With the festive period upon us, we've been asking fans what their team needs to achieve their goals in 2019. The next stop in our What I Want For Christmas series takes us to France to see what the league's top sides would like going into the new year.
Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain hold a ten-point lead at the top of the table going into the final round of games before the winter break.
After the pre-Christmas matches, the teams return to action on January 12 when PSG will have their eye on other prizes as well as looking to maintain their domestic dominance.
Olympique Lyonnais, meanwhile, will be looking to repeat the kind of performances they put in against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.
For the third part of our What I want for Christmas series, we spoke to Ligue 1 experts from Get French Football News to get their views on how each team can improve in 2019.
Greater investment in the squad
Lyon owner Jean-Michel Aulas has been more cautious since getting burned repeatedly some ten years ago by the signings of the likes of Yoann Gourcuff, Aly Cissokho, and Ederson.,
The big-money sales of Alexandre Lacazette to Arsenal, Samuel Umtiti to FC Barcelona and Corentin Tolisso to FC Bayern have raised funds which fans would like to see reinvested in bigger-name players to push OL up the Ligue 1 standings.
More recognition for Ferland Mendy.
While not as well-known as his namesake and fellow Le Havre academy graduate Benjamin, the left-back continues to improve this season and sparkled in a recent appearance for France.
His attacking prowess has never been in doubt, but he has made big strides defensively this season as well and is comfortably the best left-back in Ligue 1.
More consistency, full stop.
As a Lyon fan, it is maddening to be able to beat Manchester City in one match and then fail to score against Rennes or Nice.
Front to back, Lyon are clearly the second most-talented squad in France, but their many blips have prevented them from giving PSG a run for their money as they ought to be doing.
Sign a defensive midfielder
PSG’s midfield is becoming increasingly stretched. Blaise Matuidi’s dynamism wasn’t replaced, Thiago Motta retired in the summer and Marco Verratti remains injury prone.
Deals for Jean Michaël Seri and Fabinho melted away meaning Julian Draxler has often dropped deeper alongside Marquinhos, a centre-back by trade.
Now, Adrien Rabiot is all but gone too having failed to sign a new contract. PSG are expected to progress in Europe and retain their domestic treble in 2019, so one, or perhaps two, January midfield additions could be crucial to those aims.
Meaningful Champions League success
While Paris aren’t without latter stage Champions League successes, their zenith remains a pair of last-16 victories over Chelsea, while they have failed to make a semi-final appearance since the Qatari takeover – a sore spot.
As are disastrous exits to clubs they consider ‘peers’ - the capitulation at the Nou Camp, surrendering to Manchester City and being outplayed by Real Madrid. Thomas Tuchel, however, is moulding a more streetwise side and a quarter-final win over a fellow tournament favourite would be watershed moment.
Coach Tuchel deserves serious praise, not only for a stylistic evolution – making PSG more effective and less flakey – but also for generating a sense of togetherness in Paris.
While former boss Unai Emery remains an astute coach, he neglected to build individual relationships, while his reportedly strained relationship with Neymar was far from ideal.
Footage of Tuchel's players egging him on to sing his initiation song at a press conference (‘Happy’ by Pharrell) and celebrations after beating Liverpool in the Champions League point to a changing atmosphere. Can it last?