Lionel Messi makes his debut as Paris Saint-Germain secure a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Reims, thanks to a brace from Kylian Mbappe.
Paris Saint-Germain maintain their hundred percent winning record in the Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory over Stade Reims. The game witnessed the debut of new signing Lionel Messi as well as some of the returning stars including Neymar.
It wasn’t the most polished performance from the league leaders, though, who did dominate possession but had difficulties settling into a game where their opposition Reims exhibited a lot of physicality throughout the ninety minutes.
An early goal from Kylian Mbappe was the only real action of the first half as PSG dominated the game with little effect. In the second half, things started to heat up even more as Reims not only tried to push for a goal but also played more aggressive football.
They end managed to find the back of the net in the second half, though it was ruled out due to offside. And at the end, it was PSG who got the last laugh, as Mbappe scored again in the 63rd minute, shortly before Lionel Messi’s much-awaited debut in the 66th minute as he replaced Neymar.
Here, at the Hard Tackle, we will rate the PSG players in their 2-0 victory over Reims this weekend.
Keylor Navas: 7/10
Keylor Navas fought very hard to protect his clean sheet throughout the ninety minutes. Him losing out and conceding the goal in the second half wasn’t a good look, but the goalkeeper got away with the offside decision taken by VAR. After that, Navas fought commendably to retain his clean sheet, making a few good saves in between the sticks.
Achraf Hakimi: 8.5/10
Achraf Hakimi produced an excellent performance down the right hand side for PSG. He bombarded forward at every turn making life extremely difficult for Nathanael Mbuku, using his speed, athleticism and ability to link with teammates in the final third. It was his sumptuous cross that found Mbappe for the second goal of the night.
ACHRAF HAKIMI IS THE BEST FULLBACK IN THE WORLD!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/TAmWu54F9T
— 👁 (@Ani7ii) August 29, 2021
Marquinhos marked his return to full fitness with a start over Presnel Kimpembe at the heart of the PSG backline. It was not the best of decisions by Mauricio Pochettino as the defender looked extremely rusty when trying to defend the opposition and was caught completely off-guard by the second goal that was ruled. He will improve with more game-time under his belt.
Thilo Kehrer: 6.5/10
Thilo Kehrer didn’t cover himself in glory either, looking very incompetent in defending for the Reims goal. However, the German settled himself after that, and though the performance was far from impressive, he did just enough to help PSG keep another clean sheet. It will be interesting to see if he gets the chance to represent Germany during the international break.
Abdou Diallo: 6/10
After a somewhat bright start to the campaign, it was an off day for Abdou Diallo. He had difficulties settling into this left-back role. Struggling to offer anything going forward. His lack of creative support hurt Neymar on the left flank as well, with the Frenchman eventually making for Kimpembe during the final stage of the game.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 6.5/10
Georginio Wijnaldum was very energetic right from the beginning. He played a key role in PSG’s second line of press, using his aggression and work ethic to recover multiple balls in midfield. He wasn’t very influential otherwise, notably making way for Ander Herrera midway through the second half.
Idrissa Gueye: 8/10
Idrissa Gueye had an excellent game at the heart of the PSG midfield. His ball distribution was top-notch while the former Evertonian offered composure and experience. Also played a vital role in initiating the counter-attack that led to PSG’s second goal of the night. Very calming influence indeed, at the base of Pochettino’s 4-3-3 setup.
Simply outstanding 🤩
Excellent ball from Gueye to find Hakimi, who then plays an incredible ball to find Mbappe at the far post 👏
Show time PSG 🌟 pic.twitter.com/ren0gzl6zG
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 29, 2021
Marco Verratti: 7/10
Marco Verratti wasn’t overly impressive and certainly not the pick of the PSG midfielders. However, he played a vital role in helping his team get out of dangerous areas and play through the Reims press, even though it wasn’t exactly challenging.
Angel Di Maria: 7.5/10
Angel Di Maria had a bright influence on the proceedings on the right hand side. He always looked to probe the Reims defence, with his trickery and movements making life difficult for the defenders. The Argentine eventually produced the cross that led Mbappe’s opener, though his influence did fade as the game progressed.
Kylian Mbappe: 9/10
Kylian Mbappe had yet another excellent game spearheading the PSG attack. The Frenchman was simply unstoppable, at times, with his menacing runs across the Reims backline, coupled with his pace and ability to drift past opposition defenders. His positioning sense has improved as well, with the attacker moving out wide when necessary.
Four games. Three goals. Two assists.
Kylian Mbappe is an unreal talent 🔥 pic.twitter.com/aUP0FGeIhY
— Goal (@goal) August 29, 2021
Mbappe’s influence in the final third saw him score the early opener through a header while his pace and finishing prowess helped him score the second goal from a vicious counter-attack. Fans got to witness him play alongside Messi during the late stages of the game.
Neymar marked his return to the pitch with a direct start out on the left flank. The Brazilian, though, didn’t look fit at all as he struggled to offer going forward and was mostly overshadowed by the likes of Mbappe and Di Maria. He was the one who made way for Messi midway through the first half.
Lionel Messi: 6.5/10
Lionel Messi made his Paris Saint-Germain debut in the 66th minute, replacing Neymar. It was a bit bizarre to see the Argentine donning a club kit that isn’t Barcelona’s. His impact wasn’t huge either, though he was treated very roughly by the Reims defenders. He is certainly tipped to start for Les Parisien after the international break.
— Leo Messi (@Messi_10_30) August 29, 2021
Ander Herrera: 6.5/10
Ander Herrera replaced Wijnaldum in the 66th minute, hoping to add freshness, energy and leadership in the middle of the park. It was a smart move by Pochettino, as the Spaniard helped PSG see out the game with a two-goal cushion.
Leandro Paredes: N/A
The rough tackling Leandro Paredes returned to the pitch by appearing as a late substitute. Did make one rash challenge and was given a yellow card. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Presnel Kimpembe: N/A
Replaced Diallo during the final phase of the game to allow PSG to operate more flexibly in defence. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Julian Draxler: N/A
A late replacement for Di Maria. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.