'Baba Neymar' in dream professional debut - The Ligue 1 Performance Index

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The Dijon starlet capped his first ever appearance in senior football with an assist and a brace - and then set his sights on bettering the Brazilian

There can be little doubt who the star of the Ligue 1 weekend was. Jules Keita came off Dijon’s bench with 26 minutes left of their away fixture against Nice with the score still blank, yet walked off after making his professional debut having played a major role in his side’s stunning 4-0 success.

Admittedly, the 20-year-old, who did not even have a club last season after being released by Bastia’s reserves 12 months earlier, did not have a hand in the opening goal, but as Nice capitulated, he came to the fore. First, he set up Oussama Haddadi’s strike, then in the closing minutes he registered twice himself.

After the game, he made a bold statement: “Neymar’s my idol and back in Guinea they call me ‘Baba Neymar’. I can be stronger than him.”

In this week’s Opta ranking, his score of 98.9 makes him the league’s outstanding player, with everyone else, including Neymar, in his wake.

L1 Performance Index 28082018

The Paris Saint-Germain star was not far behind, though, sneaking into the top five after his best display of the season yet as the champions registered a 3-1 victory over Amiens. The Brazil ace was bettered marginally by team-mate Adrien Rabiot, whose score of 93.3 eclipsed the 92.8 achieved by his colleague.

Neither was quite good enough to make the podium this week, though. Edging them out were Amiens’ Moussa Konate, who continued his bright start to the season by bagging a double in a 4-1 win over Reims, and Lille’s Jonathan Bamba, a player who continues to look one of the outstanding signings of the summer.

Bamba registered twice for LOSC as they defeated Guingamp 3-0 at home, moving into third in the league in the process. Signed on a Bosman deal from Saint-Etienne over the summer, his lightning pace promises to be a huge asset to his team, who are already reaping the dividends of his quality.

Although his partner in crime on Lille’s wings, Nicolas Pepe, has narrowly missed out on the top 10 this week, club-mate Xeka has powered into the elite group. He opened the scoring with a clever finish.

Neymar PSG Ligue 1 2018

Another man to show a cool head in front of goal at the weekend was Bertrand Traore, who has started the season in tremendous form. His confidence showed as he completed a brilliant Lyon counterattack in their 3-0 win over Strasbourg, fooling two players on the line before stroking the ball home.

Meanwhile, Amiens’ big win allowed defensive midfielder Eddy Gnahore to show his qualities, which were judged with a score of 90 on the Opta Index. Reims’ Mathieu Cafaro also made it into the Top 10 after finding the net, despite being on the losing side.

Closing out the list this week is Monaco striker Pietro Pellegri, who has not had the opportunity to shine that he might have wished since joining the club in January. Injures have been primarily to blame for that, but after he came off the bench to score against Bordeaux in a 2-1 defeat at the weekend, Leonardo Jardim will not be able to overlook him much longer.

Certainly, he will be pushing to start next week when Monaco tackle Marseille in the standout game of the weekend, while Neymar will be aiming to show that he really is the one and only when PSG go to Nimes on Saturday.

Player Team Versus Position Score
Jules Keita Dijon Nice Forward 98.9
Moussa Konate Amiens Reims Centre-Forward 98.4
Jonathan Bamba Lille Guingamp Wide Midfield 96.7
Adrien Rabiot PSG Angers Centre Midfield 93.3
Neymar PSG Angers Wide Midfield 92.8
Mathieu Cafaro Reims Amiens Midfield 92.8
Xeca Lille Guingamp Defensive-Midfield 91.6
Bertrand Traore Lyon Strasbourg Wide Forward 91.0
Eddy Gnahore Amiens Reims Defensive-Midfield 91.0
Pietro Pellegri Monaco Bordeaux Centre-Forward 87.8

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