Instant Reaction: Paris Saint-Germain Dismantle Barcelona

Few gave Paris Saint-Germain a chance against Barcelona on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League, present company included. At the end of 90 minutes though, PSG were the ones celebrating a 4-0 win in front of their supporters as Lionel Messi and his teammates sulked into the dressing room.

PSG put in a total team performance at the Parc des Princes and Unai Emery’s tactics unlocked the Barcelona defense to equal their biggest defeat ever in Europe. Angel Di Maria recorded a brace with Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler both contributing a goal as well. PSG’s midfield, led by Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti, continuously dribbled past their counterparts with ease and found their teammates making excellent runs into dangerous areas on the pitch. Truth be told, Paris should have scored more than four on the night.

The spotlight was brightest on Presnel Kimpembe who filled in for an injured Thiago Silva and his performance was inspiring. The 21-year-old stood strong as Barcelona desperately searched for an away goal and even put in a few successful tackles on Messi. Combined with Rabiot, who also had an unbelievable night, you have to say the future is bright for Paris given the amount of young talent in the team.

I’ve been pinching myself since the match ended not believing what I had just seen. Not only did Paris perform better than expected, they absolutely dismantled Barcelona and all but assured their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Following the final whistle, PSG Talk contributors shared their initial thoughts about what they had just witnessed:

Cosé: This might just be one of the happiest days of my life.

Guillaume: I was wrong. Completely, absolutely wrong. I am soooooo glad I was sooooo wrong.

Dave: Unequivocally the best CL performance I’ve ever seen from PSG in the Qatari era. We had some memorable times against Chelsea, but when have we seen anything but a narrow victory over European giants? To not only break the loss streak, but to break it in unbelievably comprehensive fashion, is incredible. It’s a real buzz. Di Maria found his feet again – though we don’t know for how long, as usual. I was amazed by Meunier, Draxler’s decisiveness, Verratti…Rabiot, I think, probably played his best ever game. Nkunku even did well. Kimpembe was faultless. Emery has done wonders in big games, I’ve always held that, and here we see a solid manifestation. The only comment I’d ask is how much of this is on us and how much is on a Barcelona mental collapse? It seems like they were sluggish and spaced out from minute one. We’ll have to see how this holds up with a presumably-revitalized Barca at their stadium.

Louis: Everyone showed up, I forgot it was Barca.

@PSGTourist: Rabiot was dreamy, Kimpembe was dreamy. I really hope this isn’t all a dream.

Daniel: Definitely the weirdest game I’ve seen in my entire life. Barca looked nowhere near their usual level. I mean one shot on target?! Bonkers. It was very reminiscent of that 2-2 away win against Chelsea in the Round of 16 in 14/15 where Chelsea almost just stopped playing. In the end I couldn’t care much to be honest, it was a beautiful performance all round from the guys and I hope this can spark a really good run now. We’re definitely through the quarter-finals now in my opinion. Magical stuff all round indeed.

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Tags Adrien Rabiot Angel Di Maria Barcelona Champions League Edinson Cavani Julian Draxler Marco Verratti Presnel Kimpembe Thiago Silva Unai Emery

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