How Kevin Berigaud and Emmanuel Riviere Are Setting the Pace in Ligue 1

Nicholas McGeeContributor ISeptember 19, 2013

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Emmanuel Riviere of Monaco looks on during the the pre season friendly match between Leicester City and Monaco at The King Power Stadium on July 27, 2013 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ligue 1 always offers up its fair share of surprise storylines each season, and the 2013-14 campaign has so far been no exception. 

Jeremie Aliadiere and Anthony Modeste stunned many observers last season by establishing themselves among the leading marksmen in France.

Both received significant boosts to their respective reputations in the European game. Aliadiere linked with Lille, while Modeste is continuing to find the net on a regular basis with Hoffenheim after Bordeaux deemed him surplus to requirements, despite his impressive loan spell with Bastia.

Two players are already following the lead set by Aliadiere and Modeste, with Evian's Kevin Berigaud and Monaco's Emmanuel Riviere tied for the top scorer position in Ligue 1 with five goals each.

With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani all in the division, Berigaud and Riviere are unlikely to stay at the top of the goal charts.

The pair face a challenge if they are to maintain their form throughout the season, but why have they made such promising starts?

Berigaud's prominence has come as a result of Evian's failure to hang on to Saber Khelifa and Yannick Sagbo, the strike duo who had previously scored the goals to keep Les Roses in the top flight. 

The 25-year-old struggled to nail down a permanent place in the centre of the attack last term, playing most of the campaign on the right as Khelifa and Sagbo headed the front line.

However, the sales of Sagbo (to Hull City) and Khelifa (to Marseille) have forced manager Pascal Dupraz to move Berigaud into the centre, a switch that has had a huge impact.

Indeed, provided with great service by the likes of Daniel Wass, Nicolas Benezet—a summer signing from Nimes—and Cedric Barbosa, Berigaud has displayed lethal finishing ability in front of goal, and he appears to have the ability to ensure that Evian will be staying in Ligue 1 for at least another year.

Riviere's form is perhaps more of a surprise, with the former Toulouse man scoring regularly despite the presence of Falcao.

The 23-year-old scored a mere 10 goals in his time with Toulouse, but after netting four times for Monaco in Ligue 2 this season, he is just one goal shy of equaling that total for the principality club.

A number of Riveire's goals have come purely from being in the right place at the right time. Still, his match-winning effort against Marseille—where he raced onto a through ball from Joao Moutinho, beating the OM back line before slotting a smart finish beyond Steve Mandanda—was a clear demonstration of the talent he has in his locker.

Riviere is not going to be a regular in the side, while the limitations surrounding Evian should temper the expectations of Berigaud.

Neither player is unlikely to be challenging the likes of Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Falcao for the golden boot come the end of the season, but for these unlikely early heroes, the 2013-14 season could prove to a breakthrough one.