Manchester City outclassed Paris Saint-Germain last Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium as they knocked the French champions out of the UEFA Champions League.
Kevin De Bruyne was the lone goalscorer and his shot from distance was the difference over the two legs, which City won 3-2 on aggregate. For the fourth straight year, Paris will miss out on the semifinals of the Champions League and needless to say, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has some very big decisions to make this summer.
Here are my player ratings from PSG’s last Champions League game of the season:
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Starters only)
Kevin Trapp (4.5): The German keeper made one major mistake all game and it nearly cost Paris a goal. Sergio Agüero rushed towards goal and Trapp mistimed his challenge in the box, tripping the Argentine in the process. A penalty was awarded and Trapp picked up a yellow card for his efforts. Luckily, Agüero put his penalty wide of the net but Trapp appeared to be in position to make the save anyway. Other than that, Trapp was mostly a spectator until De Bruyne’s goal, which he stood no chance in saving.
Serge Aurier (2.5): Laurent Blanc’s unusual 3-5-2 formation put Aurier out of position and you could tell the Ivorian wasn’t comfortable. He gave the ball away constantly, which led to Agüero’s penalty, and could not get up the pitch to join the attack as he usually does. Coming off his lengthy suspension, Aurier clearly wasn’t ready to play on such a big stage so soon.
Thiago Silva (5): The captain was his usual solid self. His best scoring chance came in the second half but Joe Hart made the save. The Brazilian should have done better.
Marquinhos (4.5): He had a point to prove to Blanc after being benched for the first leg. In the first 30 minutes, he switched sides several times with Aurier, which again showed the discomfort PSG played with in the new formation. The Brazilian played a decent 20 minutes as holding midfielder but the experiment ultimately failed and was short-lived.
Gregory van der Wiel (3.5): The Dutch international received a surprise start and got forward plenty of times. He did well to dribble past Gäel Clichy on multiple occasions but his over-hit crosses diminished the build-up play. He attempted a shot that did not trouble Hart at all when a simple cross was a much better option.
Maxwell (3.5): It was a poor showing for the veteran left-back. He often miscommunicated with those around him and turned the ball over. Maxwell simply does not have enough pace and skill on the ball to play on the left side of the midfield, which is where Blanc’s 3-5-2 formation put him. With this new lineup, Layvin Kurzawa would have been a better option.
Thiago Motta (4): The Italian distributed the ball well enough, but had to come off due to a hamstring issue late in the first half. Looking back at the game, this was probably the turning point in the win for City as Paris lacked their anchor in the midfield.
Adrien Rabiot (5.5): Along with Silva, the ex-Manchester City youth player is the only Parisian to hold a good reputation after an abysmal team display. The young Frenchman earned a free kick for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a key space that forced Hart into a great save. He was one of the few Paris players to play with some emotion and wasn’t walking in the final minutes. Rabiot really looks like he has put his past antics behind him this season.
Angel Di Maria (3): Nonexistent. He had a huge mistake when he passed instead of shooting right in front of Hart. His patented runs did not happen and he was unable to utilize his speed in both matches against City, which is a credit to their defense.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2): This rating is probably a little harsh given the Sweden international’s pair of free kicks that nearly found their way into the back of the net, but his laziness resulted in a goal-scoring chance being called off due to him being offside. His performance gives more evidence to his critics (and I am one of them) who say he cannot carry a team through the knockout rounds of the Champions League. In my opinion, it’s time for PSG’s all-time leading scorer to leave the club in the summer so that a new striker can take a shot at leading Paris to Champions League glory.
Edinson Cavani (3): The Uruguayan tracked back on defense several times but as much as Blanc tries to force Cavani into playing on the wing, El Matador simply doesn’t have the skill set to do so successfully. If he is to ever rediscover his form from his days in Napoli, Zlatan must leave the club.