Paris Saint-Germain’s age of Ligue 1 dominance is finally beginning to show signs of waving after Monaco proved their title credentials with a deserved 1-1 draw in the French capital on Sunday.
For nearly half a decade the capital club have swept all before them in Ligue 1, but times are changing. After 22 matches, PSG are the only team from the current top five in Ligue 1 to have failed to occupy the summit after a matchday this season.
And a young, dynamic Monaco side have now taken control of the title race, this draw leaving them top of the pile. Monaco took a proactive approach as coach Leonardo Jardim sent out his side with two up front, and demanded the whole team press relentlessly.
His side went toe-to-toe with PSG from the outset, in a match that saw Blaise Matuidi’s Nike Magista Obra II go up against Bernardo Silva’s adidas X 16.1.
And it was Silva who came out on top, helping to ensure the adidas X remains just 0.1 points behind the Nike Mercurial in the INTERSPORT Football Boot Ranking that covers Europe’s top leagues
Moreover, he kept the adidas X top of the pile in the Ligue 1-specific rankings, a full four places above Matuidi’s Magista.
The INTERSPORT Football Boot Ranking has been created to empower football fans to choose the best available boot for their needs.
Both Matuidi and Silva had major roles to play in a tightly-contested battle that was fought mostly in the midfield areas.
Monaco squeezed the play and started the better side. Silva has been Ligue 1's outstanding performer this season, but as the game wore on and PSG began to go more direct to bypass the Monaco press, he found himself increasingly on the periphery.
Matuidi’s industry and indefatigable running came to the fore, and twice he linked with colleagues to fashion opportunities for Julian Draxler. The PSG man played 30% more passes than Silva and had a superior pass-completion rate. He also won 50% of his duels in the midfield battle.
But it was Silva who shone, digging in to join the battle, flying into 23 duels over the course of 90 minutes. He was kept relatively quiet for the first 45 minutes but fired an instant warning after the break as his fabulous ball nearly led to Falcao giving Monaco the lead.
Monaco had been awarded two penalties in the last two meetings between the sides, but this time the game turned as PSG were awarded a spot-kick with ten minutes remaining.
Edinson Cavani had hit four of PSG's last five goals against Monaco in Ligue 1, and converted to leave PSG on course for their first home victory over the Principality club since February 2007.
As the match ticked into stoppage time, Monaco were looking at their first defeat in their last six league games away from home, but then came Silva. He had been involved in four of Monaco’s last seven goals in Ligue 1 (3 goals, 1 assist) and his last four goals arrived on the road.
Picking up the ball on the right, Cavani was caught napping and Silva galloped away from the Uruguayan before flashing a low drive past Alphonse Areola.
Silva's continued excellence has helped the adidas X dominate Ligue 1 this season.
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