Week 15: Falcao, Ibrahimovic and Cavani Watch; PSG Duo on Target, Falcao Suffers

Jonathan Johnson@@Jon_LeGossipFeatured ColumnistDecember 1, 2013

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 05:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG in action during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Paris Saint Germain and RSC Anderlecht at Parc des Princes on November 5, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain’s thumping 4-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais restores their four-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

That cushion had been whittled down to just one point by second-placed Lille OSC, as both Rene Girard’s side and AS Monaco won, but PSG’s triumph puts them back in front.

Two of Le Championnat’s three leading lights featured over the weekend, and they both found themselves on the score sheet as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani’s goals helped the capital club past Lyon.

However, Radamel Falcao will have to lick his wounds as he was left out of Les Monegasques’ squad to face Rennes this weekend and had to watch on as compatriot James Rodriguez and replacement Anthony Martial enjoyed the limelight instead.

Here is some focus on how Ligue 1’s stars fared this weekend.



LILLE, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 03:  Radamel Falcao of Monaco in action during the French Ligue 1 match between OSC Lille and AS Monaco at the Grand Stade Metropole Villeneuve-d'Ascq on November 3, 2013 in Lille, France.  (Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images)
Harry Engels/Getty Images

Radamel Falcao

Although Falcao was unavailable through injury for Monaco against Rennes, his absence was perhaps more telling about his current struggles than some of his recent performances.

The Colombian has been under par over the last few weeks, and after a difficult spell away on international duty, he was rushed back into action by Claudio Ranieri.

Falcao was substituted against FC Nantes, making way for young Martial to replace him, and the change helped bring about Mounir Obaddi’s equaliser.

One week later against Rennes, when given the chance from the start, Martial impressed and scored the second of ASM’s goals.

His vibrant showings have demonstrated the sorts of qualities that El Tigre is unable to bring to his side, and the 27-year-old has a point to prove when he returns.

It would be unfair to grade Falcao when there is no football evidence to base the decision on, so there is no rating.


Rating: N/A



PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 18:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0 during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Stade Brestois 29 at Parc des Princes on May 18, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty I
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

It has been a great week for Ibrahimovic, though, and it got better on Sunday night.

On Wednesday, the Swede celebrated his 100th Champions League appearance with a goal against Olympiakos to help set PSG on their way to the last 16 of the competition.

Ibra is now one goal away from setting a new record for goals scored on the group stage and eclipsed a PSG club record with that goal that was held by George Weah.

Then he bagged two more, in the league this time, on Sunday. Those two goals move him ahead of both Falcao and teammate Cavani in the race to be Ligue 1’s top scorer.

Ibrahimovic now has 11, the Uruguayan 10 and the Colombian has nine.

That is the first time all season the towering striker has led the standings.


Rating: 3.5/5



ATHENS, GREECE - SEPTEMBER 17:  Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain FC in action during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Olympiacos FC and Paris Saint-Germain FC held on September 17, 2013 at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens
EuroFootball/Getty Images

Edinson Cavani

Right behind him is teammate Cavani, and it was an eventful week for him, too.

Like Ibrahimovic, he scored against Olympiakos to help his side through to the last 16, and also like his strike partner, he found the net against Lyon.

With Cavani and the Swede improving with each passing match, the pair will fancy their chances of keeping Falcao away from the summit.

El Matador still finds himself playing out wide at times, but coach Laurent Blanc showed a willingness against Lyon to bring him into the centre in order to make him most effective alongside Ibra.

If he can continue to thrive off the service of the likes of Lucas Moura, then that position will become less important. But for now, it still feels like something of a hindering factor.

Cavani’s ability to recognise when to indulge Ibrahimovic, for example not debating taking the penalty he won with the Swede in order to not risk any potential flare up, is commendable.

But, in doing so, he could fall further behind in the race to finish top scorer as Ibra and Falcao take spot-kicks for their respective sides.


Rating: 4/5



LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JULY 27:  Radamel Falcao 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

Looking forward

Next week, all Ligue 1 teams face a double header of league action.

PSG travel to Evian before hosting Sochaux at the Parc des Princes next weekend, while Monaco face Nice and then Ajaccio.

Cavani and Ibrahimoivic will no doubt be involved twice as Blanc’s side close in on the 32-match unbeaten run set by FC Nantes.

For Falcao, it's a question of whether or not he will be fit enough to experience his first Cote d’Azur derby. 

The Colombian will be out to silence his critics who have grown even stronger in recent weeks following some bad performances.

With Ibrahimoic and Cavani now leading the way at top of the scoring charts, El Tigre has some catching up to do.