Simon Scutt puts together the Ligue 1 Team of the Week following a blockbuster 28th session of French top flight action.
Benoit Costil (Rennes) GK
Things may just be turning the corner for Rennes; a poor run was ended last week at Lens and now backed up by another win, this time at home to Metz. A first half goal from star man Paul-Georges Ntep gave Rennes the lead but the second half contained a number of chances for both sides and Rennes had to be on their guard to see themselves home.
Almamy Touré (Monaco) RB
Monaco’s good run continued in Annecy on Saturday night, a routine win over a relegation threatened side sees them conserve their fourth place. Two first half goals from their strikers gave them a 2-0 half time lead. Youngster Touré fired home his first Ligue 1 goal to make it 3-0 and to seal the result.
David Luiz (PSG) CB
Ahead of their Champions League return clash with Chelsea they welcomed Lens to the Parc des Princes. The first half played out as many a PSG home game does, all but complete domination without managing to convert this into any decisive play. Luiz went close from a corner his stooping header was well saved. He would prove the difference when he opened the scoring for his team from a free kick. His long range strike took a very precise route to goal, beating the goalkeeper with a bounce. He did switch off for Lens’s goal though.
Simon Kjaer (Lille) CB
Lille lost at home to Guingamp when these two sides met in October and they managed to have their revenge in Brittany. A typical Lille performance ensured all three points went to the away side. They also managed to keep Guingamp at bay whilst managing to take the lead through a wonderful Nolan Roux strike.
Gregory van der Wiel (PSG) LB
PSG would not make the same mistakes as they did in February, in the run up to their first leg with Chelsea they contrived to throw away a two goal lead in the dying seconds to Caen, whilst simultaneously seeing their players dropping like flies with knocks. This time around at home to Lens, a slightly reshuffled starting eleven whilst taking their time and they did manage to dispatch RCL with late goals. Van der Wiel, although playing at right back as usual deserves a splint in the best XI anyway, being was implicated in the second goal, as it was he who was felled for the penalty.
Gregory Bourillon (Reims) CM
Reims secured a very important win against Nantes this weekend. They had been looking over their shoulder and this win allows them a little more breathing space from the bottom teams. This was a match dominated by the home side; two goals within twenty minutes put them well on their way. Midfielder Bourillon opened his account for the season with a close range finish. A nightmare game for Nantes after they were reduced to ten men for the second game in succession.
Guillaume Gillet (Bastia) CM
Bastia looked to return to winning ways after their loss at Lorient ended their fantastic run. Nice were the visitors and took the lead from a seventeenth minute corner. From then on it would the home side that ran the show. Belgian midfielder Gillet headed his side back on terms from another corner. Nice would lose a man following Puel’s very poor tackle just before half time. This numerical advantage worked in Bastia’a favour when they broke well to allow Sio to smash the ball home to give the Corsicans the victory. Things would get worse for Nice when Diawara would also see red for an off the ball incident. Bastia are now tenth in the table, having joined the congested mid-table group.
Max Gradel (Saint Etienne) RW
Late goals proved the key for Saint Etienne again against Lorient, the same situation as in the first meeting of the two sides this season played out again on Sunday. Two goals in the final quarter of an hour saw Les Verts seal the victory. The second saw Gradel turn home from close range to make it two goals to nil.
Nabil Fekir (Lyon) AM
In a week when Fekir’s national allegiances were being discussed the player himself gave ample reason why any country would simply love to have him in their side. He was simply outstanding against Montpellier on Sunday night. 2 goals and a penalty obtained does not tell the whole story, he helped his side get back on level terms when he went through on goal only to be hacked down in the box. Then, after some neat interplay he smashed the ball home for his first and in the second half his impudent chip gave him his eleventh goal of the season.
Diego Rolan (Bordeaux) LW
Bordeaux made the trip up north to take on 2015’s fairytale story in Caen. Caen had moved up to twelfth in the table after their incredible run taking in a win at Marseille and a draw at PSG. The match saw the home side reduced to ten men in the first half, yet we had to wait until the second half to see any real action. It would be the Uruguayan attacker Rolan who poked home to give his side the lead. Then, following a Caen equaliser, he kept his cool to convert a 95th minute penalty ensuring all three points.
Michy Batshuayi (Marseille) CF
Marseille kicked off the weekend’s action at Toulouse on Friday night; simply put they blew them away. For the second game in a row Belgian striker was involved in some early action. Last week he missed a second minute penalty. This week, he turned the defender and fired home from the edge of the box at the same juncture. He would double his tally just before half time when a lightening break left him one on one with the goal keeper. 4-0 at half time became 6-1 after 90 minutes to seal Marseille’s first away win in ten attempts.