The Ligue 1 season is in the middle of its winter break currently, with fixtures resuming on January 12th. As it stands, Paris Saint-Germain are strolling with ease towards the title, after their disappointment from last season when Monaco topped the table. Whilst the title race may effectively already be over, the race for Europe is very much in full swing and the league is the tightest it’s been in years – the gap between relegation threatened Angers, and European hopefuls Nice is only six points!
Behind every team will be standout players, who try their best every week to fire their sides up the league table. But who are they, and who do they play for? Find out below!
PSG’s Uruguayan hitman is terrorising Ligue 1 defence again this season. Cavani has tucked away 19 goals before the winter break, and his ruthless form inside the penalty area doesn’t look like being brought to an end anytime soon. Recent goals in the 4-1 victory over Rennes, and the 3-1 win against Caen helped increase the gap between Monaco and the Parisians.
Many more goals are expected from Cavani in 2018, that’s for sure.
Despite effectively starting a riot in the comprehensive away win at St Etienne, Fekir is proving himself in Ligue 1 for all the right reasons.
The talented Frenchman has helped fire Lyon into third place at the winter break, level on points with last season’s champions Monaco and with the same amount of goals scored. He has helped forge a lethal front line with the likes of Depay, Cornet and Mariano and Bruno Genesio’s team will be the neutral’s favourites to claim the second automatic Champions League spot.
Of course the Brazilian wonder kid has to make the list. His big, big money move to PSG is guaranteed to be investigated by UEFA after its shady undertones were revealed, but Neymar has shrugged off the controversy and got on with what he does best – creating moments of magic.
The world’s most expensive player has scored 11 goals so far this season, and notched up 9 assists. PSG’s free-scoring forwards most likely owe Neymar several drinks over the holiday period after some of the Brazilian’s stylish assists.
The club’s owners brought in the former-Barcelona man to win the Champions League, and whether that is the case remains to be seen. But there can be no denying Neymar’s crucial role in securing another title for his new side in Ligue 1.
The former Manchester City striker has settled into French life very well it seems.
The Italian has scored 10 goals for a Nice team who has risen into sixth before the winter break. Of course, he still can’t escape controversy. When Nice surrendered a two goal lead against Marseille, Balotelli didn’t shy away from telling his team mates his true feelings during the half-time interval.
A red card after his goal against Dijon also showed the darker, more unpredictable side to Super Mario’s personality, but Balotelli is now earning headlines for all the right reasons.
The Dutchman may have rightly feared for his future after his oust from Manchester United, but since his transfer to Lyon things have been on the up.
With eight goals and three assists to his name, Memphis has been a key part in Lyon’s spectacular rise into Champions League qualifying contention. The battle for second spot seems likely to go down to the wire, and Depay’s increasing maturity this season may well give his team an invaluable edge.
Bordeaux’s Brazilian talent has caught the eye of various elite European teams, with the potential for a winter move to the likes of Manchester United.
Malcom was firmly thrust into the spotlight after his scorching solo effort against Dijon. The former Corinthians playmaker feinted just inside the opposition’s half, before surging forward and letting fly into the top corner. Although Bordeaux went on to lose the game, the Brazilian announced a tiny portion of his talents to the world.
Mariano – Lyon (13 goals)
Khazri – Rennes (6 goals)
Thauvin – Marseille (8 goals, 8 assists)
Lopes – Lyon (8 clean sheets)