Dynamic Duos (Part 2)
Ligue 1 Conforama has been lit up by some sensational strike partnerships early in the 2018-19 campaign. In Part 2, we look at Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique de Marseille and LOSC…
Mbappé-Neymar: The most potent pair
Angel Di Maria may have been involved in 30 percent of PSG's goals over the first six games, but Kylian Mbappé and Neymar have since stolen the show in Ligue 1 Conforama. Between them, the Parisian pair have scored fully have of PSG's goals (16 of 32). Perhaps unsurprisingly, they sit atop the league's scoring charts with eight apiece. Their sheer efficiency is a joy to behold. Neymar converts 59 percent of his chances (a league second-best); Mbappé 56 percent (third-best). The latter also scored his first ever four-goal haul when PSG beat Olympique Lyonnais 5-0 in Week 9.
While Neymar still finds the target with the same ruthless regularity as he did in his first French top-flight season (a goal every 89 minutes), Mbappé has been even more impressive in terms of goals per minute. The 19-year-old has found the target every 51 minutes he has been on the pitch this season, and has only been kept quiet in one game - against OGCN Nice in Week 8, when Neymar bagged a brace in a 3-0 win. Mbappé only needed eight minutes to score a double of his own against EA Guingamp in Week 2, but Neymar still enjoys a direct hand in more goals, his four assists to Mbappé's two. Proof that they are gelling. Mbappé and Neymar have already assisted each other twice each - already the same haul they managed in all of last season.
Thauvin-Payet: More than half of OM's goals
Nine games in and Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet have accounted for more than half of the goals scored by Ligue 1 Conforama's second-best attack so far. The league's attacker last term with 2 2goals and 11 assists, Thauvin only needed nine minutes to open his account this season in the opening day 4-0 win over Toulouse FC. Since then, the FIFA World Cup winner has scored with 52 percent of his shots, and accounted for more than a third of OM's goals single-handedly.
Thauvin's fellow attacking midfielder and club captain Payet has converted nearly half of his shots at goal (43 percent) - not quite as much as Thauvin, but with five assists to his name nobody has laid on more goals league-wide this term. Payet has scored all four of his goals as Marseille's Orange Vélodrome, two of them penalties. Now in his fifth season all-told at the club, this is the quickest the 31-year-old has ever reached such a tally. A pair of goals in that Week 1 win over Toulouse were his first brace in four years to boot.
Pépé-Bamba: Providing Les Dogues' bite
LOSC have surprised many with their electric start to the season, and came into the second international break of the season as PSG'S nearest challengers. Boasting Ligue 1 Conforama's third-best attack has helped to that end. Leading the charge are Nicolas Pépé and Jonathan Bamba, ably assisted by Jonathan Ikoné. The LOSC attack has affectionately been nicknamed "Bip Bip" by the fans - a nod to Warner Bros. cartoon Road Runner - such is their fleet of foot. Between them, Pépé and Bamba have scored 76 percent of LOSC's goals with just 56 percent of the side's shots! Bamba has scored all seven of his goals at Lille's Stade Pierre-Mauroy, where he enjoys a league-high 64 percent of shots on target - all of which have gone in! - and a goal scored every 64 minutes he has played. Three of his goals have been the direct result of a Pépé assist. The young Ivorian has actually been involved in more goals, with four assists to go alongside the six he has converted himself. With a hand in 59 percent of his side's goals, only Neymar has proven more effective in the French top flight this term.