Category: Montpellier HSC

Spellbinding | Ajax’s two mesmerising performances against Manchester City have put Dutch football back on the map after a long spell on the sidelines. (Image | Getty)

This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.

Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?

At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?

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Montpellier’s first ever league title was secured thanks to a double from John Utaka, on a day where anything but a loss would do. (Image | French Football Weekly)

Montpellier HSC are the new champions of French football after a 2-1 win over relegated AJ Auxerre. The club’s first ever top flight trophy came courtesy of a double from former Portsmouth winger John Utaka, after the Stade de l’Abbé-Deschamps outfit took the lead through Olivier Kapo, another ex-Premier League player plying his trade in Ligue 1.

René Girard’s side became the fifth different club to lift the Ligue 1 trophy since the 2006-2007 season, in what could be taken as both an indication of competitiveness in French football, and a lack of any particularly strong title contender. They were pushed all the way by Paris St. Germain (PSG), however. PSG became one of the richest clubs in the world when the Qatar Investment Authority became their major shareholders in the summer of 2011. A great deal of money was spent, particularly on Javier Pastore, with the intention of making PSG the new “force” in Ligue 1, but after the final day’s action a full three points separated Carlo Ancelotti’s side from the much-craved title.

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