This week’s Ligue 1 Player of the Week accolade goes to Angers defender Ismael Traore.
Perhaps an unexpected recipient of the accolade, the 31-year-old central defender delivered a steadfast performance as his side ran out 3-0 victors in their home clash with a Guingamp side that have been tough to beat in recent weeks.
Angers took the lead in the very first minute when Flavien Tait headed home from a deliciously floated in cross to bag an unexpected first goal of the campaign.
What followed was a tight affair between the two clubs that saw Guingamp dominate much of the fixture but fail to create opportunities as they came up against a well organised defence, led by Traore.
With the game in the balance for the most part, the pendulum finally swung the way of Angers as Toko Ekambi clinically rounded off an 89th minute counter attack as his side took the lead.
The goal was his 14th of the campaign as he hit an impressive 61 points for the season.
Having led his side to a clean sheet, Traore then put the icing on the cake as he added a third goal for the hosts with a powerful back post header.
The captain’s goal saw him grab nine points for the match, seeing him hit nine points for both the game and the season with the club having been blighted by inconsistency.
The Paris-born defender has plied his trade at Angers since 2015, having joined them from Brest – his role in the win being arguably one of his stand out performances during his time at the Stade Raymond Kopa.
Despite having been raised in France, Traore opted to play for the Ivory Coast at international level – making three appearances for his country since his debut in 2012.
The win for Traore’s side represents a second victory in as many weeks for the club, who dispatched fellow strugglers Lille in their previous fixture.
The two victories have seen Angers drive up the table over the last fortnight, with the North-Western side now sitting in a respectable 14th place with just ten games remaining of the campaign.
However, the side’s mid-table position does not yet reflect a position of safety – Angers remain perilously close to the relegation zone with there being just a three point gap to 18th placed Troyes.
Les Scoïstes will be rightly buoyed by consecutive victories that could prove invaluable come the end of the season and the side will know all too well that continued momentum off the back of these stand out results will be dependent upon the likes of the Ivorian delivering more performances of this calibre as they enter the final furlongs of a thrilling campaign.
Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com!