Ligue 1 Team of the Week

Jonathan JohnsonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2013

Ligue 1 Team of the Week

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    Paris Saint-Germain re-took top spot in Ligue 1 having been temporarily dislodged by Lyon. However, it was not a convincing win over Bordeaux, and it was arguably Lyon's surprising home draw with Evian and not PSG's win that returned them to the summit on goal difference.

    Midweek Coupe de la Ligue heroes Saint-Etienne and Rennes enjoyed wins, but the most eye-catching result of the weekend has to be Nice's victory at 2011 champions Lille. Perennial relegation battlers, les Aiglons have been transformed under Claude Puel and les Dogues' former coach came back to haunt them with a 2-0 win.

    Toulouse moved back into the top half of the table with an important win over rock-bottom Nancy, and Lorient continued their fine form with a win over fellow strugglers Troyes.

    Meanwhile Sochaux threw themselves a lifeline in the fight to avoid the drop with a 1-0 win over Reims, a result which sees the Champagne outfit drop into the bottom three.

Salvatore Sirigu

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    Run close once again by Yohann Thuram-Ulien, Salvatore Sirigu continues to keep the goals out for PSG. The 13 clean sheets boasted by Carlo Ancelotti's side is a European record, and the Italian keeper has been a huge part of that achievement.

    Sirigu denied Ludovic Obraniak moments before Zlatan Ibrahimovic's solitary goal and continues to provide the defence with a reassuring presence between the sticks despite some shaky organisation at times.

Cedric Cambon

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    Although primarily a midfielder, Cambon deputised brilliantly in central defence for Evian in the absence of the suspended Aldo Angoula as well as Cedric Mongongu and Jonathan Mensah, both currently on Africa Cup of Nations duty.

    Forming a brilliant makeshift defensive unit with Tunisian Iheb Mbarki, the pair kept league leaders Lyon at bay at the Stade Gerland.

    That result was Evian's fourth clean sheet of the season, but more importantly the point moves Pascal Dupraz's side out of the bottom three.

Iheb Mbarki

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    It would be unfair to single out Cambon for praise without giving Iheb Mbarki the same credit. The 20-year-old performed with remarkable maturity to keep out Remi Garde's side.

    Between them, Cambon and Mbarki only allowed one shot to test Danish goalkeeper Stephan Andersen.

    Evian need more of the same from Mbarki once Angoula returns in order for the club to climb the table. 

Renato Civelli

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    An important part of Nice's renaissance under Claude Puel, Renato Civelli not only contributes well at the back but also going forward.

    He is Ligue 1's joint-top scoring defender with three goals so far.

    Les Aiglons kept an impressive clean sheet at floundering Lille on Puel's return to his former club, but it was the Argentine's opening goal that arguably did the damage before Neal Maupay's late second.

    That is two clean sheets and two goals from two games for Civelli who also netted in Nice's 5-0 demolition of Valenciennes last week. If Puel's team had started the season in November, they'd be top of Ligue 1 having claimed 26 points from 11 games.

Christophe Jallet

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    Reinstated as captain in the absence of Thiago Silva, Christophe Jallet put in a strong performance as they took three points from Bordeaux's Stade Chaban-Delmas, ending Ligue 1's last unbeaten home record in the process.

    Once he got to grips with flying left-back Benoit Tremoulinas, Jallet's contribution was much-improved from recent weeks.

Franck Tabanou

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    Toulouse's left-footed wizard has drifted in and out of form so far this season but he produced his best display of the season to help le Tefece past Reims with a well-taken double at the weekend.

    Two good goals, particularly his powerful finish for the second, helped move Alain Casanova's side back into the top half of the table for the first time since early December.

    Tabanou has been guilty of underperforming at times this season, but this performance showed what he is capable of when in the mood.

Julien Feret

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    Although he didn't score against Bastia in Corsica, Feret was instrumental in both goals as Rennes kept up the pressure on high-flying Nice.

    After laying on Romain Alessandrini for the visitors' first, it was the midfielder's interception that led to the goal for Mevlut Erding.

    Eight goals and two assists so far for Feret this year, one goal short of breaking his best-ever year record.

Lucas Moura

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    Although sparsely involved in his side's sombre clash with Bordeaux given the death of PSG Chief of Performance Nick Broad, Lucas Moura made one telling contribution—setting up Zlatan Ibrahimovic's winner, the Swede's 19th goal of the season.

    PSG's future hopes depend on how quickly Moura and the Swede can strike up a rapport.

Andre Ayew

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    Relieved of Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ghana, Andre and brother Jordan Ayew were instrumental for Marseille as they came from behind to defeat Montpellier 3-2.

    Andre scored the hosts' opener and set up his sibling's equaliser as Elie Baup's side showed great character to recover from shipping two goals after taking an early lead.

Andre-Pierre Gignac

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    Andre-Pierre Gignac continued his fine goal-scoring form at the Stade Velodrome with another late winner, this time against Montpellier. An instinctive finish, it was Gignac's seventh goal of the season and keeps OM within touching distance of PSG and Lyon.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Zlatan Ibrahimovic, like Moura, didn't have the most influential of performances on Sunday night in Bordeaux. However, crucially, as the Swede seems to do time after time, he came up big with the goal when it really mattered.

    With 19 goals in 18 appearances, Ibra has now scored 47 goals in his last 50 league matches. That's a scary statistic going into the new year with the 31-year-old gunning for top club and individual honours.