Neymar and Julian Draxler produced impressive performances as Paris Saint-Germain secured a 2-1 win over RC Lens on Saturday.
It was a vital win for the Ligue 1 giants, as it helped them maintain the pressure on league leaders LOSC Lille, who currently only have a one-point advantage with just three matches remaining.
PSG were far from impressive in this game, once again struggling to offer much penetration against a low block, even though Neymar’s 33rd minute opener did serve as a sigh of relief for the hosts. They also did keep the Lens defenders busy, but were unable to find any more breakthroughs in the first half.
Things looked better in the second half, especially after Marquinhos’ headed goal in the 59th minute that assured their supremacy over the proceedings. However, minutes later, the defending champions conceded a goal that ushered in hopes of a Lens comeback during the final phase of the game.
It led to a nervous end to the match for Mauricio Pochettino, but they were able to see out the storm somehow. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the PSG players following their hard-fought win over RC Lens this weekend.
Keylor Navas: 6.5/10
Keylor Navas was not called into a major save for the most part, especially in the first half as Lens appeared slightly wasteful in front of goal despite causing problems for the hosts. The PSG goalkeeper could not have done much to save Ignatius Ganago’s effort around the hour mark, as it was the defence that let the ball slip past their guard.
Colin Dagba: N/A
Colin Dagba’s night was cut short as he picked up an early knock that forced him off around the first quarter of the game. He was replaced by Thilo Kehrer.
Marquinhos was vocal when his team struggled defensively, but it was not the best of performances from him personally. He looked complacent, especially after scoring the goal around the hour-mark, and could have reacted better in order to retain the clean sheet against RC Lens.
Marquinhos is a goal machine for PSG right now! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/lz34sOxwfJ
— Goal (@goal) May 1, 2021
Presnel Kimpembe: 6/10
While Marquinhos was still able to retain some of the defensive solidity for PSG, Presnel Kimpembe simply did not fare well. He was slow to react to the offensive pressure from Lens and should have done much better to help his team impose their authority at the back. Kimpembe’s poor form could be a cause for concern for Mauricio Pochettino heading into next week’s encounter with Manchester City.
Abdou Diallo: 6.5/10
It was surprising to see Abdou Diallo getting the nod at left-back despite his recent misfortunes. The decision did not really pay off for Pochettino either, as the former Borussia Dortmund man was mostly quiet on the left flank. He reacted well to the defensive pressure, but could never really influence the approach play.
Danilo Pereira: 7/10
Danilo Pereira started ahead of Leandro Paredes as part of PSG’s midfield overhaul. He emerged as a key figure in the middle of the park, thanks to his imposing physical and aerial prowess that saw him provide additional defensive aid for the centre-backs. A vital cog in PSG’s second line of press.
Idrissa Gueye: 6.5/10
Idrissa Gueye also impressed during the press, using his tenacity and energy to good effect. The midfielder, though, lacked creativity in possession which translated into a lack of penetration for PSG during attacking phases. He was eventually replaced by Marco Verratti around the hour mark.
Pablo Sarabia: 5/10
It was yet another disappointing performance from Pablo Sarabia, who simply lacks the quality to be in this PSG team. The Spaniard lacked ideas going forward as well as confidence. As a result, he was largely anonymous as the game progressed, with the attacker being eventually replaced by Ander Herrera around the hour mark.
Neymar was one of the most impressive performers for PSG in this crucial fixture. He looked sharp right from the beginning, always keeping the opposition guessing with his neat footwork and unpredictable movements. As such, the Brazilian won a lot of fouls, as well as scoring the all-important equaliser in the 33rd minute. Neymar also picked an assist for the Marquinhos goal – making him a strong contender for Man of the Match.
🇧🇷 Neymar for PSG this season:
1️⃣0️⃣ assists pic.twitter.com/NkTEHJTr6o
— Goal (@goal) May 1, 2021
Julian Draxler: 8/10
Much like Neymar, Julian Draxler caused a lot of problems for the Lens defence throughout the game. While the German was not directly involved in any of the two goals, he looked impeccable in the build-up play and his combination with Neymar was faultless at times. An exciting display from the former Schalke prodigy who deserves to start against Manchester City in midweek.
Mauro Icardi: 6/10
Mauro Icardi failed to continue his scoring form against Lens, often looking wasteful in front of goal. The Argentine, though, deserves credit for his positioning, as he was always a target man for PSG in the middle. Must need to improve his finishing, though, as Les Parisien looks to make the late title push.
Thilo Kehrer: 6/10
Thilo Kehrer replaced the injured Dagba early on, featuring as a right-back throughout the rest of the game. The former Schalke defender, though, had his struggles in offering the penetration from the right-hand side and is definitely more suited to a central role.
Marco Verratti: 5/10
Marco Verratti replaced Gueye around the hour mark, who could not really impact the game perhaps because of the goal that disrupted PSG’s game plan during the final phase.
Ander Herrera: 5/10
Ander Herrera, too, had his problems in offering any real edge to the PSG side after coming on for Sarabia around the hour mark. Helped his team see out the slender one-goal lead during the final 30 minutes.
A late replacement for Neymar. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Moise Kean: N/A
A late replacement for Draxler. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.