In front of a low-energy crowd at the Parc des Princes, Paris Saint-Germain took out some of their frustrations from mid-week with a 6-0 win over Stade Malherbe Caen.
With the league title already secured and no UEFA Champions League football to look forward to, Laurent Blanc was tasked with keeping his squad motivated for a rather meaningless Ligue 1 game.
Morale could be better. It’s normal to feel the effects of being eliminated from the Champions League, but we need to start moving forward again. And that starts with Caen in the league, and then against Lorient on Tuesday as we look to book a place in the Coupe de France final.—Laurent Blanc, psg.fr
Starting a surprisingly strong starting XI, Blanc returned to his usual 4-3-3 formation after the much maligned 3-5-2 against Manchester City. At this point in the season, with the league already wrapped up, I would have preferred to see more youth in the lineup but only Presnel Kimpembe started with Kevin Rimane, Sessi D’Almeida, and Timothée Taufflieb on the bench.
Bonjour my friends!
Here is PSG XI: pic.twitter.com/c7BRXebLVo
— PSG Belfast (@psg_belfast) April 16, 2016
The hosts dominated from the opening whistle and Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring with a shot from distance that was lucky to find the back of the net. Caen keeper Rémy Vercoutre got the angle wrong and really should have made the save. The big Swede, who would score another in the 56th minute, has now scored 32 goals in Ligue 1. Enjoy it while you can though, the big man will likely be gone this summer.
Before Ibrahimovic assisted Blaise Matuidi’s goal right before halftime, Edinson Cavani had the opportunity to score but his chip shot sailed over the crossbar. The Uruguayan, despite making his way onto the scoresheet shortly after halftime, was poor throughout the match. He missed a number of clear scoring chances and while the Parc wasn’t full, supporters certainly let El Matador hear their displeasure with his lazy finishing.
Once it was 3-0, Caen switched off and the game turned into a glorified training session. Angel Di Maria scored in the 52nd minute after a flick-on from Ibrahimovic in midfield allowed the Argentine to sprint towards goal with no Caen defender in sight. Di Maria’s chip was clinical and it was almost as if he was showing Cavani how it’s done.
After Zlatan secured his brace with a lovely volley from a Layvin Kurzawa cross, Maxwell, who was substituted on for Matuidi in the 68th minute, scored PSG’s six and final goal of the game.
As they most often do, Paris dominated possession (69 percent) and recorded two more shots on goal than Caen. To their credit, the Normandy club did test Salvatore Sirigu, who started in place of Kevin Trapp. The Italian was outstanding, making several diving saves, and recorded an 8.99 rating according to whoscored.com. The clean sheet bodes well for Sirigu who will likely start in Tuesday’s Coupe de France semifinal against FC Lorient.
Kimpembe is another player who didn’t get on the scoresheet but was outstanding for Paris. The 20-year-old recorded a 7.98 rating according to whoscored.com and won 100 percent of his tackles with six clearances. The young center back didn’t put a foot wrong all match and he’s certainly making the argument for more playing time next season.
Up next for Paris Saint-Germain is the aforementioned Coupe de France quarterfinal match against Lorient on Tuesday and then the Coupe de la Ligue final the following Saturday against Lille. If Paris can retain both cups, it will be another domestic sweep for the capital club, a feat that is often dismissed due to the perceived weakness of Ligue 1 but an accomplishment worth celebrating nonetheless.