SEASON REVIEW: Goals galore!!!
By I. Holyman
Neymar Jr, Mario Balotelli, Kylian Mbappé, Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani…with some of the world's best goalscorers playing in Ligue 1 Conforama, it's no surprise the 2017-18 season was one of the most proflic in French football history.
The 20 teams combined to score more than 1000 goals with over 100 of those coming from champions Paris Saint-Germain, who hit the net more times than they ever have in a single season.
Kylian Mbappé, Edinson Cavani & Neymar JR
MCN is PSG's answer to the MSN their Brazilian superstar — a world record transfer arrival last summer — had formed at Barcelona with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Though the trio's thrilling collaboration was cut short by the foot fracture Neymar sustained in February, they still combined to score more than a third of their club's league goals.
WATCH: PSG's vintage corking performance against Bordeaux
While Mbappé brilliantly confirmed the immense promise he had shown at AS Monaco last season, Cavani earned himself a slice of club history by becoming PSG's all-time leading scorer, passing the previous mark set by former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The scary thing for the champions' domestic opponents is just how many more goals and assists would Neymar, named the top-flight's Player of the Year, have gotten had he played the full season…
The Colombia international star may have turned 32 in February, but showed he remains just as dangerous in front of goal. A hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Dijon FCO in Week 2 set the tone for another exceptional campaign that ended with 18 top-flight strikes in 25 starts, only just falling short of his tally of 21 from 29 outings in AS Monaco's title-winning season.
Florian Thauvin & Dimitri Payet
If Olympique de Marseille have enjoyed their most prolific season since the 1970s, it is thanks in large part to the brilliance of their France international duo. Thauvin has been exceptional, and OM have relied heavily on his goals as he was the only player to make it into double figures, scoring 22 times, seven more than his career-best which he had set last season.
WATCH: Thauvin hits a hat-trick in nine-goal thriller
The former Newcastle United FC man was rewarded with a place in France's World Cup squad, and would likely have been joined by Payet had the Marseille captain not suffered an injury late in the season. He might have started slowly, but hit top gear after the turn of the year, registering ten of his 13 assists in a fruitful 2018, more than any other player in one of Europe's top five leagues, while his overall tally matched that of Neymar.
Memphis Depay, Mariano Diaz, Nabil Fekir & Bertrand Traoré
Lyon's answer to PSG's MCN, the quartet were oh so effective in front of goal. They combined brilliantly to provide a massive 68 of OL's 87 goals — a tally second only to PSG — fuelling the seven-time French champions' push for a top-three finish. With Traoré just 22 and the other three only 24, the prospect of even better to come is mouthwatering…
WATCH: Lyon give Saint-Etienne a derby lesson
Where would Angers SCO have been without the goals of their Cameroon international? While no other Angers player found the net more than three times in Ligue 1 Conforama last season, Toko-Ekambi struck 17 — ten goals more than his 16/17 campaign, and nearly half of his team's entire tally, to ensure another year of top-flight football at the Stade Raymond Kopa.
Nice has been good to 'Super Mario', and he has repaid that in goals. His career, which had hit a stumbling block when he arrived from Liverpool in 2016, has gotten back on track spectacularly on the Mediterranean coast.
WATCH: Mario Balotelli takes apart Monaco
His 16/17 total of 15 was already a career-best for the Italy international, and he scored three more goals than that last season as the spearhead of OGC Nice's push for European football. Ably assisted by Alassane Pléa's 16 top-flight strikes — a career-best for the former Olympique Lyonnais man — Balotelli has shown the sort of form that could now surely earn him an international recall.