In Ligue 1 this season it’s fair to say some things have occurred that very few could have predicted. PSG aren’t having the best time of late and possibly suffering a Zlatan withdrawal. Nice, having the time of their lives in 3rd place, the infamous Mario Ballotelli leading the line with 8 goals and his fellow strike partner Alessane Plea with 10. Guingamp, Lyon and Rennes also upping their quality game by game, the second more so maybe than the other two. Monaco however have surprised most by topping Ligue 1 at the time of writing and are europes top scorers with 60 goals in all competitions and one man has come to the fore to guide them to the summit in France.
Step forward Radamel Falcao. Written off by more people than who would admit it. The Columbian international suffered heartbreak in January of 2014 when in a cup game against lowly Chasselay in his first stint with Monaco he sustained a knee injury that would rule him out of the World Cup in Brazil. Falcao was playing well and in good form when the injury occurred. Subsequent loan moves to Chelsea and Manchester United on recovery proved fruitless and frustrating. This season Falcao has found fitness and form and the two combined have seen him score 15 goals in 19 games in all competitions (7 from open play, 4 penalties for example). At 30 years old he may not have that many seasons left in that injury ravaged body but every Monaco fan and neutrals alike are now seeing the form he showed at Atletico Madrid. A recent bid of £45 million from Chinese outfit Tianjin Quanjian has been rejected mind you.
Monaco are a much improved, focused team under Leonardo Jardim and really are firing on all cylinders. Losing only 3 games, drawing 3 and winning 14 in the league so far and conceding 21 goals aswell a scoring the aforementioned 60 goals (45 in the league). Some impressive stats include Monaco have the highest shots per game ration in the league (5.9) Most goals scored from set pieces (13) and Most percentage of goals scored in the 6 yard box (9%). Do these stats mean anything? Depends on how you want to perceive them, short term of course they are impressive but will it last for Monaco long term resulting in a league title remains to be seen.
Another centre forward who is being monitored by a host of European clubs is Caen’s Ivan Santini. The Croatian has scored 10 goals in 17 games this season in a struggling Caen side. Signed from Standard Liege in August of last year for a fee of just over £2 million. This is his debut season in Ligue 1 and Santini has excelled in the games when I have seen him play. Good in the air and with a touch of class to his finishing notably against Lyon scoring two goals to win the game in the 61st minute. Not much is known about Santini as most of his football in his early career was in Croatia before spells at Red Bull Salzburg, Freiburg and Standard Liege where opportunities were few and far between it seems although if he carries on as he is a move even further up the football chain could present itself. Santini would do well to give a certain Radamel Falcao a call for a spot of club advice maybe although if Falcao does indeed seek a last payday in the Far East Santini could be a capable replacement.
I have included some radars below on both players and the similarities are striking so far this season. First is Falcao then Santini below.