Paris Saint-Germain’s comprehensive 5-0 victory over FC Nantes at the Parc des Princes restored their five-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 on Sunday.
The champions were dominant from first to last, despite not being at their absolute best, profiting from a number of sloppy defensive mistakes from their visitors.
Goals from Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Edinson Cavani and a double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw PSG open their account for 2014 at home in sensational style.
"It was a very positive evening," PSG coach Laurent Blanc told PSG.fr (in English) after the final whistle. "We dominated every facet of the match, offensively and defensively."
"I am very satisfied this evening, for the individuals but also for the team as a whole. It bodes well for the rest of the championship and it also proves that we worked well during the Qatar Winter Tour."
"We attack 2014 with a lot of ambition in order to reach our objectives."
Ibrahimovic moves up to 17 goals for the season, 13 shy of last campaign’s total of 30, while strike partner Cavani is now on 13.
Here are six things we learned from PSG's 5-0 mauling of Nantes.
Since Laurent Blanc took over at PSG, one of the most impressive things that he has managed to achieve is that even in looking “average” his team have been able to thoroughly dominate their opponents.
The minimum acceptable performance has now been raised so high that the side from the capital can dominate games without even getting out of third gear.
This is particularly the case in Ligue 1, with the 5-0 win over Nantes was no exception.
PSG enjoyed 68 percent of the possession over the 90 minutes and attempted 908 passes, completing 837 of them. That is a record Ligue 1 total since Opta started analysing the competition.
The champions' second half performance was also much improved on their first, despite the fact that they were still 2-0 up at the break.
Blanc’s men may have turned on the style toward the end, but the PSG’s ball retention is effortless even when they are not rampaging forward at every opportunity.
Nantes have been the surprise package in Ligue 1 so far this season and sat in sixth position going into this weekend.
However, the difference between being a side challenging for a place in the top five or six and actually being a team in that band, is big.
In order to really consider themselves a part of that group, Michel der Zakarian’s side must stop conceding sloppy goals.
Both of PSG’s first-half strikes came from avoidable set pieces. One was a corner that was inadequately dealt with by Nantes’ goalkeeper Remy Riou after Edinson Cavani’s header, and the other was a soft penalty.
All three of the champions’ second half efforts also had an element of defensive ineptitude about them.
In order to push on and become the same power that they once were in French football, Les Canaris have to become difficult to beat once again and that must start at the back.
The 5-0 win over Nantes was significant for more reasons than just the comprehensive score line and the fact that it re-establishes PSG’s five-point lead at the top of Ligue 1.
It was the champions’ first clean sheet for over a month, and goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was barely tested.
Not since the victory over FC Sochaux-Montbeliard, by the same score, had PSG kept out their opponents.
That run stretched three Ligue 1 games, seven in all competitions, and PSG are now level on 14 goals conceded with AS Monaco, and only Lille OSC can boast a tighter back line in Le Championnat.
Although they were already 1-0 down when he left the pitch, the absence of Jordan Veretout for Nantes after 29 minutes underlined his importance to the team.
Michel der Zakarian’s men struggled without the dynamic midfielder and went on to lose the battle in the centre of the park after his exit following a crunching 50/50 challenge with PSG captain Thiago Silva.
Les Canaris will hope that his injury is not too serious as he will be integral to their hopes of overcoming the eventual 5-0 drubbing when they host PSG in the Coupe de la Ligue semifinals at the start of February.
The potential trio of Veretout, fellow youth academy graduate Adrien Trebel and Lucas Deaux promises much for the side from West France.
Prior to the match, PSG’s lack of depth in central midfield was exposed this week by the knee injury suffered by midfielder Adrien Rabiot.
Although not expected to keep him out for too long, the absence will almost certainly prompt Laurent Blanc to add to his squad.
Le President has already bemoaned the absence of at least one creative midfielder on a number of occasions, and it is difficult to see him resisting the need to spend this month.
Rabiot’s absence underlines that PSG cannot continue to play with three central midfielders with only Javier Pastore as backup.
The decision to bring the excellent Marco Verratti and third goal scorer Thiago Motta off early, playing central defender Marquinhos in place of the latter for over 20 minutes, illustrates that point further.
Nantes are currently facing up to the prospect of life without their top scorer this season, Filip Djordjevic.
The Serbian marksman, who is enduring a run of 692 minutes without a Ligue 1 goal, has scored eight times already this campaign and is currently out of contract at the end of the season.
It appears unlikely that the 26-year-old will extend his stay at the Stade de la Beaujoire, so what next for him and for Nantes?
Well his potential next destination is not yet known, but Michel der Zakarian will struggle to replace him as any move would leave Les Canaris without any compensation.