It has finally happened! Paris Saint-Germain have gone top of the Ligue 1 table for the first time this season after a fairly comfortable 3-1 victory over Toulouse yesterday.
Adrien Rabiot netted a brace and Thiago Silva settled matters with a quarter of an hour remaining after Wissam Ben Yedder had pulled a goal back.
This is a significant step in the season you feel. Yes, we may only be top momentarily as Lyon and Marseille play later today but for once we have put the pressure on them. It was absolutely vital not to let the opportunity slide as we did against Caen last week but Lyon’s failure to beat Lorient last Sunday meant they didn’t extend a lead at the top. We had a second bite of the cherry yesterday which we thankfully took.
Coach Laurent Blanc named a three man midfield we expected with Rabiot, Blaise Matuid and Javier Pastore who made his first start since recovering from a calf injury. Due to the number of suspensions and injuries (Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti and David Luiz), Blanc had a depleted midfield to select from. But, Adrien Rabiot seized his opportunity to make an impression and was instrumental against the club where he spent six-months on loan.
He opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark. This was a beautifully constructed goal. Pastore played the ball in from the right which Zlatan Ibrahimovic back heeled into the path of the Frenchman who finished with aplomb.
Pastore was involved in assisting Rabiot’s second as he tied Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik in knots before playing the ball across the face of goal for Rabiot to prod home and complete his brace.
It was somewhat fitting that the 19-year-old would come to the fore against a club that has played a key role in his development. Rabiot said after the game; “I think it took us a little time to get into the game. But then we played out game confidently. I was happy to be playing against Toulouse and a coach who I like, as well as certain former teammates. I would probably have preferred to score two goals against another team, obviously, but I’m very happy to have done that here at the Parc. We have finished this series of home matches on a high note”.
The visitors pulled a goal back via Ben Yedder but captain Thiago Silva made sure there was no repeat of last weekend against Caen by settling matters to head home a Jean-Christophe Bahebeck set-piece in the 74th minute.
Blanc was thrilled by the performance and at last going top of the table; “We played very well, we created openings and we scored. The fans in the ground saw some good football. Obviously they were three very important points but I was also pleased with the way we got them. This provisional first place means something. We had the chance to take several times before, without ever achieving it. This afternoon, we did what we needed to do to be top of the table. It puts some pressure on our opponents.”
It is now over to OL and OM who take on Nantes and Saint-Etienne respectively.