Ligue 1

5 Ligue 1 Strikers Who Have Surprised with Their Early-Season Form

Nicholas McGeeContributor IOctober 3, 2013

5 Ligue 1 Strikers Who Have Surprised with Their Early-Season Form

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    There is a plethora of attacking talent in Ligue 1, with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao all calling the French top flight home.

    The qualities of Falcao and Ibrahimovic are well-known but, while it is they who will grab the headlines, a number of lesser-known strikers have made strong starts to the new season.

    By the same token, there are plenty of players who have disappointed thus far.

    Bleacher Report takes you through five strikers that have surprised with their form in the opening weeks.

Kevin Berigaud

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    We may be only eight games into the season, but there can be no doubt that Kevin Berigaud's performances so far have been utterly spectacular.

    The previously unheralded striker has been utterly clinical filling the void left by Yannick Sagbo and Saber Khelifa.

    Berigaud, who joined his hometown club in 2006 following an unsuccessful period with Swiss side Servette, has been nothing short of a revelation, scoring six goals thus far.

    Evian's leaky defense—14 goals conceded so farmeans that Berigaud's goals are unlikely to fire them too far up the league, but after the club lost the respective talents of Sagbo and Khelifa, his ability in front of goal should ensure that they stay in the division.

     

Martin Braithwaite

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    Toulouse made a number of forays into the transfer market during the summer, but their most important signing could prove to be that of striker Martin Braithwaite. 

    The Dane arrived from Esbjerg to little fanfare, and appears to still be getting to grips with life in Ligue 1.

    Still, the 22-year-old has begun scoring important goals for Alain Casanova's men, scoring the equalizer in a 2-1 win over Saint-Etienne, and netting the only goal in a victory over Lorient.

    It remains to be seen whether Braithwaite can become the talisman Toulouse requireespecially with Eden Ben Basat struggling to find the netbut if he can contribute on a regular basis, then Toulouse should be able to pull away from the relegation battle that looked likely after the first four games.

Salomon Kalou

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Salomon Kalou has endured a disappointing 2013-14 campaign so far, scoring just two goals in eight appearances.

    The former Chelsea man is not the only player to have struggled in the early months of the season, but his lack of form comes as a particular surprise given his excellent performances last term.

    Kalou scored 16 goals in all competitions in 2012-13, but has been wasteful in front of goal under new manager Rene Girard.

    Girard will hope that Kalou can turn things around sooner rather than later as Lille look to secure European qualification for next season.

Filip Djordjevic

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    Serbian striker Filip Djordjevic inspired Nantes to promotion from Ligue 2 last season.

    Djordjevic scored 23 goals in all competitions in 2012-13 as Nantes finished second behind big-spending Monaco.

    Still, despite his excellent form last season, few could have anticipated that the 26-year-old would have such a significant impact in Ligue 1.

    The 26-year-old has already found the net four times for Les Canaris in the top flight, his most recent goal coming in the 3-1 Brittany derby success over rivals Rennes.

    Nantes sit a surprising sixth following an excellent start to the season.

    Manager Michel Der Zakarian will undoubtedly be looking for Djordjevic to maintain his strong showings as Nantes aim to establish themselves as a Ligue 1 side.

Mustapha Yatabare

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    Guingamp, like neighbors Nantes, have made a decent start to life in Ligue 1 following promotion last campaign.

    Most likely expected Jocelyn Gourvennec's men to remain rooted to the bottom of the table throughout the season, but they have already recorded two wins.

    Many of the points they have earned so far has come thanks to striker Mustapha Yatabare, who has scored four times.

    Yatabare was the key figure in Guingamp's promotion season, as he found the net 22 times.

    Few will have anticipated the Malian to maintain that form in Ligue 1, but his proficiency in front of goal could well prove to the difference between survival and an immediate return to Ligue 2.

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