Ligue 1, Week 12: Falcao, Ibrahimovic and Cavani Watch
Week 12 signalled a big change in fortunes at the top of the Ligue 1 table as previously unbeaten AS Monaco finally crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Lille OSC on Sunday. The Paris Saint-Germain juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down, though; the side from the capital thumped struggling FC Lorient 4-0 on Friday and moved two points clear at the summit.
Monaco’s Radamel Falcao was left frustrated in front of goal, while Edinson Cavani overtook the Colombian thanks to his double against Lorient. Zlatan Ibrahimovic skipped the clash with the Breton side through injury, but is not expected to be out for long and should feature against RSC Anderlecht on Tuesday.
For El Tigre, it has been a week to forget as Monaco’s previously impressive form ground to a halt. Les Monegasques exited the Coupe de la Ligue at the hands of Stade de Reims and succumbed to defeat in Le Championnat.
Here is a breakdown of how Ligue 1’s big three did, or did not, fare.
For Falcao and Monaco, their 2-0 defeat to an impressive Lille side should serve as a reminder. They may have bags of individual talent and enjoyed a strong start to the season, but reality has slowly been catching up with the principality outfit of late.
This Claudio Ranieri side is not the finished article; they are not title-winning material just yet.
Falcao was once again left isolated and frustrated as his teammates found themselves unable to provide him with adequate service.
El Tigre has coped well feeding on scraps on a regular basis so far this campaign. However, coming up against one of the best defensive units in Europe was always going to require more that just a few half chances.
The Colombian was starved of any real opportunity to impose himself upon the match, and his frustration showed as the evening wore on.
Last weekend’s draw with AS Saint-Etienne was frustrating for Ibrahimovic, but not being able to take the chance to get himself back amongst the goals against Lorient was probably just as irritating.
If the decision was made to save him for future matches to ensure his regular fitness, though, it was evidently the right game to rest the talismanic Swede. He will have enjoyed watching on as his team dominated their opponents once again, ensuring that little emphasis will be put on his absence in the future.
Although the Lorient match was arguably the perfect time for Ibrahimovic and Cavani to work on their partnership, it was left to Cavani to lead the PSG attack. El Matador did not disappoint, netting twice and constantly looking dangerous.
The Uruguayan’s double takes him up to nine goals for the season, overtaking Falcao in the process. That is better than one in every two matches, judging by ligue1.com’s statistics.
Cavani playing alone, though, as devastating as it is for the opposition, only benefits PSG so much. Being afforded the chance to play alongside Ibrahimovic, perhaps in an altered style to suit them better, would have been a more valuable exercise.
With Ibra injured, that was not even a possibility, and the South American did exactly what was expected of him and took the chances that came his way.
The performance of Lucas Moura was of particular benefit; the Brazilian crossed in for Cavani’s first and has looked impressive in his last few appearances. Should the young Brazilian start playing more regularly alongside Ibrahimovic and Cavani, his service will be of massive importance to the duo.
What has been most pleasing about the Uruguayan’s form is that it has come largely playing out of position wide on the right. Plenty is made of how long it is taking for Ibrahimovic and Cavani’s relationship to really take off, but none of that has affected the clinical ability that convinced PSG to sign Cavani from Napoli in the first place.
PSG are immediately back in action in the Champions League before they can turn their attention to their next league meeting against OGC Nice on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic and Cavani will likely both go into that clash against Les Aiglons, and perhaps the game will see the pair move closer to an understanding.
However, beat Belgian champions Anderlecht and they have secured their passage into the knockout stages of the Champions League.
As for Falcao and Monaco, they entertain Evian Thonon Gaillard FC on Friday with the chance to bounce back from their disappointment against Lille.
Ranieri’s side will need to heed their recent warnings in Ligue 1 and the cup, though, if they are to avoid slipping further down the table.
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