Nice recorded their fourth successive Ligue 1 win on Sunday night as they romped to a 1-4 away victory against Rennes.
Their fine run of form has catapulted them up the table, and they now sit in fifth place with a game in hand on fourth-placed Saint-Etienne, who are just two points ahead.
The rise of Nice has been incredible. Last season they finished a respectable 11th but showed neither enough consistency nor quality to compete for the places higher up the league.
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If the last four games are anything to go by, they will be hoping to push for a European place this time around and will be one of the many clubs aiming to take advantage of Monaco, Marseille and Lyon's poor and inconsistent form.
The secret behind Nice's improved performances is their attacking ambition and fearlessness, as exemplified in their 17 goals scored in the last four league games.
Their full-backs, Ricardo Pereira and Jeremy Pied have provided brilliant support to the wingers and are extremely fit and industrious as modern full-backs should be. Young talents such as Alassane Pléa, Vincent Koziello, Olivier Boscagli and Algerian hotshot Said Benrahma - who was again amongst the goals - have all excelled and shown that they have the quality to play regularly in a successful Ligue 1 side.
Brilliant Ben Arfa
One man, however, has been the catalyst behind Nice's inspired form of late. Once a boy-wonder who every team in the world was courting, then a fan's favourite on Tyneside with Newcastle, and now the top scorer and arguably best performer in Ligue 1, Hatem Ben Arfa is on fire and showing the world how far he has come since his time spent on loan with Hull City, where he was primarily used as a substitute.
Ben Arfa was again the orchestrator of Nice's wonderful thrashing of Rennes. With an assist and another fabulous goal where he weaved past two defenders, before dropping his shoulder and rifling the ball past the helpless goalkeeper.
The former French international, who hasn't won a cap since 2012, is thriving and playing some of the best football of his career. He is being used centrally as either a support striker or as a number nine and it is clear to see that, through the middle, he is at his devastating best.
Surely Didier Deschamps will be considering giving him another shot on the international stage. With only a few friendlies remaining before their home European Championships next summer, Ben Arfa is making a big case for his inclusion in their practice games before the final 23-man squad is announced.
Do you think we could see Hatem Ben Arfa returning to the Premier League in the near future. Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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