Ligue 1 Top Goalscorer Betting

Who will be the top goalscorer in Ligue 1 this season? As we near the midway point of the season, today Andrew Gibney takes a look at the betting in the Ligue 1 top goalscorer market.

Sunday’s 2-2 draw between Lyon and Marseille means that Ligue 1 has gone a whole month, 52 games and 4680 minutes without a 0-0 draw. On the 9th of November both Lorient v Reims and Guingamp v Lille finished goalless, five match days later and we’re still waiting for the next complete shut up. This means one thing…goals!

And in a league that’s normally rather reserved and better known for a lack of attacking intent, it is a welcome breathe of fresh air. Ultimately it is the Ligue 1 forwards that are benefiting from this purple patch, with three players already in double figures before the winter break.

Ligue 1 Top Goalscroer Odds - Odds As At 18th December 2013

 bet365Betvictor888sportBWin
Ibrahimovic 1.67 1.73 1.72 1.50
Cavani 2.75 3.25 3.25 3.50
Falcao 10.00 8.00 10.00 10.00

Zlatan!

Going into the last match-day of 2013 it is no surprise to see Swedish enigma Zlatan Ibrahimovic top of the goal-scoring charts, an impressive 14 goals in 17 games sees the forward on course to equal if not better last year’s total. Although it’s only recently that the goal-scoring smile returned to his face. Only a month ago he went into the match against Nice on a paltry five goals and four behind his strike partner Edinson Cavani, an inspired 90 minutes and a hat-trick later and he was up to eight.

Six games later and he has scored seven goals, laid on three assists and looked absolutely irresistible. Last weekend against Sochaux, the bottom club felt the full force of Zlatan’s backlash, two goals and two assists after Paris Saint-Germain had lost 2-0 away at Evian. You won’t like Zlatan when he is angry. Now he is top of the scoring charts and the bookies favourite to finish top of the scoring charts. From 4.00 his odds have dramatically dropped to 1.73. Four weeks is a long long time in football.

Cavani And Falcao

With the Parisian spotlight firmly turned on the flamboyant Swede, Uruguayan Cavani has quietly gone about his business, winning the respect of Zlatan in the process. There have been no huge scoring sprees; just an impressive consistency about Cavani’s game, in the last ten games he has only failed to score in two of them. Played mostly out of position to accommodate Zlatan, not once has Cavani complained, playing with a smile on his face and the contributing to the beautiful brand of football that the Parisians are achieving makes the €63 million spent on the forward look an absolute bargain.

Cavani’s consistency and Ibrahimovic’s upturn in form have the Paris lights shining bright and have cast a shadow on their fellow rich neighbours from the south. All is not well as AS Monaco, and the buck has been firmly passed to €60 million striker Radamel Falcao. Only one month ago he was the bookies favourite to lead the league in goals, now he’s behind both Ibrahimovic and Cavani and it’s clear to see why.

In his first seven games the Colombian could do no wrong, seven goals, five wins for Monaco, including a brace in the 3-0 destruction of Bastia. Then something happened, the well ran dry, the chances disappeared, and so did the goals. In his next seven Ligue 1 games the striker only managed to find the net twice. The first, home against Lyon had a slice of fortune as a clearance deflected into his path perfectly, but the finish was sublime. The second was a first-half penalty to bring the scores level against Evian, the game would end 1-1 and questions were beginning to be asked of Claudio Ranieri’s side, especially the €60 million man.

It’s not all Falcao’s fault, the creativity in the side had definitely dropped, the service from the flanks decreased and only really fellow Colombian James Rodriguez has shown any real signs of life, still impressing week after week. Falcao’s big moment came away at Nantes, after a less than impressive performance, Ranieri replaced the striker after 63 minutes, the look of disbelief on the forward’s face said it all, he wasn’t happy, but he had been very poor. And then, in his place, came 17-year Anthony Martial, the young French forward impressed, and had a hand in Monaco’s winner in the 1-0 win.

Since Falcao’s removal against Nantes, Monaco have won five straight games, scored nine goals, and looked wonderful at times. Martial has grabbed two goals and definitely looks the part, whereas Falcao’s story looks less and less convincing each day. An apparent thigh strain was the cause of his poor form and his absence from the last four Ligue 1 games, although no Doctor’s that have assessed him can find the cause of the pain. His loss of form and the phantom injury has led to the speculation regarding his future to return. Specifically the possibility of the former Atletico Madrid player moving back to Spain to play for rivals Real Madrid. If you are keeping score, this was probably the 7002nd time he has had to address these rumours:

He said: "I am very happy at Monaco and my wife is happy to live here. There is no problem with the coach, the doctors or the team. I just have a small problem with my thigh. I will play again soon when I feel better."

The lack of playing time and the apparent struggles has seen his stock fall slightly. At the beginning of November the best you would get was 2.80 for the Colombian to finish top scorer, now he is third favourite at 9.50 – He still has nine goals this season, but after 14 appearances and 18 match-days, everyone expected double figures, not to be only one goal ahead of teammate Emmanuel Riviere.

Monaco end the year with a home time against Valenciennes, it’s unclear whether Falcao will be part of the team next week, but with the winter break to come Ranieri will hope that he is fit and firing on all cylinders to guide this side through two tough away games at Montpellier and Toulouse to start 2014.

Through Monaco’s struggles, PSG have gone from strength to strength, the loss to Evian stopped this side breaking the unbeaten record help by the team of Rai and Co but has forced Laurent Blanc’s side to refocus, Sochaux got the brunt of that lesson, the 3-1 victory over Rennes showed that they can go away from home and focus on the job at hand. Blanc’s side finish 2013 at home to one of Europe’s best defence sides, now if Ibrahimovic and Cavani can find a way past Vincent Enyeama and his spectacular Lille defence, then you will find the odds dramatically drop once again. Asking the question, who wants it more? Zlatan or Cavani?

The Final Word

It’s hard to bet against Ibrahimovic in this situation, but with the odds so short the smart money is on Cavani to continue to settle and continue to find the goals as Zlatan continues to drop deep and play the creative role. Only two goals behind and sitting at a very nice 3.50 with Bwin, it’s the bet that makes sense right now.

Falcao will come back from this slump, he will finish with over 20 goals, but the way Paris Saint-Germain are playing you wouldn’t bet against both Zlatan and Cavani reaching the over 30 mark, now that is a scary prospect indeed.

 

 

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Follow Andrew on Twitter: @Gibney_A

And read more of his work at FrenchFootballWeekly.com