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5 underrated forwards in Ligue 1

Karim Benzema began his stellar career in Ligue 1.
Karim Benzema began his stellar career in Ligue 1.
imkaulik

Much of the narrative in Ligue 1 last season surrounded big-name attackers. The league is historically known for new attackers breaking through.

The likes of Eden Hazard, Karim Benzema, Victor Osimhen and Nabil Fekir began their ascent in France before makig it big elseweher. There's no reason why some contemporary Ligue 1 stars can't do the same in the near future. Here we look at 5 such underrated Ligue 1 forwards.

#5 Moses Simon

Moses Simon playing in Nigeria v Mexico
Moses Simon playing in Nigeria v Mexico

Having had a bit of a journeyman career till now, Moses Simon really seems to have found his feet at Nantes. The Nigerian winger scored six times and assisted eight goals last season.

He was a big reason behind Nantes' overachieving last season. Simon is a typical tricky winger who likes to carry the ball into the box and create chances for his teammates. His numbers reflect this as well.

He averages 0.28 expected assists and 2.51 key passes per 90. He also carried the ball 1.85 times a game into the opposition penalty box.

#4 Arnaud Kalimuendo

It is well known that PSG have a phenomenal academy which they under-utilize. Arnaud Kalimuendo is the latest graduate from that academy to succeed elsewhere. The 20-year-old striker found a new home at Lens and hasn't looked back.

This season he found the back of the net 12 times. For a youngster with the complete responsibility of leading the line, that is mightily impressive. Kalimuendo's biggest quality is his finishing. 48.3% or nearly half of his shots are on target, which is a really good trait to have. He is also a strong ball-carrier for a striker with 4.30 progressive carries and 1.50 carries into the final third per 90.

#3 Ludovic Ajorque

Paris Saint Germain v RC Strasbourg - Ligue 1 Uber Eats
Paris Saint Germain v RC Strasbourg - Ligue 1 Uber Eats

Ludovic Ajorque is a big traditional number 9 who has been extremely consistent in Ligue 1 for a number of years now. In the 21-22 season, he scored 12 goals and supplied eight assists. He stands at 1.97m and is a nuisance to defenders in general. On average, he wins a whopping 5.06 aerials per game.

Other than his very impressive goalscoring record, he's a great team player as well. The 28-year-old Frenchman's defensive numbers are also elite in the final third. His tackling numbers are around the highest among attackers. His stellar Ligue 1 season was a huge reason behind Strasbourg's success this season.

#2 Martin Terrier

Leicester City v Stade Rennes: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Europa Conference League
Leicester City v Stade Rennes: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Europa Conference League

Martin Terrier's transformation into a top-tier goalscoring winger at Rennes has been surprising. Before this he had never even scored 10 goals in a league season. This Ligue 1 season, however, he netted 21 goals. Only two of them came from the spot. Terrier's main positive has been his clinicality in front of goal. This has meant that he has converted a lot of half-chances as well.

🚨 Liverpool are very interested in signing Martin Terrier! The Rennes striker could compensate for the probable departure of Sadio Mané. (Source: Daily Mirror) https://t.co/i1t4jinCWu

He has a non-penalty expected goals rate of 0.39 per game whereas he has actually averaged 0.62 non penalty goals a game. As is the case with any such goalscoring season, Terrier has been linked with a number of clubs after his stellar Ligue 1 season. It remains to be seen whether a transfer actually does take place.

#1 Benjamin Bourigeaud

Celtic FC v Stade Rennes: Group E - UEFA Europa League
Celtic FC v Stade Rennes: Group E - UEFA Europa League

Another Rennes forward who has had a brilliant season, Benjamin Bourigeaud has taken everyone by surprise. Before this season, his numbers weren't anything special. This season, however, he amassed 11 goals and 12 assists in Ligue 1. This put him among the most productive players in the league alone with the likes of Mbappe and teammate Terrier.

Chances Created - Top 5 European Leagues:🇫🇷 122 - Benjamin Bourigeaud🇪🇸 107 - Iker Muniain🇫🇷 99 - Dimi Payet🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 90 - Trent Alexander-Arnold🇵🇹 89 - Bruno Fernadnes🇹🇷 88 - Hakan Calhanoglu🇷🇸 87 - Filip Kostic🇧🇪 87 - Kevin De Bruyne🇩🇪 84 - Thomas Muller🇫🇷 94 - Nabil Fekir

His underlying creative numbers are very good too. Bourigeaud averages 3.41 key passes per 90 which is in the 99th percentile for wingers and attacking midfielders in Europe. He also puts in 0.93 crosses into the box per game. Bourigeaud also accumulates 0.37 expected assists per game.


Edited by S Chowdhury

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