Rachid Alioui: Comeback King - The Ligue 1 Performance Index

The Moroccan forward turned in a star performance on a weekend that also saw Neymar, Max-Alain Gradel and Loic Remy hit the headlines

Rachid Alioui is a player who has had a difficult start to the 2018-19 season but was Ligue 1’s outstanding player of matchday 15, as judged by the Opta Performance Index, which rates every player in the league with a score out of 100.

The Nimes striker suffered a serious injury on the final day of the previous campaign when Nimes should have been celebrating promotion to the top flight and as such was laid up until the very end of September.

Since then, the 26-year-old has flitted off the bench on numerous occasions, though never to such great effect as he mustered on Saturday, when he helped his side to a 3-0 victory over Amiens

Nimes already led thanks to a Denis Bouanga strike when he was brought on with 27 minutes left – the longest cameo of his return – but he sealed the win by scoring twice in the closing stages of the match.

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He mustered a score of 97.6 on the Index, comfortably better than any other performer in the league.

Another man who has had 2018 hurt by injuries is Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, and there was doubt as to whether he would even turn out at the weekend against Bordeaux

But just as he had defied the medics to feature prominently in the Parisians stunning midweek Champions League win over Liverpool, he was on top form again, squeezing home the opening goal in a 2-2 draw before eventually being forced to succumb to his body.

Andreas Cornelius was the man to prevent PSG starting the season with a perfect 15 wins out of 15, arriving off the bench to score a brilliant glancing header to steal a point for the home side with just seven minutes remaining. He finished fifth on the Index this week.

Ahead of him were a couple of players who featured in the thrilling 2-2 draw between Toulouse and Dijon in the Pink City.

Naim Sliti played a critical role in helping Dijon into a two-goal advantage, notably assisting Mehdi Abeid’s second, yet the visitors fell away in the closing stages against opponents who had been reduced to 10 men as early as the fifth minute.

TFC’s return was signalled by a brilliant overhead kick from Max Gradel, who reprised the terrific form he showed at the start of the season to inspire his side to a precious point.

The former Leeds and Bournemouth man finished third in the ranking this week, just ahead of Sliti.

Saint-Etienne’s thumping 3-0 Saturday win over Nantes was inspired by the arrival of Robert Beric off the bench in the second half. The Slovenia striker opened the scoring for Sainte with 18 minutes remaining, which was the trigger for a landslide victory in which Wahbi Khazri continued his excellent scoring form.

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It is, therefore, little surprise to find the two players ranked sixth and eighth respectively.

Coming in between those two Saint-Etienne stars is Loic Remy, who has had a difficult start to life in Lille. Indeed, he had not scored before a brilliant finish during Friday’s devilishly exciting 2-2 draw with Lyon.

That effort, he will hope, can kick start his time with LOSC.

Moussa Dembele, meanwhile, has not had it easy since swapping Celtic for Lyon in the summer, but he grabbed a late equaliser that helped him to ninth on the Performance Index.

Rounding out the top 10 is Adrien Thomasson, whose influential display in a 4-1 win for Strasbourg over Rennes helped to see the end of home coach Sabri Lamouchi, who was suspended in the aftermath. 

There is little time to rest for Ligue 1’s top stars, however, as a hectic week continues with Matchday 16 on Tuesday and Wednesday before another round of games over the weekend.