Paris Saint-Germain extended their lead atop Ligue 1 at the weekend with a crushing 3-0 victory over Nice at the Allianz Riviera. And though Kylian Mbappe made his return to the starting XI after a three-match ban, it was the world’s most expensive player, Neymar, who was their leading light in the clash.
Indeed, the Brazil international was so impressive over the course of the game, he recorded the highest score of the entire weekend on the Opta Index, which measures the performance of every player in the league.
Neymar was virtually perfect, chalking up a score of 99.3 as he scored the opening goal, finding the net after being set up by exciting teenager Moussa Diaby. In stoppage time, he added a third goal for his side, this time teed up by Mbappe.
Having played seven times in Ligue 1 this season, he has scored seven times, striking once every 88 minutes.
Another man who has been finding the net regularly is Saint-Etienne attacker Wahbi Khazri, who led Les Verts to a 2-0 victory over Monaco. The former Sunderland man struck either side of half-time, his third and fourth of the season in the league, to consign the visitors to another defeat. Despite this strong showing, he came up just short of Neymar, with a score of 98.9.
Meanwhile, Nicolas Benezet struck perhaps Guingamp’s most important goal of the season to complete the podium places. The Breton side had lost their first six Ligue 1 games of the campaign before securing a 0-0 midweek draw with Nimes. However, they got properly off and running against Angers at the weekend, with Benezet pouncing on a goalkeeping error to give them a 1-0 victory.
The top of the Index is dominated by goal scorers, with Gabriel Boschilia winning fourth place after netting for the first time in 20 months. On loan at Nantes from Monaco, the attacking midfielder has been beset by injury problems, but is seeking to rediscover his form at Stade de la Beaujoire. He took steps in that regard by striking against Lyon, earning his side a valuable 1-1 draw.
Houssem Aouar had earlier opened the scoring in that game, showing a cool head in the box to steer a shot into the net after smart play from Moussa Dembele. It wasn’t enough to earn his side the three points that they craved, though.
It was a rather more successful night for Strasbourg, who routed Dijon 3-0 at home. Jonas Martin was Racing’s star man in that game and capped their night off when he dribbled past a couple of opponents before converting his side’s final goal. He rounds out the top five on the Index, with a score of 90.5.
Not too far behind him was striker Nuno da Costa, a player who has grown in importance for the Alsace side thanks to his physical presence in attack, which is such a handful for opposing defenders. He was also on target for Thierry Laurey’s side.
In eighth place is Montpellier’s Florent Mollet, who nearly scored one of the goals of the season when he thumped a free-kick from 40 yards against the face of the bar in their derby clash with Nimes. He might not have gotten his name on the scoresheet, but he was instrumental in the 3-0 win, getting an assist for Gaetan Laborde.
In contrast to the rest of the standings, in which there are a raft of goal scorers, in ninth and 10th are two men who were busy stopping them. Goalkeepers Stephane Ruffier and Ciprian Tatarusanu performed heroics for Saint-Etienne and Nantes respectively, and accordingly are deserving of their place on the ranking.
Before the weekend, there are a raft of thrilling fixtures to come, with second-place Lille hosting fourth-placed Saint-Etienne. However, the undoubted highlight comes on Sunday, when PSG tackle Lyon, with Neymar aiming to replicate the form that took him to the top of the standings this week.