Marseille endured a weekend of disappointment as they saw their European hopes fade following a 1-1 draw with Strasbourg on Friday, which combined with Saint-Etienne’s victory over Monaco to leave them with a seemingly impossible amount of ground to make up over the last three weeks.
Head coach Rudi Garcia can draw some solace from the performance of attacker Valere Germain, who was the outstanding player in Ligue 1 this week, according to the Opta Performance Index, which measures how well each player in the league performs and grades them with a score out of 100.
Former Monaco attacker Germain chalked up a tally of 97.4, in part thanks to a terrific opening goal, which arrived shortly after half-time. Mario Balotelli was twice involved in its conception, yet it was his strike partner who grabbed the headlines with a terrific finish into the corner of the goal.
As well as being heavily involved in much of TFC’s best build-up play – notably a cross from which Max Gradel should have scored – the former Metz man was responsible for his side’s second goal of the game, deftly flicking Jimmy Durmaz’s free kick into the corner of the goal with his head.
Rounding out the top three is Remy Cabella, who played an inspirational role for Saint-Etienne as they overcame Monaco 3-2.
The creative midfielder had caused anxiety among the club’s support by taking time off to go to a friend’s wedding just 48 hours before the match, yet the fans need not have worried as he turned in a decisive display. His highlight moment was a cracking reaction volley into the net to give Sainte a 2-1 advantage.
Cabella was also the provider of the winning goal, which was brilliantly headed into the net by youngster Arnaud Nordin, who made his debut among the Top 10 thanks in part to this contribution. He might only have played 45 minutes, but they were telling.
On the flip side, Gelson Martins returned to this elite group. The on-loan Atletico Madrid winger has been quiet in recent weeks but exploded back to life with a fine opening goal from an acute angle then a late assist for team-mate Carlos Vinicius that kept the match live until the very end.
One man who has been performing to a consistently high standard in recent weeks is Valentin Rongier, who finished fourth in the ladder this week. The Nantes captain played an inspirational role as Vahid Halilhodzic’s side made it five wins on the bounce against Dijon, capping another impressive display with a well-taken goal in the second half.
It was a game that was broken open by Abdoulaye Toure’s terrific strike from range, with the midfielder rewarded for his performance by placing eighth on this standing.
A difficult few weeks for Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home against Nice. Marco Verratti turned in a strong display in the heart of the midfield, while for the visitors it was goalscorer Ignatius Ganago who most caught the eye. Both make the Top 10.
In the weekend’s big match between Lyon and Lille the match finished all square at 2-2. It was LOSC midfielder Boubakary Soumare who was named the game’s outstanding player, with the 20-year-old having netted his first senior goal with an opportunist strike.
Regarded as one of the hottest midfield prospects in France, he did his cause for regular first-team football no harm at all with a brilliant display at the home of OL, propelling his club towards the Champions League in the process.
Lyon have been left scrapping for third place with Saint-Etienne, which promises to be a fascinating duel until the end of the season. Indeed, with OL visiting Marseille’s Stade Velodrome next week, it promises to be a dramatic conclusion to the campaign.