Newly promoted Reims are enjoying a stellar return to top-flight football and continued their charge on Saturday thanks to a 2-1 victory over Strasbourg.
The three points that they took in that encounter allowed them to jump up to eighth in the standings and, though Ligue 1 is highly competitive this season, they are well placed to avoid the worst of the relegation battle.
Reims have thrived largely thanks to their excellent defensive record, but against Racing they caught the eye at the other end of the field, with Moussa Doumbia their star man.
It took the 24-year-old Mali international midfielder only six minutes to open the scoring, sending a half-cleared cross back into the net from the edge of the box with a shot that hit the post before it nestled into the corner of the net.
So well did the former Rostov player perform, he came out on top of the Ligue 1 Performance Index for the weekend, a statistical measure provided by Opta to score each player in Le Championnat out of 100 in every game.
Doumbia, whose team-mate Mathieu Cafaro finished in 10th place this week, chalked up an impressive score of 98.3, beating out Lyon’s Nabil Fekir into top spot.
World Cup-winner Fekir has established himself as one of the league’s outstanding players over the years due to his ability to provide the goods on the big occasion, and he did so once again as Lyon ran rampant against Monaco on Sunday.
Latching onto a cross from Kenny Tete, he forced home OL’s second goal as they ran out easy 3-0 winners over Thierry Henry’s men.
Houssem Aouar, who gave another strong account of himself in the midfield, opening the scoring, climbed into sixth place, meanwhile.
Completing the podium for this weekend was Nimes substitute Rachid Alioui. He might have been unable to inspire his side to a point at home against Lille, but that they got the score back to 3-2 owed much to his contribution from the bench.
With his side 3-0 down, he pounced on a mistake 25 yards out to launch a brilliant curling shot over visiting goalkeeper Mike Maignan and into the net, providing the catalyst for a dramatic conclusion to the game.
Fellow replacement Clement Depres was also on target for Bernard Blaquart’s side as they tried to come back from the dead, while his score of 94.3 would have been even better had he not struck the bar in stoppage time with an effort that would have squared the game.
Reduced to 10 men with quarter of an hour played, Lille were forced to play on the counterattack for much of that encounter, but that played into the hands of their star wide attackers Jonathan Bamba and Nicolas Pepe, who highlighted their quality by both forcing their way into the top 10 of the Peformance Index.
Pepe’s goal might have been the better of the two as he fired into the corner after a brilliant solo raid, but he came up just short of his team-mate in terms of his score for the week.
Rafael Leao, who was sacrificed early due to the red card, also snuck into the top 10 and can regret not being given more game time.
Saint-Etienne’s Lois Diony also finds himself among the elite this week, having caught the eye with a finish from a tight angle against Nice to end the home side’s run of more than 10 Ligue 1 hours without conceding a goal.
Ligue 1 finishes up for Christmas after a packed schedule of matches on Saturday, including Montpellier’s hosting of Lyon in what promises to be an important clash for the Champions League spots.