PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain picked up their first win in three matches by beating Lille 3-1 at Parc des Princes on Saturday. Angel Di Maria opened the scoring and then turned provider for Javier Pastore before Anwar El Ghazi halved the deficit, leaving it to Kylian Mbappe to complete the scoring.
After defeats away at Strasbourg and Bayern Munich in the space of a few days, it was imperative that PSG responded with a victory over Lille. That is exactly what Unai Emery’s men did, running out relatively comfortable winners on a cold Paris evening.
Mbappe was lively for the entire 90 minutes and the France international ultimately got his goal after assisting Di Maria for the opener. Gifted his opportunity late on by PSG youth academy product goalkeeper Mike Maignan, the 18-year-old still had to use his searing pace to make sure that the ball finished in the back of the Lille net.
Di Maria was another plus-point, opening the scoring before setting up Pastore in his 69 minutes of action. It was a much-needed positive display from the Argentina international.
Although a 3-1 win suggests that PSG were significantly better than Lille, that was not necessarily the case. Overall, it was not the hosts’ most impressive football and they were laboured at times against an unambitious visiting side.
Dani Alves was handed another start after his disastrous showing away at Bayern Munich and it was unclear why. Thomas Meunier was an unused substitute and had to watch on from the bench as his positional rival picked up a second-half booking but offered little else.
Rarely a weak link in this PSG side these days, Edinson Cavani did not produce his best performance and ended without a goal from his last three consecutive appearances.
Manager rating out of 10
4 — Unimaginative. Emery’s persistence with Alves made no sense before the match and makes even less in retrospect. Although he made all three of his possible changes and even made two before the 70-minute mark, which is unlike him, those changes did not really bring much more to the team. A formation change could have benefitted his players more.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 5 — The youth academy graduate didn’t have too much to deal with but when he was needed, he was calm and confident.
DF Dani Alves, 4 — It was unclear why Emery chose to go with Alves from the start again instead of Meunier and although the Brazil international was not as bad as he was in Munich in midweek, he was not that much better either. It was a waste of a chance to start Meunier or youngster Alec Georgen.
DF Marquinhos (c), 5 — Captain in the absence of Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta, the Brazil international assisted Mbappe for PSG’s late third goal but was otherwise not at his best.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 — The homegrown youngster was afforded a chance from the start by Silva’s injury and he produced an assured showing alongside Marquinhos.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 6 — He was disappointing in the defeat away at Strasbourg last weekend but was better against Lille and helped to make the home back four more solid, whole also getting forward.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 5 — Withdrawn at half-time and unclear if it was injury-related or not, it was not the France international finest 45 minutes.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 — The Italy international was booked in the second half but was solid, if unspectacular, overall as part of a creative midfield three.
MF Javier Pastore, 6 — The Argentina international was invisible at times during the first half but got more involved in the second and scored shortly after half-time. Christopher Nkunku eventually replaced “El Flaco.”
FW Kylian Mbappe, 7 — The France international was a constant threat to the Lille defence with his pace and it helped him to get on the score sheet late on, breaking into double figures with PSG. Otherwise, the prodigious teenager was offside in the build-up but still teed up Di Maria’s opener and saw a second-half shot turned onto the post by Maignan.
FW Edinson Cavani, 4 — An increasingly rare disappointing day at the office for the Uruguay international, who has now gone three appearances across Ligue 1 and the Champions League without scoring.
FW Angel Di Maria, 7 — It was a much-needed positive performance from the Argentina international, although he could have been left on longer than the 69 minutes he was given. “El Fideo” headed in the opener and then laid Pastore on for PSG’s second.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 6 — Showed that he has a combative side when he was given the entire second half in place of Rabiot.
FW Julian Draxler, 5 — The Germany international replaced Di Maria with 21 minutes to go but was not as influential.
MF Christopher Nkunku, NR — The youth academy graduate was only given the final six minutes instead of Pastore, which was not really enough time for him to get involved.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.