Paris Saint-Germain went three points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table for the first time this season with a 2-0 win over Montpellier HSC at the Parc des Princes on Saturday. It was the club’s eighth straight league win (one away from tying a club record) and goals from Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria secured the vital three points. Unfortunately for Les Parisiens, the breathing room at the top was short-lived as AS Monaco defeated Olympique Lyonnais to draw level on points with PSG with a game in hand.
Despite the disappointing Monaco result, it was an important win for Unai Emery and his squad nonetheless. Monaco have an intense tie with Juventus F.C. in the UEFA Champions League and while their remaining league games aren’t that difficult, fatigue and lack of concentration could cause them to drop points and PSG must make sure they are in position to take advantage.
We earned an important three points in front of our fans for the championship. I think it was a very open match, very attacking and nice for the fans to watch. I think we controlled the game well, for the full 90 minutes and we deserved the victory.–Unai Emery, PSG.fr
Cavani continues to be PSG’s best and most consistent player this season. The Uruguayan scored his 31st league goal (44 in all competitions) and assisted for Di Maria’s in the second half. With the goal, El Matador has now scored against all 27 teams he’s faced in Ligue 1 and is closing in on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s impressive scoring record set last season. It’s been a disappointing campaign for PSG and one can only imagine how much worse it would be if Cavani wasn’t having the best season of his career. WhoScored.com‘s rating of 8.3 is the highest for any outfield player and he’s easily my choice for man of the match.
Javier Pastore was another standout performer on the night. With his new bleach-blonde mohawk, the Argentine dazzled supporters with back-heel passes and sublime first-touches. His 85 percent pass completion rate was enough to earn him a 7.1 rating from WhoScored.com but unfortunately for El Flaco, he was subbed off in the 81st minute with what looked like a minor leg injury.
The worst performance on the night has to be from the manager. Emery was forced to bring on Julian Draxler due to the aforementioned Pastore injury and then proceeded to bring on Lucas Moura in the 84th and Giovani Lo Celso in stoppage time. The hosts were up 2-0 for most of the second half and Montpellier never really looked like they were going to mount a comeback (four shots on goal). It would have been great to give Lo Celso and even Gonçalo Guedes some valuable minutes in a game that was all but won. The young Argentine didn’t even touch the ball and we’ve yet to see what Guedes can do since arriving late in the January transfer window.
While the jubilation of passing Monaco in the table was brief, Les Parisiens will have an opportunity to take out their frustration against their principality rivals on April 26 in the semi-final of the Coupe de France. Until then, enjoy some of our favorite images from the 2-0 win over Montpellier.