French giants Paris Saint-Germain beat Bordeaux 2-0 to go to the top of Ligue 1, one point ahead of rivals Monaco.
The fixture kicked off the fifth round of French top flight action, but the Parisians easily controlled the contest and finished off the "Les Girondins" with goals from Blaise Matuidi and Lucas Moura.
Only a handful of seasons ago, Bordeaux, led by Laurent Blanc, triumphed over the nation and won the French Championnat. Since then, they and the other unlikely champions (Lille and Montpellier) have predominantly been stripped of their stars and have sunk to the perhaps inevitable mediocrity.
This evening’s clash was another example of Bordeaux’s inability to keep pace with those now occupying the elite positions in the division.
The Bordelais were full of endeavour, determination and energy, but ultimately, they lacked the innovation or quality to trouble their illustrious opponents. This is the difference between the division’s top sides and the rest.
Unfortunately, the former champions now find themselves firmly in the second category.
Just the other week, Brazilian wunderkind Lucas Moura complained of lacking confidence and feeling a bit jaded with life in Paris. In truth, despite some glittering outings since arriving in the French capital, he hasn't truly begun to look worth the incredible €44.3 million that was spent to secure his signature.
With a strong tradition of fielding excellent Brazilian talent, Lucas could well be set to play a key role in the PSG project. Nights like tonight will give those treading the corridors of power at the Parc des Princes a sense of warmth.
The youngster finally broke his duck for Paris and sealed victory with the side’s second goal. His finish was incredibly calm and composed, and buoyed by confidence, his subsequent performance was devastating.
Blanc will be hoping that this is the start of something beautiful.
To say that Javier Pastore has been underwhelming since arriving in the French capital would be an understatement.
Arriving from Palermo in the summer of 2011, the young Argentine was supposed to be one of the faces of "Le Projet." However, while the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva have flourished in Ligue 1, the midfielder has struggled to find his feet amidst the ranked talent at the club.
While Lucas’s stunning performance will have delighted Blanc and Co., his increasing eminence further threatens to push Pastore to the peripheries of the team.
Arsene Wenger has voiced his concern at the playmaker’s decline and believes that the high expectations and criticisms that have characterised his time in the French capital are affecting his game.
It could be that a change of scene is exactly what the midfielder needs to kick start a career that is stalling badly. With Paris’ embarrassment of riches, he is unlikely to be missed.
Earlier in the season, after predicting a Paris/Monaco top two in the race for the title, I was criticised by some Bleacher Report readers who felt that the club of the Principality didn't have enough strength in depth to challenge near the top of the league.
However, heading into the fifth round of games, Ligue 1’s two richest sides have already taken over the top spots.
Obviously, there remains a long way to go, but Paris and Monaco have already scored more than anyone else and are the only two teams to remain unbeaten. Don't be surprised to see them leave Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Lyon et al. trailing in their wake as the weeks roll on.
While Bordeaux generally struggled to muster much of a threat against Paris, particularly once their defence was breached, credit must go to their frontman Cheick Diabate.
I have long been a fan of the powerful forward and often feature him in articles considering Africa’s best strikers.
The Mali man took his time to install himself at Bordeaux and had to undergo several loan moves at various French clubs before being taken seriously at the Stade Chaban Delmas.
The way the 6’4" hitman managed to trouble Thiago Silva this evening will not have gone unnoticed, and any number of European clubs looking for a powerful finisher may decide to head to the Gironde to take a closer look.
Even though Paris have spent approximately the equivalent of the construction of the Eiffel Tower on elite, top-class talent, this performance demonstrated that they are also building for the future.
As well as the aforementioned Lucas, who only recently turned 21, their team also featured a number of other developing talent this evening.
Having acquired Lucas Digne at great expense earlier in the summer, it is good to see him get game time. There were fears that moving to a major club too soon in his career might lead to stagnation, but the departures of Siaka Tiene and Mamadou Sakho will give him greater opportunities to impress. Evenings like this one will help him heap the pressure on Maxwell.
Elsewhere, Marco Verratti continues to develop into an excellent talent. His partnership with Blaise Matuidi in the heart of the park shows fine signs of maturation—the pair share some of the hallmarks of the Pirlo/Gattuso pivot that served Milan and Italy so finely.
Finally, young forward Hervin Ongenda made his first start for the club and looked bright and courageous. The diminutive forward has represented France at various youth levels, and although further opportunities will be hard to come by this term, he will look to have a long career in the capital.