Four weeks into the Ligue 1 season, and there is a familiar face at the top of the table. Paris Saint-Germain are leading the way with a perfect 12 points, with a thrilling 4-2 win over Nimes on Saturday maintaining Thomas Tuchel’s 100 per cent record in charge of the capital side.
But in that spectacular match, it was a Nimes player who came out, not only on top of the Opta ranking for that encounter, but for Ligue 1 as a whole.
Antonin Bobichon was introduced at half-time with his side trailing 2-0 and inspired a thrilling comeback thanks to a superb goal. On the edge of the box, he planted a shot into the top corner of Alphonse Areola’s net; it was a goal from nowhere.
This was the catalyst to Nimes rallying to 2-2 – and with a little more luck they might even have taken the lead as Sofiane Alakouch hit the bar.
At the other end of the park, though, PSG’s attacking players hit the headlines, with three of them pushing into the top 10 of this week’s ranking.
Neymar got the opening goal with a sliding finish and was ranked 10th this week with a score of 86.8, while Angel Di Maria was once again in slick form, scoring direct from a corner to help him to a rating of 87.6.
Mbappe was the star of the show for the capital side once again, however. He might have been sent off in the closing stages of the match, but his overall display was eye-catching as he grabbed what proved to be the winning goal in what was another impressive show of strength by the teenager. The strike – his fourth of the season – saw him show feathery control but a fierce finish.
His score of 90.8 was not enough to break into the top three, however.
Remarkably, there were two players tied for second this week, with Guingamp’s Nicolas Benezet marginally edging out Nantes midfielder Lucas Evangelista, whose fizzing strike at the weekend helped his side to a 3-2 victory over Strasbourg.
Benezet did not have such luck. He might have set up a goal for Marcus Thuram, who finished sixth on our list, but his side remain pointless after a month of play – and that despite playing opponents who played an hour with 10 men.
Also breaking the top 10 this week was Rennes midfielder Clement Grenier, who delivered an assist in the early stage of his side’s win over Bordeaux. His delivery from a corner was brilliantly attacked by Benjamin Andre to open the scoring, and thereafter he set the tone of the 2-0 victory.
Two other goalscoring substitutes also make an appearance. Claudio Beauvue is back in Ligue 1 with Caen, and he marked his return with a cool late finish to help the Normandy side to a 2-0 win over previously perfect Dijon.
His introduction might have been dramatic, but not as much so as that of Valere Germain, whose late near-post header helped Marseille to a 3-2 win over Monaco. He was only on the field a matter of seconds before getting what proved to be the decisive goal against his former team.
Ligue 1, therefore, goes into its first international break with no shortage of drama already. Below PSG, there has been tremendous unpredictability, and already a sense that anything could unfold over these next nine months.