Another week of Ligue 1 action comes to a close and AS Monaco have moved back on level points with Paris Saint-Germain at the top. Les Monegasques temporarily went one point clear thanks to their 2-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais, before PSG salvaged a point at AS Saint-Etienne.
The result means Laurent Blanc’s side hold onto top spot by one goal. The difference? An Edinson Cavani strike.
El Matador was not the only one of Le Championnat’s star names to get his name on the scoresheet this weekend, though. Monaco’s Radamel Falcao ended his barren run of 307 minutes without a goal in the principality outfit’s 2-1 win at Stade Louis II.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic may not have been amongst the goals this week, but two of France’s “big three” were.
Here is a breakdown of Falcao, Cavani and Ibrahimovic’s individual performances.
Having gone 307 minutes without scoring a Ligue 1 goal, Falcao was experiencing something of a drought approaching Monaco’s clash with Lyon.
That was put to bed in the 36th minute in the principality.
El Tigre, racing onto a fortuitous through ball that clipped off of Joao Moutinho from a Layvin Kurzawa clearance, took a superb touch before steadying himself for a classy lob over Anthony Lopes.
Classic Falcao; the Colombian had doubled Monaco’s lead after Mounir Obbadi’s screamer of an opener eight minutes before.
Otherwise, the 27-year-old struggled once again, particularly with regard to the physical aspect of the game.
He took his best opportunity of the match, but otherwise there was little for him to work with. That said, Falcao has now answered his critics to a degree, so expect more to follow.
Ibrahimovic came into PSG’s clash with Saint-Etienne off the back of impressive performances last time out in Ligue 1 against Bastia and in the Champions League against Anderlecht in midweek.
The talismanic Swede was unable to replicate those two performances at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and turned in a largely frustrated showing.
Ibrahimovic was unable to control the game as he normally does, and Les Verts’ surprising ability to break up the dominance of the PSG midfield meant that the 32-year-old suffered for 90 minutes.
Regularly isolated up top, with most of the action happening at the other end for the first hour, the towering striker was largely a spectator.
He did spring to life on a handful of occasions, though, with a few shots and in particular with one pass that almost provided Blaise Matuidi with a goal. Other than that, though, it was a quiet performance from Ibra.
Following his exertions over the past seven days or so, PSG fans will perhaps cut him some slack for the muted showing.
While Ibrahimovic needs to come to the fore in these kinds of games to keep PSG winning and his reputation elevating further, it is unrealistic to expect him to work miracles every match.
While Ibrahimovic struggled to get involved in the match, striker partner Edinson Cavani managed to get himself and his PSG side a valuable goal.
Like the Swede, El Matador was largely frustrated, too. But he still was able to get himself into the right place at the right time to net the defending champions’ equaliser.
Following a well-worked corner routine, Maxwell produced an inviting cross that Cavani was able to prod home to make it 1-1 with 22 minutes left to play.
The Uruguayan was also involved in the build-up to the second goal, and, arguably, should have got a touch on the ball and had two to show for his efforts.
Matuidi clipped the ball forward from the edge of the area looking for Cavani. However, the 26-year-old was unable to make contact with the ball, but the South American’s presence was enough to distract Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier.
Like Ibrahimovic, Cavani’s performance was no comparison with last week’s showing versus Bastia. But the club-record signing came up with an important goal when it mattered, and it keeps PSG top of Ligue 1.
As it stands, Falcao has eight goals so far this season, but Cavani is now catching up with seven and has shown real signs of usurping the Colombian at the top of the scoring chart.
Ibrahimovic is on five for the season, but the Swede has contributed more assists than either Falcao or Cavani.
Next up for PSG are FC Lorient at home on Friday, the side Ibra made his debut against last season.
Monaco faces a difficult trip to high-flying Lille OSC, who have now collected six consecutive clean sheets.
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