On a weekend of specular offensive performances in Ligue 1, there was none more so than that of Kylian Mbappe, who scored an incredible four times as Paris Saint-Germain further exerted their dominance at the summit of the standings by thumping Lyon 5-0.
In the midweek victory over Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League, it had been Neymar who stole the show, yet after the Brazilian’s early penalty gave PSG the edge over OL at Parc des Princes, there can be little disputing Mbappe’s status as their star turn at the weekend.
By running riot after the 60th minute in the capital on Sunday night, he finished top of the Ligue 1 Opta Index, which measures the performance of every player in the division. Indeed, Mbappe managed a near-perfect match, scoring 99.9 on the chart to lead the league for the weekend.
The World Cup winner scored four times in just 13 minutes – an achievement unparalleled in France in 45 years – the first quadruple of his career.
But head coach Thomas Tuchel was keen to stress that the teenager’s overall performance was what really impressed him.
“He was ready to work hard for the team and to sacrifice himself defensively,” he said. “He was rewarded with four goals, and though he had five or six chances to score, I’m really satisfied. He was magnificent. With Neymar, he will always be dangerous.”
Following hot on the heels of Mbappe is another promising young forward in the form of Jonathan Bamba. He moved to Lille from Saint-Etienne in the summer on a Bosman deal and put his former club to the sword on Friday, scoring a double in a 3-1 victory.
Bamba had a familiar partner in crime hitting the heights alongside him, with Nicolas Pepe also edging into the top 10 of the Index in eight place, scoring 91.2 – some way distant of his colleague’s outstanding score of 99.5.
Indeed, it was a fine weekend all round for attackers, with the top spots monopolised by forwards.
Rounding out the podium is Strasbourg striker Lebo Mothiba, who showed lethal efficiency in the first half of Strasbourg’s trip to Angers on Saturday. It took the South African only a couple of minutes to find the target, and though his side were broadly outplayed, he would do so again before the first half was up.
However, his efforts were not enough to secure maximum points as Angers, led by Pierrick Capelle, who placed ninth in the ranking this week, fought back to draw 2-2.
Florian Thauvin, meanwhile, was on target once again for Marseille as they overcame Caen at Stade Velodrome, while Hatem Ben Arfa’s goal helped Rennes to a 2-1 victory over Monaco. It was the ex-PSG player’s first Ligue 1 strike in two-and-a-half years and helped him to fifth on the weekly standing.
Nice forward Bassem Srarfi took advantage of Mario Balotelli’s absence to find the net and propel himself to seventh in the standings, although he could only help his side to a 1-1 draw against Toulouse.
The second break of the season looms, and while it marks an opportunity for respite for some, Mbappe will be aiming to carry his fine league form onto the international stage before the league campaign resumes in a fortnight.