There could be little doubt about the most eye-catching 45 minutes in Ligue 1 this week. Marseille might have disappointed in the first half of their clash against Guingamp, but their response in the second period was superb and they ended up running out 4-0 winners, with all the goals arriving in the second half.
It was World Cup winner Florian Thauvin who was the inspiration behind the victory. He headed the opening goal cleverly and then added the third in stunning style. As OM broke swiftly, he pulled down a long diagonal pass from Kevin Strootman perfectly, beat a defender then curled a fine shot into the corner of the net. It was a goal worthy of any stage and typifies what the winger has been bringing to Marseille consistently for over a year now.
Such was the quality of Thauvin’s display, it is little wonder that he led the Opta Index, which measures the performance of all the players in Ligue 1, for the weekend, scoring a massive 97.3.
Not far behind him was team-mate Dimitri Payet, who might not have had quite the telling contribution of his colleague but certainly turned in a fine display. Indeed, the former West Ham star might just have pipped Thauvin for goal of the game, having sent a stunning side-foot volley into the net from a testing angle. At that point, Marseille led only 1-0 and the game was still very much live. Payet, though, killed it off with his brilliance.
Tied with Payet on a score of 96.8 for the weekend was Bordeaux attacker Samuel Kalu, who got his first goal for his new club. It was a pretty special effort, too, as he gathered the ball a good distance from goal before his direct run ended with a smart shot in off the post from the edge of the area.
Bordeaux’s 3-3 draw was Nimes was a game full of spectacular attacking play, as reflected by the presence of Jimmy Briand in the top 10, as well as the visiting side’s Umut Bozok.
Rounding out the top five is centre forward Stephane Bahoken, who netted for Angers in a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Dijon. He finished just ahead of team-mate Flavien Tait, whose overall contribution was also impressive.
Nicolas Pepe, meanwhile, might have scored a hat-trick for Lille in a 3-2 win over Amiens, but it was sufficient only to take seventh on the ranking this week, albeit two of the winger’s goals came from the penalty spot. Amines’ Rafal Kurzawa got one back after coming off the bench and playing a one-two with debutant Ganso, and he sneaks into the top 10 in ninth.
It is Paris Saint-Germain, however, who continue to set the standard. Although they were without a player at the sharp end of the ranking, they did have Julian Draxler prove his worth in coming eighth. Often used as a substitute, the attacking midfielder scored a brilliant goal in a thumping 4-0 win over Saint-Etienne on Friday, which sets Thomas Tuchel’s side up nicely for a European date with Liverpool.
After a thrilling weekend of attacking football, more may be in store next weekend, when the highlights include PSG’s trip to Rennes and Lyon’s meeting with Marseille.