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Oft-criticised Cavani, firing on all cylinders for PSG

Paris Saint-Germain are back in Ligue 1 action against Angers SCO on Wednesday just days after a 2-1 win away at Olympique Lyonnais moved them within a point of leaders OGC Nice.

It was a good week for Unai Emery's men; a 2-2 draw away at Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League means a win over Ludogorets Razgrad at home next week will secure top spot for the first time since 2013-14, while the Lyon win brings Nice within reach with Lucien Favre's high-flying side set to visit Parc des Princes after the Bulgarians.

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However, before Ludogorets and Nice, PSG must take care of Angers in the capital and then Montpellier HSC on the road.

As has often been the case this season, Edinson Cavani goals helped the French champions to their good results in London and Lyon and they will need the Uruguay international to be at his best again for the visit of Stephane Moulin's men.

Cavani's brace at Parc OL took him up to 99 competitive goals in PSG colours, which places him fourth on the club's all-time list of top scorers, one ahead of Mustapha Dahleb but one behind Dominique Rocheteau.

A brace at Parc des Princes this midweek would move him up to third, just eight behind the legendary Pedro Miguel Pauleta in second, even if it is still some way behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic's phenomenal tally of 156.

The immensely popular Portuguese spoke with the Ligue 1 giants' official website and praised Cavani for doing justice to his former No. 9 shirt, while admitting the South American has become "very important" to Emery's team.

"Cavani is a great goal scorer," Pauleta added. "He is such a hard worker, who gives everything for the team. Even when Ibrahimovic was at the club, he always answered the call. He is a real No.9, as we saw again with his brace against Lyon."

For someone as oft maligned as Cavani is, it is impressive -- perhaps surprising to some -- that he is so close to being second only to Ibrahimovic in terms of goals scored for Les Parisiens.

Edinson Cavani has silenced his critics so far this season, as the Uruguayan has smashed home 18 in 17 for PSG.

It is no surprise to Pauleta, though, who is relishing the possibility of seeing Cavani surpass his tally in the coming months, the same way Zlatan did last season.

"I am happy players are getting close to that statistic!" beamed l'Aigle des Acores (the Eagle of the Azores). "It means the strikers are scoring and that the team is winning -- records are made to be broken.

"I take a lot of pleasure seeing players such as Cavani play -- they deserve to wear these colours," Pauleta continued. "I am incredibly lucky. I have a very strong bond with the supporters. I hope it continues. Perhaps certain players had more talent than I but there is a very strong bond between me and the club."

The PSG faithful, notably the formerly exiled ultras who have now started to return to Parc des Princes, still sing Pauleta's name regularly and anyone who knew the club around that time will have fond memories of the man recently voted the best centre forward in the club's history -- ahead of Ibrahimovic -- by France Football readers.

One player who is hearing his name more and more on the lips of PSG fans these days, for mostly positive reasons rather than negative, is Cavani.

Regularly scorned for his inconsistency in front of goal when Zlatan was top dog, the 29-year-old currently has 18 goals from 17 appearances across all competitions and is now the team's main source of goals.

Granted, he still misses numerous chances but if anyone had claimed last season -- or at any time in the past two or three years really -- that Cavani would be this prolific this early in the season, they would have been ridiculed.

The truth is that the man from Salto is indispensable to PSG, though, and his work ethic and selfless attitude embodies the post-Ibrahimovic side Emery spoke about in his pre-Angers press conference.

Cavani is under a lot of pressure lately because of his clinical form and consequent raised expectations but the team are still getting goals from elsewhere too, notably Lucas Moura, so someone else could chip in against Angers.

However, the more the former SSC Napoli man scores, the greater his confidence and Cavani losing his current swagger is the greatest threat to PSG's recent gain in momentum.

Will that continue on Wednesday?

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