Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned for Paris Saint-Germain and played his part in a really good performance from the champions. Goals from Edinson Cavani ad Blaise Matuidi sealed a 0-2 win over Les Canaris to put us back on top of Ligue 1.
As expected, it was the birthday boy Ezequiel Lavezzi who made way for the enigmatic Swede. Marquinhos came in at centre-back to replace the injured David Luiz who was ruled out with a problem with his foot.
In a hostile Stade de la Beaujoire, Cavani opened the scoring within the first few minutes of the game. Ibra was involved as his shot was inadvertently blocked by his strike partner but luckily Gregory Van der Wiel was there to keep the move alive and Cavani was able to smash home from close range. The Dutch right-back also took a swing at it but was the number 9 who made contact.
We played some terrific stuff from then on in. We were interchanging from a diamond formation at times to a flat midfield three. Javier Pastore, again was exceptional in that ‘number 10’ role, pulling the strings.
Cavani had two one on ones with goalkeeper Remy Riou with the stopper coming out on top. His first save in particular was exceptional, denying the strike with his left forearm.
The FCN support did not dampen in the lightest as they rallied their team on. There was a couple of changes. Serge Gakpe had a header on goal which Nicolas Douchez gathered and Johan Audel blasted one over the crossbar.
Matuidi made it 2-0 with an emphatic finish. Zlatan was so cool as he played the ball in between the two centre halves for the Frenchman to run onto and finish with aplomb. It was a beautifully worked goal.
Douchez just before half-time produced a startling save to prevent Alejandro Bedoya’s glancing header from creeping into his right-hand side. The stopper who was filling in for Salvatore Sirigu had another good performance in between the sticks. Reliable when called upon.
After the interval, the game was pretty much done. For the neutral it was not a pretty sight but it suited the champions down to the ground. Nantes offered very little in attack and we were in utter control.
It is a massive three points. The penultimate away game and we get the victory which puts us back at top of the league with three games to go. This was perceived as one of our toughest games of the run – and rightfully so – but credit to the lads they produced a professional display. Douchez in goal also played a vital role, especially with that word class save to deny Bedoya.