Ligue 1

Ligue 1 Top Five, Round 23: Di Maria and Verratti a class apart for PSG

Plus two Montpellier stars are recognised after the draw versus Metz

12:22pm on Friday 7th February 2020
Martin Macdonald
Ángel di María
AM, W (R) - PSG - 31 yrs
Feb 4, 2020

In the absence of Neymar who had his yearly injury for his birthday, Angel Di Maria stepped up to be the creative force in the final third for PSG in the 2-1 away win over Nantes.

He officially recorded two assists, but the first was actually a shot heading into the corner anyway which deflected off the foot of Mauro Icardi. For the second, he whipped a superb corner into the box for Thilo Kehrer to commandingly head home.

In between the PSG goals he should have had one himself, only to unluckily crack a strike off the crossbar from the left of the box.

The Argentine was always trying to be the provider, sending eight successful crosses into the box and 29 passes into the final third.

Téji Savanier
M, DM (C) - Montpellier - 28 yrs
Feb 5, 2020

Montpellier were demolished 5-0 by PSG last week but bounced back, slightly, by earning a point at home to Metz in a 1-1 draw.

The opening goal was scored by Teji Savanier in spectacular fashion as he collects the ball around 25 yards out, jinks past the defender, before rifling a superb left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.

He battles hard in midfield, too, winning 13/21 duels, 100% of his tackles (4/4), and 3/6 aerial duels, as well as making a huge nine ball recoveries.

Géronimo Rulli
GK - Montpellier - 27 yrs
Feb 5, 2020

In his last match for Montpellier in the Coupe de France, Geronimo Rulli was sent off, meaning he, probably thankfully for him, missed out on the drubbing by PSG.

It was a topsy-turvy performance upon his return to the team against Metz. Twenty minutes in he gave away a penalty after taking out Ibrahima Niane, albeit accidentally, inside the box.

However, he made up for his error by standing tall to save the spotkick down low to his right-hand side.

This was one of seven saves the Argentine made to keep Montpellier in the match to eventually earn the point.

Xavier Chavalerin
DM, M (C) - Stade de Reims - 28 yrs
Feb 5, 2020

Xavier Chavalerin was Reims' pass master in the 1-1 draw at home to Nice, completing an excellent 37/40 balls to team-mates, with 17 of these passes being sent into the final third.

He sent a sizeable nine crosses into the box overall, and it was one of these from a corner which set up the vital equalising goal headed in by Yunis Abdelhamid.

Chavalerin helped out in the dirty side of the game, too, as he won 4/5 tackles and made five interceptions. He also won 8/11 duels.

Marco Verratti
M, DM (C) - PSG - 27 yrs
Feb 4, 2020

Speaking of pass masters, there is only one true winner in Ligue 1 and that is Marco Verratti. The Italian once again ran things in deeper areas for PSG in the narrow win over Nantes.

He completed 110/118 passes, 24 of which were sent into the final third, which was the most of anyone in this round of Ligue 1 fixtures. He also enjoyed 128 touches which was, of course, more than anyone in the league this week, too.

Nantes did venture forward on occasion, but he was was there to curb a few attacks with four interceptions and 2/3 tackles won.


Alexander Djiku (8.1) was key for Strasbourg moving into the top half of the Ligue 1 table after the 1-0 away win versus Toulouse. He helped his side hold on to their lead with a solid outing at the back, winning 5/6 duels, 4/5 aerial duels, and 100% of his tackles.


Saint-Etienne lost 2-0 at home to Marseille, with Stephane Ruffier (5) not proving himself to be too formidable between the sticks. He only made one save all afternoon, and made a positioning error for Dimitri Payet's goal from an extremely tight angle as he allowed himself to be caught out at his near post.

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