Paris Saint-Germain’s pursuit of a fourth-straight Ligue 1 title has been far from straightforward, but they managed to leapfrog Lille for the top spot on goal difference before the international break.
Les Parisiens have the opportunity to go three points ahead in the first week of April, considering they are scheduled to host Lille when the season resumes.
Aside from Lille, Lyon and AS Monaco are also in the title race, three and four points behind Les Parisiens respectively. It could be an interesting end to the season if the trio can keep up with the holders.
Ahead of the restart, the CIES Football Observatory have published the top performing players in 2021, who have played at least two-thirds of the minutes and here are the top five names.
Guillermo Maripan – Monaco (86.3):
Monaco’s defensive displays have been far from convincing this season and they have conceded 38 goals from their 30 matches. However, there was an improvement before the break with three clean sheets in four games.
Maripan has been a regular at the heart of the defence for Monaco since the turn of the year, but his influence has been more in the final third of the pitch where he has chipped with five goals from set-pieces.
Jose Fonte – Lille (84.5):
Fonte, 37, continues to remain a regular presence in the central defence for Lille, though his partners have changed. He formed a solid partnership with Gabriel Magalhaes last term. This season, he has impressed alongside Sven Botman.
Lille have the league’s best defensive record with only 19 goals conceded. Fonte, who is the club-captain, has led from the front with an average of nearly four clearances per game.
Marquinhos – Paris Saint-Germain (83.1):
With the departure of Thiago Silva last summer, Marquinhos has returned to his preferred central defensive role after previously playing regularly in the holding midfield position.
The Brazil international has been excellent with a pass success rate of nearly 94 percent. Les Parisiens have kept 14 clean sheets in the 20 matches where their captain has featured.
Alexander Djiku – Strasbourg (83.1)
The 24-year-old has built his reputation with Strasbourg this term and his form over the past few months has been sublime, though the club have not always been on the winning side
The Ghanaian has averaged two tackles, three interceptions and three clearances per 90 minutes. He has also won two aerial duels every match and has already earned comparisons to Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane.
Memphis Depay – Lyon (82.4)
The Dutchman has bagged 14 goals and nine assists in Ligue 1 this season. He has accumulated six goals and five assists in 2021, and has also been influential in creating regular chances.
Depay’s workrate and dribbling qualities have also been regularly appreciated, but it remains to be seen whether he will be with Lyon next term. His current deal expires at the end of June.
See the full list here.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com