David starring for Lille and peaking in time for Canada

PARIS (AP) — Canada striker Jonathan David is peaking at the right time for the World Cup as the co-leading scorer in the French league going into Lille’s match against Monaco on Sunday.

David’s nine goals put him level with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. He’s on a hot streak after scoring in four straight games. He has also provided two assists for Lille, which is in seventh place and two points behind Monaco after 11 rounds.

He can even move ahead of Neymar if he scores against Monaco, because Neymar is suspended for PSG’s game at Corsican side Ajaccio on Friday.

David has 41 goals in 107 league games since joining Lille from Belgian side Gent in 2020. He’s well on track to beat his 15 league goals from last season, but knows it will be hard to beat Neymar and Kylian Mbappé and finish this season as top scorer.

“Personally, I haven’t set myself the objective of finishing first, but, like all strikers, in a corner of my mind . . .” he told sports daily L’Équipe. “Given the qualify of the players I have behind me it’s possible for me to break the 20-goal barrier. I’m starting to get more chances in every game, it’s down to me to take them.”

David’s form is good news for Canada, which will be relying heavily on his goals in a tough World Cup Group F containing 2018 runner-up Croatia, semifinalist Belgium and Morocco.

David notched his 22nd international goal last month in a warmup against Qatar. The fact he’s reached that tally in only 34 games underlines his reputation as a reliable finisher whom bigger clubs are looking at.

He has speed, technique, skill and composure on the ball. So a move to one of Europe’s leading clubs looks inevitable, especially if he does well for Canada in the Qatar showpiece. But his priority this weekend is helping Lille push for a place in the Champions League next season.

With Neymar, Mbappé and Lionel Messi all in fine form, unbeaten PSG is heavily favored to retain the league title.

But the race for second place and automatic qualification for Europe’s elite club competition is a realistic target for several sides, including Lille, Monaco, Rennes, Marseille and Lens. Although Lorient is in second place, the minnow is considered to be over-performing thanks to Nigeria striker Terem Moffi’s goals and many doubt it has the strength to sustain such form all season.

There is more good news for Lille with the return of United States winger Tim Weah in attack. He’s set for only his third game of the season after missing the first two months with an ankle injury.

Weah, the son of Liberia president and former world player of the year George Weah, set up one of David’s two goals and the other goal for Rémy Cabella in the 3-0 win against Strasbourg last weekend.

Weah has four league games left to find his best form in time for the World Cup, where he will look to add to his three international goals. The U.S. is drawn in a hard World Cup group with European Championship runner-up England, Wales and Iran.

It will suit both of their purposes if Weah provides David with a few more assists before they fly to Qatar.

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AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup

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