Destiny is well and truly in Parisian hands now. Last night’s 3-1 victory over Metz has opened up a three point gap at the top of the table. We have now played the same number of games as Lyon and etched ever closer to their goal difference by two (OL +39, PSG +37). This could be a factor come the third week of May and coach Laurent Blanc will have been aware of it.
Goals from Marco Verratti, Edinson Cavani and Gregory Van der Wiel sealed the points in a professional display by the team. Relegation strugglers Metz gave us a couple of scares in the second-half, especially after former West Ham striker Modibo Maiga halved the deficit at 2-1.
There were a couple of changes from the side that demolished Lille last Saturday. Nicolas Douchez came in for the injured Salvatore Sirgu. Lucas Digne was given a rare start at left-back and the skipper Thiago Silva returned from injury. The front three who were so menacing versus Les Dogues at the weekend remained intact; Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani.
The opening quarter of the game was largely uneventful to say the least. We were happy to bide our time against – to their credit – a well-disciplined FCM side who proved to be no pushovers. They did get undone though by little Marco who ghosted forward unnoticed on the edge of the box and slotted the ball home like a seasoned striker. It’s his third ever goal for Les Parisens and his second in the league. Pastore was key to this with the assist having had the awareness to pass to the Italian.
Pastore was involved in the second goal just before half-time. He played the ball through to Cavani who did the rest with a super jinking run before slotting the ball past Anthony Mfa Mezui. The Uruguayan has netted three in his last two games now and has excelled in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence.
After the break, Metz pulled a goal back thanks to a superb header by Maiga that went in off the post. David Luiz was bullied by Bouna Sarr in a battle for possession before the Guinean curled in a stunning cross for the striker to head past Douchez.
Veteran Florent Malouda had a golden opportunity soon after to put his side on level terms but his effort in the box was tame to say the least. Sarr was involved again as he was the one to pick out the former Lyon and Chelsea man.
Their goalkeeper let us off the hook though just as the Parc was getting restless. Van der Wiel’s shot at goal trickled under his body to make it 3-1 and end the game as a contest. That took the shackles off us, especially when Lucas Moura came on as he looked sharp following his injury woes. We could have won by more in the end.
Next up is a difficult trip to FC Nantes. If Paris Saint-Germain can come out of that unscathed, then a third league title will be within touching distance.