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Ciprian Tatarusanu (Nantes)
Since he was signed by Claudio Ranieri in the summer, the Romania international goalkeeper has enjoyed a terrific spell in Ligue 1 and has rapidly established himself as a mainstay of Nantes’ side, which has been based around a formidable defence.
No goalkeeper who has played at least 10 matches this season has a higher save percentage than the former Fiorentina shot-stopper’s of 75.81.
Dani Alves (PSG)
He may be 34 now, but the former Barcelona man showed last term as he helped Juventus reach the final of the Champions League that he is still one of the best performers in the world in his role, and he has done well to see off the challenge of Thomas Meunier to start regularly for PSG.
He has been an excellent performer in Ligue 1, though he has played only 13 times as his minutes are managed due to his aging legs. He has three assists to his credit, but it is his winning mentality that PSG hope to profit from in the second half of the campaign.
Nordi Mukuele (Montpellier)
It is little surprise that clubs are starting to turn their attention to the 20-year-old, who arrived a year ago from Laval. His versatility has been impressive but he has adapted to Michel Der Zakarian’s five-man defensive line impressively, helping Montpellier to the best defensive record in France, with only 13 goals conceded in 19 games.
The youngster has benefitted immensely from playing alongside veteran Hilton in the Montpellier rearguard, but he has shown immense potential.
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The Brazilian is maturing into the world-class centre-back that PSG hoped when they signed him from Roma in 2013, with the 23-year-old having established himself as a vital member of their starting XI this season.
He has been named as third captain of the club – a responsibility that he has revelled in – while he has won 70% of his duels in Ligue 1 this season, the best record in terms of outfielders who have played more than half of the games thus far.
Jerome Roussillon (Montpellier)
The 24-year-old has been playing as a wing-back for Montpellier this season and has done so in a highly effective manner. There has been a tremendous onus on him to provide an attacking threat down the left, which he has done admirably by providing three assists and a couple of goals in 15 starts.
Roussillon, meanwhile, has been impressive at the back too, and has played only once when Montpellier have conceded more than a single goal in a league match this term.
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Luiz Gustavo (Marseille)
When the Brazil international arrived in the summer, there was not a huge fanfare, yet the former Bayern Munich man has established himself as perhaps his side’s most important player.
Most noted for his defensive contribution in the midfield, the 30-year-old has still managed to score five league goals this season, including the opener against PSG in a 2-2 draw. He has been absolutely indispensable.
Florian Thauvin (Marseille)
The former Newcastle flop has returned to Ligue 1 and is returning to the type of level that saw him so hyped as a young player.
In a Marseille side that is fighting for a Champions League place, he has been one of the driving offensive forces, scoring eight goals, while only Neymar has more than his eight assists.
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Nabil Fekir (Lyon)
Alexandre Lacazette’s summer sale to Arsenal might have plunged Lyon into difficulty had the playmaker not been available to pick up the slack. With 13 goals this season, he has already contributed as many in his previous best season, while he has three assists to his name, too.
The 24-year-old’s performances will have to bring him into World Cup contention if they maintain such a high standard, though Didier Deschamps has been strangely reticent to pick him in the past.
He was christened the world’s most expensive player when he completed a stunning €222 million move from Barcelona to PSG in the summer, yet he has lived up to the billing. He leads Ligue 1 in assists with nine, while he has scored 11 goals.
It is not in domestic competition that the 25-year-old will be judged, but he has certainly made a very good early impression in France.
Radamel Falcao (Monaco)
If there was any sense that ‘El Tigre’s’ return to form last season was something of a fluke, he has completely dispelled that with a blistering start to the current campaign at Stade Louis II. In a side struggling to find its way, he has scored 15 times in Ligue 1, netting at a rate of a goal every 92 minutes.
The 31-year-old is finally back to his best after serious knee problems and has Leonardo Jardim’s men heading towards the Champions League spots once more, despite more pressure placed on him than ever.
Edinson Cavani (PSG)
The Uruguay international has been Ligue 1’s outstanding striker in the first half of the season by some distance. Though he has plenty of supply, he is finding the net at the rate of greater than a goal a game and has been less prone to missing the easy chances that he often squandered in previous seasons.
Of course, there was the ‘Penaltygate’ controversy with Neymar earlier in the season, but on field, at least, his relationship with the Brazil international forward appears to have recovered.