Impetus’ French editor Jean-Pierre Thiesset brings us his look ahead to the new season in France’s top tier. He runs through key signings, injuries, and makes his predictions for 2022/23 (6/9/22).
Above: Olympique Lyonnais lift last season’s D1 Arkema title. Photo: Jean-Pierre Thiesset for Impetus.
The New Teams:
There will still be 12 teams in D1 Arkema this season with two new teams, Rodez and Le Havre replacing Saint-Etienne and Issy, who were relegated at the end of last season.
Rodez have already spent nine previous seasons in D1 Arkema from 2010 to 2019. Le Havre return to the top flight after being relegated at the end of their only previous spell in 2020/21 when they finished bottom.
The Main Injuries:
Paris Saint-Germain will have to start its season without its leading scorer Marie-Antoinette Katoto who tore her left-hand side ACL at the beginning of the Euros in England.
Olympique Lyonnais have lost Australian international right back Ellie Carpenter who tore her left-hand side ACL during the Womens UEFA Champions League final in Turin.
The Main Moves/Transfers:
Bordeaux lost most of their key players in part due to the financial problems of the professional men’s team who were demoted to the second tier. Their main departures: Eve Périsset (Chelsea), Charlotte Bilbault (Montpellier), Claire Lavogez (Kansas City), Inès Jaurena (Lyon), Katja Snoeijs (Everton), Laetitia Philippe (Le Havre), Marine Perea (Guingamp). There are no arrivals.
Fleury lost a few players but kept most of their key ones. Arrivals: Laurine Baga (Lyon), Batcheba Louis (Issy), Chantelle Swaby (Rangers), Chloé N’Gazi (Orleans). Departures: Diaz Cirauqui (Dijon), Emmeline Mainguy (Metz), Kenza Chapelle (Nantes), Nikola Karczewska (Tottenham).
Le Havre made a lot of changes but only a few that are worth mentioning. Main arrivals: Eva Kouache (Metz – ex-Lyon), Laetitia Philippe (Bordeaux).
Olympique Lyonnais made few changes in their squad and mostly reinforced their midfield and let go only two main players. Main arrivals: Signe Bruun (Manchester United – Loan return), Sara Däbritz (Paris SG), Inès Jaurena (Bordeaux). Main departures: Kadeisha Buchanan (Chelsea), Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir (Juventus), Emelyne Laurent (Bayern Munich).
Montpellier have balanced their arrivals and departures even if the loss of Mary Fowler will be difficult to compensate for. Arrivals: Léa Khelifi (Paris SG), Charlotte Bilbault (Bordeaux), Océane Deslandes (Reims), Celeste Boureille (AC Milan). Departures: Mary Fowler (Manchester City), Sarah Puntigam (Cologne), Ashleigh Weerden (Ajax), Morgane Nicoli (Sevilla).
Paris FC made only a few changes in a squad that did a very good job last season, clinching a place in UEFA Women’s Champions League. Arrivals: Louise Fleury (Guingamp), Margaux Le Mouël (Guingamp), Lou Bogaert (Lille). Departures: Hélèna Theriez (Brest), Oriane Jean François (Paris SG).
Paris Saint-Germain recruited Gérard Prêcheur the ex-coach of Lyon from 2014 to 2017 with which he won several titles in the French Premier League and in UEFA Women’s Champions League. Arrivals: Alice Pinguet (Le Havre – loan return), Lieke Martens (Barcelona), Lydia Williams (Arsenal), Oriane Jean François (Paris FC). Departures: Léa Khelifi (Montpellier), Sara Dabritz (Lyon), Jordyn Huitema (OL Reign), Luana (Corinthians), Charlotte Voll (Altach), Aminata Diallo (free).
Reims lost Naomie Feller who departed for Real Madrid and made a few other changes but kept most of last year’s squad.
There are no significant changes at Rodez and Soyaux.
My Predictions For This Season:
Olympique Lyonnais seems to be the team that once again will largely dominate D1 Arkema this season. Almost no key players left except Kadeisha Buchanan who was not always a starter; they reinforced their midfield with Sara Dabritz; and have Janice Cayman and Inès Jaurena to step in for Ellie Carpenter during her injury.
Furthermore, a few young players from the OL Academy are ready to step up like Nesrine Bahlouli (midfielder), and Kysha Sylla (defender). With the other young players that already integrated the squad last year (like Alice Sombath and Inès Benyahia), Lyon will not only have a strong starting lineup but also a strong bench to back them up for the whole season.
Lyon already demonstrated that their young squad is ready by helping them to win the WICC Cup in Portland in August defeating Chelsea on penalties after a 2-2 draw before seeing off and Monterrey of Mexico 4-0 in the Final.
Paris Saint-Germain will fight at least for second place, especially with Gérard Prêcheur at the helm, but it could be more difficult for them without Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Sara Dabritz, and Jordyn Huitema who were three of their key players last year. They already struggled in the AMOS Cup in Toulouse where they finished last losing their two games, 1-0 to Manchester United in the semi-final and to Barcelona on penalties in the third place game after a 1-1 draw.
Paris FC and Fleury will probably fight for thir place and maybe for second if Paris Saint-Germain find it harder this time round. Paris FC started their pre-season by winning 3-0 against Servette Geneva and then a loss on penalties to Roma.
Montpellier may enter in the fight for third or fourth, but it will be difficult with the loss of Mary Fowler. They are more likely to join Reims in a battle for fifth or sixth. The latter side have lost Naomie Feller but that kept most of their last season players.
Guingamp and Dijon could aim to the bottom middle part of the standings. Bordeaux will probably struggle to avoid relegation even if they have a very good coach, Patrice Lair. They lost too many key players who have not been replaced to hope a lot more than just stay in D1 Arkema next season.
Soyaux, Le Havre, and Rodez will probably fight all season long with Bordeaux not to be bottom.
First Round Fixtures:
Weekend of September 10:
Bordeaux v Le Havre
Paris Saint-Germain v Soyaux
Paris FC v Rodez
Reims v Olympique Lyonnais
Montpellier v Dijon
Guingamp v Fleury
Before then was the Trophée des Championnes game between the D1 Arkema Championship winner Olympique Lyonnais and the French Cup winner Paris Saint-Germain on August 28, 2022.
Olympique Lyonnais won the battle 1-0. In a game where the ball went back and forth, Lyon were more efficient and scored after 13 minutes. Danielle Van De Donk was on the mark following a shot from Delphine Cascarino which was deflected the Paris SG goalkeeper to Van De Donk. Despite the fact that Lyon started without seven of their key players – Ellie Carpenter, Catarina Macario, Wendie Renard, Amandine Henry, Eugénie Le Sommer, Damaris Egurrola, and Selma Bacha, we saw a team that played together and that was very strong in midfield and defence. Delphine Cascarino was named player of the game.