle-toed Argentinian forward was yet to set foot in Le Parc des Princes. That’s a testament to the kind of currency footballers of Messi’s ilk command and the principality of only a handful of ballers.

The French giants had a busy summer transfer window. They acquired 2020 European champion goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, wing-back Achraf Hakimi and Real Madrid stalwart Sergio Ramos, bolstering their core crop of players that include the effervescent Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria. The acquisition of one of the greatest footballers on the planet, Lionel Messi, from Barcelona as the summer transfer window was winding shut is the cherry on top.

On paper, PSG’s star-studded cast strikes a formidable pose, earning deserved plaudits and favour. Barring any unforeseen injuries or unexpected challenge, PSG’s roster of glitterati have the quality and talent to not only compete for the domestic title but also European glory. That’s the ultimate goal, after all. The mandate Mauricio Pochettino must deliver on and ideally this season, if only to validate what was a whirlwind summer of transfers.

PSG’s quest to win the illusive Champions League title could take precedence over the domestic title. Paris Saint-Germain opened as the runaway favourites in sports odds betting with multiple sportsbooks. Across the board, books tipped PSG at -1200 at the start of the season. Now, with the advent of Lionel Messi to the nation’s capital and after a stellar four-game winning run to start the season, books tip PSG as high as -1400.

Olympique Lyon opened as the second-best bet at +185, while AS Monaco FC opened as the second-best bet at +300 and defending Ligue 1 champions, LOSC Lille, opened as the third-best bet at +440. Now, with the first four rounds of Ligue 1 in the books, all three have seen their odds swell dramatically on the back of slow starts. Lyon (1-2-1) is currently available at +1800 while Monaco (1-1-2) and Lille (1-2-1) are both priced at +2500.

There’s nothing the French heavyweights haven’t achieved in domestic top-flight action since enjoying a revival in 2011 – from winning six Ligue 1 titles, six French Cups, six French league Cups and eight Super Cups. The only trophy missing from their cabinet is also the most prestigious cup, the European Cup. PSG opened as the fourth-best bet to win the 2022 Champions League title at +1200, behind Man City (+300), Bayern Munich (+550) and both Chelsea and Liverpool (jointly tied on +800 odds).

PSG leapfrogged to the top of the odds board in recent weeks. Now, the French heavyweights are the team to beat at +300. Man City closely follow at +400 while Bayern Munich is priced at +700, Chelsea at +800 and Liverpool at +900.

PSG were one match-win away from the European Cup in 2020 when they reached their first-ever UEFA Champions League final. But they never got any closer after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich. To say it was a bitter disappointment is an understatement.  Neymar was so distraught that he ended up congratulating the wrong team in a tweet after the game. Neymar’s tweet primarily thanked fans for “the support and affection.” But he went on to end his tweet by congratulating Bayer. “e PARABÉNS ao BAYER.”

Last season, PSG barely made it into the semis of Champions League. They advanced into the semis after a 1-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the second leg only by virtue of away goals, but they fell to Man City by a combined score of 4-1.

The hope for PSG is that they’ve finally got the right mix of talent and championship pedigree to deliver European glory to the nation’s capital. Messi helped Barcelona win four Champions League titles while Sergio Ramos won four with Real Madrid. Donnarumma is flush off an inspired 2020 Euros campaign in which he helped his native Italy to the title against England in the final. Messi himself endorsed PSG’s potential to win when he said he believed he was in the “right place” to fulfil his dream of winning another Champions League trophy.

“My goal and dream is to raise another Champion’s (League Trophy) and I believe that I am in the right place to have the best chances to achieve that,” Messi said to the media in his introductory news conference at Parc des Princes upon his arrival to Paris.

Messi, 34, made his long-awaited debut for PSG last weekend when he replaced Neymar in the final 30 minutes of Sunday’s 2-0 win over Reims. It was one of the most-watched matches of the weekend around the world.