Paris Saint-Germain were given their greatest test yet this campaign but came through to claim a 12th successive Ligue 1 victory to set a new record for a winning streak at the beginning of one of the ‘Big five' European league seasons.
Neymar hit the winner in their 2-1 victory over Lille, and the Brazilian’s decisive contribution has pushed him to the top of the Opta Performance Index, which measures how well each player performed on a weekly basis out of 100.
No one in the division could top the 26-year-old’s tally of 96.3, which also included an assist for partner in crime Kylian Mbappe, whose terrific run of scoring form continued with a brilliant curling opener just as it seemed that PSG’s streak might stall.
Although Mbappe has outscored his team-mate 11 to nine in the league this season, it was Neymar who shone brightest in the City of Lights on Friday as Thomas Tuchel’s side maintained their remarkable start to the season. Mbappe, meanwhile, was PSG’s next best player and squeezed into the Top 10 with a very commendable score of 90.2.
Second in the ranking this week is Nimes winger Denis Bouanga, who played an inspirational role as his side picked up their first victory since the second week of the season. The wide man opened the scoring early on, pouncing on an error from Runar Runarsson, while he added the third in a resounding 4-0 win that will do Bernard Blaquart’s side a great deal of good.
Lyon, meanwhile, had a frustrating weekend as they were held 1-1 by Bordeaux on Saturday in a match in which they struggled to really get going. That was in spite of a goalscoring display from Houssem Aouar, whose all-round contribution means that he picked up a score of 94.1.
His highlight was undoubtedly a measured volley from a Nabil Fekir cross that gave his side the advantage in that clash.
Flavien Tait, who was the fourth-best performing player, was on the losing side for Angers in an attacking fest away to Saint-Etienne in a match that finished 4-3 to the hosts. The winger has performed to a high standard throughout this campaign and grabbed both a goal and an assist on Sunday.
It was his pass to set up Stephane Bahoken 19 minutes from time that was especially eye catching, but while it put Angers 3-2 up, it was not enough to get them over the line with the points.
Romain Hamouma proved the match winner for Sainte. The substitute returned from injury with a bang, sending a deflected shot into the goal in the penultimate minute to secure a dramatic win for his side and push him into the Top 10 of the ranking this week.
Montpellier have been the surprise package in France so far this season, with their 3-0 win over Marseille sending them to second in the league. Gaetan Laborde was one of the great architects of that success by scoring two fine finishes early in the second half – the first a precise header, the second an accurate shot – and that has put him fifth on the ranking.
After a week of European action, it’s back to league duty next weekend, with PSG’s trip to Thierry Henry’s Monaco the undoubted highlight.