Ibrahimovic is the name on everybody's lips in Ligue 1
With Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic spectacularly leading the way in Ligue 1 for goals this season, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he is the only striker in the French top flight.
Domestic French football has enjoyed an upturn in goals scored over recent seasons and the reason for that, in part, has been a glut of talented strikers coming through the league.
This season has been no exception and currently Ligue 1 boasts some of Europe’s most talented goal-getter's, but many of them are adept at creating the goals for their team as well as scoring them.
Take a look at some of France’s best or far this season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been in inspired form since joining PSG. If he is not leading the team by himself then he is bringing others into play and laying them on.
In six months in France he has had a sensational impact. Already chasing Josip Skoblar’s record 44 goals in a Ligue 1 season set in 1971, the Swede is head and shoulders above his rivals.
The 18 goals and three assists in 16 appearances from the 31-year old is a phenomenal return, even by Lionel Messi standards. Those goals make up 50 percent of PSG’s entire season total. His Champions League form hasn't been too shabby either.
Unknown before the start of the season, Dario Cvitanich arrived for a nominal fee and now looks an absolute bargain for boss Claude Puel. Although the Argentine didn’t score until Week 7, his first goal opened the floodgates, and he has been inspired since.
A nomadic striker after an unsuccessful spell with Ajax, the 28-year-old has found a home with Puel’s vibrant young side. Perennial strugglers, Nice has lacked a menacing presence up top since Loic Remy left for Marseille.
His 10 goals and one assist in 16 appearances is an impressive tally so far this season. It becomes more impressive when you remember that he didn’t score for seven weeks. Make that nine goals in 10 games. Those strikes make up 38 percent of Nice’s total goals this season.
Saint-Etienne’s Gabonese winger-turned-striker enjoyed a prolific campaign last season when he bagged 16 league goals. He is enjoying another rich vein of form this time around.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is currently consolidating his position as one of Ligue 1’s most feared front men, proving that last season’s tally wasn’t a one-off. He is enhancing his reputation as a provider as well as a poacher.
Eight goals and four assists from eighteen matches is a good return, especially when you consider les Verts’ recent lean spell. He’s a big presence for his team, contributing 33 percent of their overall goals so far.
Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis has been reinvented this season under Remi Garde’s tutelage. Never having scored more than 16 times in a single Ligue 1 season, the French international is only five goals short of that target already.
The 27-year old came close to leaving the club last summer, but OL will be glad that he stayed put. Jean-Michel Aulas is reportedly tempted to cash in on his star man. But with 11 goals and two assists from 19 appearances to his name so far, selling the player responsible for 33 percent of your team’s goals in the current campaign hardly seems shrewd business.
2012 started badly for Andre-Pierre Gignac, he was out of favour at club and international level and badly lacking fitness and focus. A change in management at Marseille and the loss of Loic Remy to injury paved the way for Gignac to emerge as Elie Baup’s saviour.
Whilst there is no chance of an international recall anytime soon given former coach Didier Deschamps’ presence on les Bleus’ bench, widespread recognition in Ligue 1 appears to be in order for a man who has rediscovered his best form.
Six goals from 12 appearances in an injury-hit campaign so far makes him one of the league’s best strikers statistically. He may only account for 12.25 percent of OM’s goals, but given that he was absent for the best part of two months, it is understandable.
Out of favour and out of form at Bordeaux under Francis Gillot, Anthony Modeste was shipped off to Premier League side Blackburn Rovers last season in an effort to find some game time. Another loan followed, this time to Bastia where Modeste is now thriving for the Corsicans.
Yet to fulfil his vast potential from his Nice days, the 24-year-old is still waiting for a real chance to prove that he can lead the line for parent club Bordeaux, who currently rely on winger-turned-striker Yoan Gouffran for goals.
Nine strikes and an assist in his first 18 appearances, 35 percent of Bastia’s top-flight total, suggest that Modeste is coming of age.
Toulouse’s Wissam Ben Yedder was largely unheralded before this season, mostly because he had only made 10 substitute appearances, scoring a single goal, the season before. This season though, the 22-year-old has put supposed first-choice striker Emmanuel Riviere in the shade and become TFC’s main goal threat.
The former futsal-playing Franco-Tunisian has bagged nine goals and an assist in 18 appearances, 36 percent of Alain Casanova’s side’s goals so far in what has been a breakout year.
The injury-hit former Arsenal striker is now enjoying some good fortune. In-shape and in-form, the talented striker is making up for lost time.
Demonstrating his ability to play as a provider as well as a finisher, Aliadiere’s goals have been vital for Lorient this season.
Particularly impressive were his strikes against top trio PSG, Lyon and Marseille with another special goal away to Saint-Etienne.
Seven goals and six assists in 17 appearances mark the 29-year-old’s best career start to a season. Those goals account for 22 percent of les Merlus’ total haul so far.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Gameiro may not get the amount of starting time that he’d like at PSG, but that hasn’t stopped him making a big impact from the bench.
Three goals in his three starts and two from the bench in 12 overall appearances indicate a player who has embraced the challenge laid down to him by coach Carlo Ancelotti to prove his goal scoring credentials.
The 25-year-old is PSG’s second-highest scorer this season and considering that he has contributed 14 percent of the team’s tally from the bench, just imagine what he could do in 90 minutes.
An off-season by the Argentine’s high standards but Lisandro Lopez is still contributing well for OL. He is bagging almost a goal every two games, he is providing them too.
However, he has been put in the shade slightly by teammate Bafetimbi Gomis’ hot form and will need to improve his tally in the second half of the season.
If Gomis goes, then Lopez will need to quickly better six goals and an assist from 14 appearances. The Argentine accounts for 18 percent of les Gones’ goals, and added to Gomis’ 33 percent, they have 41 percent between them.
They still collectively fall a goal short of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s incredible halfway tally, though.