SM Caen 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Lucas Moura / Javier Pastore
Last night Paris Saint-Germain registered the first away win of the season in a comfortable manner. Despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing the game, the team played with a lot more fluidity than they have done in recent weeks. It was a polished performance with an array of positives to take. Goals from two Brazilians in Lucas Moura and Marquinhos settled matters. Both had superb games, especially Lucas who was a constant threat to the Caen defence and arguably put in his best performance in a Parisian shirt.
Laurent Blanc finally changed the formation. He set us up in a 4-2-3-1. Javier Pastore played just behind the striker and he absolutely ran the show. The Argentine was flawless, his link-up play was excellent and the confidence is just oozing out of his pours. It is reminiscent of the ‘El Flaco’ that lit up the Parc des Princes in his first few months after joining from Palermo.
Ezequiel Lavezzi accompanied Lucas as one of the two wide men but unfortunately for Pocho he had to come off early after injuring his hamstring. It was reminiscent to that of Thiago Silva’s injury last month in Naples. He attempted a back heel and immediately clutched the back of his leg. Jean Christophe-Bahebeck took his place with the Frenchman putting in a good shift. For Lavezzi however – who was hoping to make a point – will be out for around 4-6 weeks. It is a blow for the bearded winger but Bahebeck’s eyes will light up at trying to break into the XI.
At the back, Marquinhos alongside David Luiz has come to fruition. I feared the worse when Silva was ruled out, especially after Marquinhos’ torrid performances during pre-season. But the youngster is excelling alongside Luiz. The defence is sturdy, repelling much of the danger that opposition teams try to throw at us. Caen may not have posed so much in attack but when they did the centre-backs – Marquinhos in particular – had it covered.
Edinson Cavani must have had six glorious chances last night but was unable to convert. This is not necessarily a bad thing. He looked a lot sharper as the central striker, as got into the right places. He linked up well with his peers, especially with Pastore and although he may not have scored I felt it was a good shift from the Uruguayan who kept persisting.
I was torn between giving Pastore and Lucas man of the match but both were equal in my book. They were pivotal to the victory. It is amazing what a goal can do for a player. LM opened the scoring, assisted by Pastore, with a beautiful solo goal as he weaved his way into the box before firing a vicious shot past Remy Vercoutre. His acrobatic celebration wasn’t bad either.
That spurred the number 7 on. He had the SMC defence running scared, sprinting at defenders, cutting inside to link-up with Pastore. He very nearly scored a wonder goal by bamboozling Dennis Appiah, cutting inside to beat three men but his shot was blocked by the feet of Vercoutre. It was the best example of his rejuvenation.
After the interval and squandering a host of chances, Marquinhos headed home from a corner to make it 2-0. At long last we were able to put a game to bed, capitalising on our domination. You could sense the relief, especially via Blanc. We needed that and so did he to ease the negativity.
Just before that though the hosts should have equalised. We fell asleep as Herve Bazile played a delicious ball towards the back post that was met by the head of Mathieu Duhamel but he put it wide. Had that gone in, PSG’s character would have been tested?
Thankfully, we got the job done. In the process we threw that monkey off our back by registering a first away win of the campaign. If we can get a positive result in Toulouse on Saturday we will head into the Barca game with some much needed form under our belt. Blanc must decide whether or not to continue with a 4-2-3-1 which I think he should. It was the most expressive PSG performance of the season so far and it was without our talisman.