Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe was named Ligue 1’s Player of the Season in a gala in the French capital on Sunday, and the forward leads the Opta Ligue 1 Team of the Season with an average score of 94.4 over the course of the season.
The 32-goal attacker has enjoyed a stellar campaign, with his dizzying tally nine marks better than anyone else in the entire league.
Opta calculate the performance of each player in every match over the course of the season and give them a mark out of 100 based on their statistical performance. To get the elite unit of the campaign, the average score from every player’s performance is collated and the best performer from each position selected.
It is no surprise given the barrage of goals he has scored that Mbappe comes out on top, with his score a measure of just how consistently excellent he has been over the season.
The league’s other best performers also come in the attacking areas, and it is no surprise the identity of this pair.
First comes Mbappe’s PSG team-mate, Neymar, who netted 15 times this term, despite a recurrence of a foot injury keeping him out for a succession of key matches in the spring.
Lille sensation Nicolas Pepe comes next. Having built on a successful conclusion to the 2017-18 season, the Ivory Coast winger has established himself as one of Europe’s hottest properties and is set to be on the move to a big club for a large fee over the coming weeks. He has 22 goals to his name and a further 11 assists – better figures than Eden Hazard ever achieved while playing for Les Dogues.
There is PSG dominance in the midfield, too. Marco Verratti has enjoyed another strong season with the Parc des Princes club, who also have Germany international Julian Draxler representing them in the heart of the midfield.
Marseille’s sole addition to the XI also sneaks into this area, with Maxime Lopez’s shrewd use of possession earning him recognition.
PSG centre-backs Thiago Silva and Marquinhos form the heart of the defensive line, which is fitting as the Brazilian duo have once again enjoyed an excellent season, though it was Lille who finished the campaign with the league’s best defensive record.
Either side of this pair are Lyon stars. On the left is Ferland Mendy, whose strong offensive performances at the start of the season caught the eye, notably in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Leo Dubois had a very strong debut campaign in the Rhone Valley after signing on a free transfer from Nantes last summer. He has grown stronger as the season has wore on.
Finally, in goal is Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez, fittingly known as ‘The Wall’. He had to fight for a starting spot under Patrick Vieira but once installed in the XI was simply immense. Indeed, he has been tipped for international recognition with Argentina, so strong his performances have been.
PSG’s dominance of Ligue 1 this season has been reflected by their strong presence in this squad, though the inclusion of clusters from other clubs show there is more to the league than simply the capital outfit.
The chasing pack, however, will expect to have more of a say in the title race next season and more of an influence in this squad come 12 months’ time.