There was no European hangover for Paris Saint-Germain as they coasted to a 4-1 victory this evening over Stade de Reims thanks to goals from Gregory Van der Wiel, Edinson Cavani and a brace from Ligue 1’s top goal-scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Pre-match Ezequiel Lavezzi was given a wonderful reception as he bid farewell to the Parc des Princes. Pocho is on his way to China for a new adventure and the ovation from the fans as well as the players was lovely to see. They hoisted him in the air as the Argentine brings an end to his three and half years in the French capital. Best of luck EL!
Coach Laurent Blanc made a number of changes after the valiant 2-1 win over Chelsea in the week. The likes of Layvin Kurzawa, Edinson Cavani and Adrien Rabiot came in. As did Gregory Van der Wiel who replaced Marquinhos at right-back.
Lo and behold, it was Van der Wiel who opened the scoring early on. One of the players criticised by teammate Serge Aurier on periscope, will have enjoyed his second goal of the season even more! Zlatan Ibrahimovic cut the Reims defence in two with a super assist and there was the Dutchman to finish with aplomb. What was telling was the reaction of his peers who all joined him in a huddle. This was a show of unity following the Aurier debacle.
VDW though gave a cheap freekick away that resulted in the visitors equalising. Nicolas de Preville’s delivery caught us unawares, especially Kurzawa and Trapp who collided with one another. That resulted in a simple close range header for midfielder Prince Oniangue. It would be easy to blame Trapp who did not cover himself in glory but the defending was not great by Les Parisiens. It is hard to have a go at Trapp after his heroics against Chelsea during the week.
It did give SDR a lift and De Preville was showing glimpses of danger. Thankfully though Ibra put a halt to that resurgence to make it 2-1 after two bites of the cherry. Then – just like London buses – Cavani made it two in two with a cracking finish to give us a 3-1 lead heading into the interval; Ibra with the assist.
Blaise Matuidi came on for little Marco Verratti as the second-half resumed. Blanc has made it clear that he wants to ease the Italian in after his recent injury woes.
The second 45 though was very much an exhibition. The work had been done just prior to the break and we were in total control. Ibra made it 4-1 with a volley thanks to a Van der Wiel assist but replays showed that he was miles offside! Quite frankly we have had the rub of the green in recent weeks with offside calls.
We now are now a stunning 27 points clear at the top!