Paris Saint-Germain steamrolled Dijon FCO at the Parc des Princes to the tune of 4-0 on Saturday. It was a much-needed positive result for a team that for the last couple of weeks has had to deal with issues on and off the pitch.
Kylian Mbappé will get all of the headlines after the win and deservedly so. He was was brilliant on the night where he scored two goals and set up another for Mauro Icardi. He should have had more assists if not for Edinson Cavani’s head-scratching misses but we’ll get into that later.
If there’s a negative to take away from the match, it’s the injury to Angel Di Maria that Thomas Tuchel said he isn’t worried about but I remain skeptical.
Dijon sits just outside the relegation zone in Ligue 1 but there are some things we can glean from this victory as PSG prepares to host Borussia Dortmund on March 11 with a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League on the line.
Here are the four things I learned from Saturday’s win over Dijon:
I’ve Seen Enough of Cavani
Look, I get it. Cavani is a club legend. The Ultras love him and they sing his name every time every 5 minutes it seems. El Matador is PSG’s all-time leading scorer with 200 career goals but I’ve seen enough of him this season.
Against Dijon, Cavani missed chance, after chance, after chance, and it would be funny if there wasn’t a huge Champions League match coming up and PSG didn’t have a much better striker on the bench.
How has Cavani missed this badly? 😱 pic.twitter.com/D7W8lNrro4
— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) February 29, 2020
Mauro Icardi deserves as many minutes as he needs to prepare himself for battle against Dortmund. Icardi came on for Cavani in the 71st minute and after watching his teammate fumble and stumble around for most of the game, he scored a fantastic goal five minutes later.
WHAT DID I TELL YOU. https://t.co/MJ6ubYH7Tx
— PSG Talk 💬 (@PSGTalk) February 29, 2020
I can appreciate Cavani’s effort level but this is not the time for a retirement tour. No more Cavani until further notice.
Kouassi Isn’t Like Other 17-Year-Olds
If you listen to our podcasts, you already know how much I love Tanguy Kouassi. The kid is mature beyond his years and he’s a hell of a footballer.
Speaking of Kouassi, he's going to be an incredible defensive midfielder.
In terms of profile, he has everything to succeed in this position: strength, pace, height, defensive instincts, football IQ, ability to break lines with his passing…
Honestly, I'm in love.
— Ali (@AliTactics) February 28, 2020
He played center-back against Dijon where L’Equipe rated him a 6 out of 10 but is also capable of playing as a defensive midfielder.
With Marco Verratti and Thiago Silva injured, and Marco Verratti suspended, there could be enough absences in the squad for Tuchel to consider starting Kouassi against Dortmund. We’ll likely have a better idea of what the manager is thinking if the teenager is given more playing time.
Give Sarabia a Chance
Tuchel may be forced into giving Pablo Sarabia a chance against Dortmund. With Di Maria’s injury status unknown, the Spaniard could be the more reliable option and he’s a damn good one.
Sarabia scored PSG’s first goal against Dijon and remember, it was his goal against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium during the group stage that brought PSG level at 2-2.
Sarabia been one of PSG’s best signings in recent years and if he’s in the starting lineup against Dortmund, I’m more than fine with that.
Mbappé Peaking at the Right Time
Mbappé played like a man possessed against Dijon. He ran past defenders, nutmegged them, scored goals, and set up his teammates. It was a reminder of what makes him one of the best footballers on the planet.
OK, fine, it was against Dijon but after that loss to Dortmund, we need to see the Frenchman elevating his game to a new level over the next few matches before the rematch. What we saw against Dijon was special but let’s hope he saves some of that for the Germans.
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