Neymar Jr. appeared in his first match for Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday against EA Guingamp and he looked very much like a player worth €222 million.
The eyes of the footballing world were on the Stade de Roudourou and for 45 minutes, the hosts frustrated the French giants. PSG had plenty of possession and Neymar sparked the attack repeatedly but found it difficult to break down Antoine Kombouaré’s defense. The best chance of the first half went to Marquinhos who should have scored but instead blasted a header off the goal post. Critics were quick to dismiss the lack of goals against a team full of “farmers” but Paris would come storming back in the second half.
Maybe it was the yellow kit PSG wore–an homage to the many Brazilian players of their past–but the world’s most expensive signing looked like he has been playing with the capital club for years. Following Jordan Ikoko’s own goal in the 52nd minute, which put PSG up 1-0, Neymar went on to record an assist to Edinson Cavani and a goal of his own in the 82nd minute for the 3-0 win.
PSG Talk contributor Rushil Chugh is back with his positives and negatives from the match as well as player ratings. Let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments or on Twitter @PSGTalk.
Neymar was clearly the best player on the pitch and was named man of the match. He had opportunities to score more and if Angel Di Maria was on his game he likely would have picked up another assist. As it stands though, WhoScored.com gave the Brazilian a game-high rating of 10.
Cavani makes yet another appearance in my positives as he capped off an absolutely sumptuous ball from Neymar for his second goal in as many games. He also returned the favor and assisted Neymar for his first goal in a PSG shirt.
Di Maria was below par on Sunday and missing an absolute sitter in the second half didn’t help his case for escaping the negative section of this article. The Argentine must step up his game if he wants to keep his place in the starting lineup once Julian Draxler returns.
Manager rating out of 10
7 Emery deployed a 4-3-3 once again with Neymar replacing Javier Pastore in the starting XI. PSG’s newest signing had the ability to slot in behind Cavani and proved to be very effective in that position. Neymar went from playmaker to winger to second forward at will and tormented the Guingamp defense throughout the match. Emery didn’t make any substitutes until the 80th minute and at the final whistle he had one unused substitute. This has been an ongoing issue with Emery and it would be great to have some clarity from him regarding when he decides to use his bench.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 6.5 Like week 1, Areola was a spectator for the majority of the game and had zero saves to make in the 90 minutes.
DF Dani Alves, 7 Alves was compact defensively and made himself available on the right flank as an outlet whenever he was needed. The 34-year-old has proven to be a valuable signings for Les Parisiens.
DF Marquinhos, 6.5 The Brazil international was relatively untested and was on the halfway line with Thiago Silva contributing to the build up play. He hit the post following a delicious cross from Neymar in the first half but was pretty quiet after that.
DF Thiago Silva, 7 The captain was unscathed from his injury worries last week and was able to put in a good display against an impotent Guingamp attack.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 7 The Frenchman was like the other PSG defenders in that he had very little to do. He moved up the pitch and played more as a winger, providing an outlet for Ney whenever the Brazilian drifted inside.
MF Thiago Motta, 7.5 The midfielder played the full 90 minutes on Sunday and you could say he played a role in the back four having such an easy outing. Given his age and injury history, PSG need to focus on signing a player that can compete with the Italian for this position or give Christopher Nkunku more playing time.
MF Marco Verratti, 7.5 Verratti was his usual self providing a good foil for the front three by pressing high and providing cover at the back whenever he was needed. Keeping Verratti is probably one of the best pieces of business PSG have done this summer. He was taken off and replaced by Pastore for the last 10 minutes of the game.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 7 Another solid outing from the lanky Frenchman who has claimed his spot in the PSG midfield with Blaise Matuidi likely on his way out of the club. His work on and off the ball makes him a perfect partner for Marco Verratti.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5.5 The Argentine fluffed his lines more than once today and one has to wonder if the rumors about his potential departure are affecting his performances.
FW Edinson Cavani, 8El Matador has picked up where he left off last season and was the center of attack with Neymar right behind. Cavani scored his customary goal against Guingamp following a great pass from Neymar and he continued to threaten the goal with six total shots.
FW Neymar, 9 The former FC Barcelona man lived up to the hype heading into his first match for PSG. He nutmegged defenders and sprayed passes all over the pitch. Critics might have expected more from the Brazilian considering the competition but he more than delivered in his debut.
MF Javier Pastore, NA El Flaco was introduced late on and looked sharp in the last 10 minutes of the game. With Di Maria struggling, supporters are left wondering why Pastore was introduced earlier.
MF Blaise Matuidi, NA The Frenchman was brought on for the last few minutes of the match and didn’t really make an impact. If Blaise Matuidi is to leave the club, hopefully Emery can make sure to send him out in style.