Draxler Dominates Rennes; PSG Advance in Coupe de France

Paris Saint-Germain are through to the round of 16 of the Coupe de France after a dominating performance against Stade Rennais FC at Roazhon Park. The 0-4 win was their second against the Brittany club in a span of 15 days and it was much needed after last Sunday’s draw against league leaders AS Monaco.

Unai Emery started youngsters Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku along with Serge Aurier who made his first start since participating in the Africa Cup of Nations. PSG’s rotated squad found life difficult at the start of the match as a well-organized Rennes side stayed disciplined and launched counterattacks when opportunities presented themselves. Eventually though, Julian Draxler found a way through in the 27th minute and his first goal on the night was a thing of beauty. The Germany international’s first-touch off Thiago Motta’s long through-pass was as good as it gets and the cool chip past Benoit Costil was world class.

Draxler has been on fire since arriving in January from VfL Wolfsburg and has single-handedly turned PSG’s season around. Prior to his arrival, Emery was on the verge of being sacked and a shocking UEFA Champions League campaign saw them finish second in a group they should have won. Since the start of 2017, PSG have yet to lose and have scored a total of 21 goals in their last 7 games. Draxler has completely changed the narrative of PSG’s season and if they continue to improve, not even Barcelona (who they play on February 14 in the Champions League) will look forward to playing them.

Les Parisiens would go on to put the game out of reach before halftime as they applied pressure until Lucas Moura’s breakthrough in the 38th minute. The Brazilian will get his name on the score sheet but it was an exquisite team goal that started on PSG’s side of the pitch. Moura, who has been outstanding this season, timed his run into the box perfectly to meet Hatem Ben Arfa’s cross and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net. Truth be told though, Lucas should have scored more goals on the night and he continues to be wasteful in front of net. If he can ever put together the entire package consistently, PSG will have one dangerous winger.

The second half saw the reigning French champions continue to impose their will but there were a few nervy moments before Draxler’s second goal in the 68th minute. Alphonse Areola got the start with Kevin Trapp picking up an injury last Sunday. The Frenchman has struggled somewhat this season and he never really looks to have command of the box on corners and free kicks. He made the couple of saves he had to on the night but I think most would agree that Trapp is the number one keeper when he returns.

After Draxler’s second, he was subbed off for Javier Pastore who made his triumphant return after a long spell out due to injury. The Argentine was given just enough minutes to break a sweat and set up Ben Arfa’s goal at the stroke of extra time. Gonçalo Guede won a free kick around midfield and Pastore caught the Rennes defense off guard and played the ball to a streaking Ben Arfa who finished with a powerful blast past Costil.

The match was the confidence-booster Emery and his team needed after failing to defeat Monaco after taking the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining last Sunday. The goals continue to pour in and Draxler’s performances make the €35 million PSG paid for him seem like a bargain. Paris Saint-Germain have a trio of relatively easy Ligue 1 matches before they host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League tie and Emery will no doubt want his squad healthy and focused for that one.

Check back later this week for our coverage of PSG’s next match against Dijon FCO.

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Tags Alphonse Areola Christopher Nkunku Coupe de France Edinson Cavani Gonçalo Guedes Hatem Ben Arfa Julian Draxler Kevin Trapp Presnel Kimpembe Serge Aurier Stade Rennais Thiago Motta Unai Emery


  1. it was a great game from PSG. Happy to see we can easily handle a team like Rennes with our “B” team.

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