On Sunday evening, I was fortunate enough to witness Paris Saint-Germain’s 5-1 dismantling of Olympique Lyonnais first-hand at the Parc des Princes.
It was a first-class performance from a team who now sit 17 points clear in Ligue 1, one fixture away from the winter break. That is a dominance currently unparalleled in European football’s top leagues.
Les Parisiens Champions League form has also been strong, emerging from the group stage with only one defeat at the hands of Real Madrid. Come February, they will be firm favourites in their second round tie against a Chelsea side who bear no resemblance to the side crowned Premier League winners last season.
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Victory against Mourinho’s men could be the stepping stone required to propel PSG towards European glory. Crucially, what sets them apart from many others left in the competition, is squad depth.
On Sunday, Laurent Blanc could not find space in his starting line-up for Lucas Moura, Marquinhos, Marco Veratti or Ezequiel Lavezzi; while Javier Pastore was sidelined through injury. These are all incredibly talented players in their own right, who would likely slot into most teams remaining in the competition.
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Despite the exclusion of these names, the side that took to the field in front of a raucous 50,000 in the French capital oozed confidence and was packed with star quality.
Firstly, the strike partnership composed of the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the industrious Edinson Cavani would challenge any defence in world football. In addition, a rejuvenated Angel Di Maria brings width and quality set-piece delivery; while the likes of Lucas and Lavezzi give the option of injecting further pace into games.
However, the French outfit are not simply reliant on attacking flair. Thiago Motta is an experienced and physical presence in the centre of midfield, while the back four all excelled against Lyon.
Thiago Silva is a fantastic centre-half, partnered by the oft reckless but occasionally brilliant David Luiz. To complement the two Brazilians, Blanc has two excellent first choice full-backs in Maxwell and the marauding Serge Aurier.
It would be remiss to exclude goalkeeper Kevin Trapp from praise, who, despite gifting Lyon a goal at the weekend, has been included in Uefa’s Champions League team of the group stage.
These individuals came together on Sunday night to totally overpower a Lyon side who had earned a comfortable 2-0 win over Valencia at the Mestalla earlier in the week. It was a complete performance starting with defensive solidity and creativity in midfield, rounded off by clinical finishing and injections of quality from the bench.
The Parisians have effectively sewn up the league title at the half-way stage of the season and will now be able to dedicate extra focus on progression through the Champions League.
They have all the qualities necessary to achieve success at the highest level of club football and if they can continue to operate at this level, they will be extremely difficult to stop.
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