Top 5 from Around the World This Weekend: Neymar and Lucas Moura Excel

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Top 5 from Around the World This Weekend: Neymar and Lucas Moura Excel
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Another weekend of football action draws to a close, and it is time to evaluate some of what we have just witnessed, beginning with the best five performances from across the football world.

As ever, there have been some exceptional individual efforts, and, indeed, there are far too many to mention in just one article. However, we shall endeavour to pay tribute to those who stood out from the crowd on this occasion.

Some familiar names feature in our top five this week, but first, let's take a look at some of those who challenged for inclusion.

 

Honourable Mentions

Starting in Brazil, it was defensive midfielders who came to the fore on this occasion in the form of Sao Paulo's Rodrigo Caio and Cruzeiro's Nilton.

Both players were on the scoresheet in what were important fixtures for their respective sides, but contributed much more than just a goal apiece. Nilton was the hub of everything good for Cruzeiro in midfield, as he has been for much of the season, while Rodrigo Caio was outstanding as a defensive shield in victory over Vasco da Gama.

Moving back to Europe, Mounir El Hamdaoui's hat-trick for Malaga against Rayo Vallecano was an impressive display of forward play, while Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke was excellent throughout his side's success over Almeria.

Everton's Ross Barkley continues to impress under Roberto Martinez and, alongside new signing Gareth Barry, was key to an important victory over Chelsea. Stoke midfielder Steven N'Zonzi was also excellent in earning his side a 0-0 draw with Manchester City.

In France, Benjamin Corgnet and Romain Hamouma were leading lights for Saint-Etienne in a convincing away victory over Valenciennes, while Eintracht Frankfurt will be delighted with Vaclav Kadlec's showing as his brace helped earn a 3-0 victory away at Werder Bremen.

Unpredictable talent Alessio Cerci provided a goal and an assist to help Torino to a 2-2 draw with AC Milan while, to round things off, Heerenveen striker Alfred Finnbogason scored his seventh and eighth goals in five games this season in victory over Groningen.

 

5. Lucas Moura (Paris Saint-Germain)

Ligue 1's standout performer this week was PSG winger Lucas Moura, who opened his Ligue 1 account for the club with a little help from goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso.

Starting in a front three that also contained Zlatan Ibrahimovic and French teenage star Hervin Ongenda, it was Lucas who terrorised Bordeaux, throughout, with his excellent dribbling ability.

Up against him was a familiar foe in Lucas Orban, who had terrified in the final of the Copa Sudamericana between Sao Paulo and Tigre last season, and the Argentine was given a Ligue 1 debut to forget by his tormentor.

Bordeaux were not very good at all on the night, but the Brazilian was a class above everyone on the pitch and will surely quickly add to his goals tally now off the mark.

 

4. Jussi Jaaskelainen (West Ham United)

The only goalkeeper to feature in our list, Finnish shot-stopper Jaaskelainen was simply outstanding on Sunday to deny Southampton what would have been a more-than-deserved home win at St Mary's Stadium.

A save low to his left from a Morgan Schneiderlin header was the highlight of his afternoon, but there were two or three other examples of the wonderful shot-stopping ability he possesses across the afternoon.

A long-range effort from Victor Wanyama was tipped over the crossbar, while Italian striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was denied a first goal in English football by yet another stop.

Jaaskelainen may have his critics regarding his overall game, but his reflexes are enough to earn West Ham points on a semi-regular basis.

 

3. Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)

The familiar face of Dortmund attacking midfielder Reus also makes our list, with the German having played sensationally in his club's 6-2 victory over Hamburg on Saturday.

Reus was at his creative best, creating chance after chance for the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Robert Lewandowski and ended the game having made eight key passes, per WhoScored.

The Germany international also managed to get himself on the scoresheet, but it was in not touching the ball that he most impressed manager Jurgen Klopp.

As Aubameyang burst down the right and squared a ball across goal, Reus dummied masterfully to allow the pass to reach Lewandowski who added his side's fourth goal. "I've told Marco that he has earned a place in heaven for that," Klopp commented of the incident to Sky television, per Sky Sports.

 

2. Neymar (Barcelona)

The star of the show for Barcelona on Saturday night, Neymar set the Camp Nou alight with a wonderful individual performance in a 3-2 victory over Sevilla.

The Brazilian may have ended the tie without a goal to his name, but he captured the imagination—despite the dramatic late winner scored by Alexis Sanchez after a moment of magic from Lionel Messi.

Neymar had set up Messi for his goal earlier in the game and seemed determined to provide for his colleague throughout the match—when, perhaps, he would have been better served going alone.

Opposition full-back Coke, though, was all at sea when Neymar opted to run with the ball, and some of his deft touches and dribbles were simply divine. Barcelona, undoubtedly, have a new star among their ranks.

 

1. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)

Even manager Arsene Wenger touched upon Ramsey's dramatic improvement in recent months during his post-match interview, per BBC Sport, after watching the Welshman score twice in a 3-1 away win at Sunderland.

Ramsey has been sensational this season and brought that form into the matchup with the Black Cats, helping his side to victory following a spirited second-half fightback from the hosts.

It was not just his goals that Ramsey offered the side either, upstaging Mesut Ozil on his debut to see more of the ball than any of his teammates—making 88 passes with a completion rate of 92 percent, per WhoScored.

The Wales star has made himself integral to the Arsenal setup early this season and has, perhaps, moved ahead of homegrown idol Jack Wilshere in the club's pecking order. That in itself says much about the level of his performances in recent weeks.

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