Paris Saint-Germain V Montpellier: 6 Things We Learned
It was all a little bit too easy for Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday night. They opened the scoring after just 90 seconds, and they never looked back. After enjoying the bulk of possession, they ended up 4-0 winners against Montpellier at the Parc des Princes.
Goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura and Adrien Rabiot were enough to seal the three points and finish the season on an enjoyable high. The fireworks and champagne were soon flowing as they celebrated lifting the Ligue 1 title with a comfortable stroll against a side with nothing to play for.
Lavezzi opened the scoring when Christophe Jallet’s shot was palmed straight into the Argentine’s path; good play from Ibrahimovic and Lucas Digne down the left forced two saves from Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren before Lavezzi knocked the ball into the net.
After 20 minutes Ibrahimovic made it 2-0 after he latched on to Javier Pastore’s lovely right-foot pass, the Swede calmly lifted the ball over Jourdren.
Just after half-time it was Lucas who made it 3-0. Again it was Pastore who provided the vital pass, and the Brazilian’s shot squeezed inside Jourdren’s near post.
The game petered out as Laurent Blanc ran the changes, using all three of his substitutes in the 63rd minute. Montpellier tried to take advantage of the lull in play, but they lacked the quality and determination to trouble Nicolas Douchez in the PSG net.
Adrien Rabiot wrapped up the victory in the 88th minute when he followed in Kingsley Coman’s shot, capitalising on Jourdren’s parried save. It summed up a comfortable victory and was the queue for the title celebrations to start.
Read on for a few more things we learned from Saturday night’s game.
Fast Start from PSG Ends Competitive Match
Going into the game, both sides already knew there was nothing to play for but pride. A number of players on both sides were reportedly playing their last game for their respective clubs, and no one wants to end their career on a bad note.
Both sides came out lively in the opening seconds, but within two minutes Paris Saint-Germain all but killed the game as a contest.
After Montpellier attempted their first attack, PSG went storming down the left flank. Ibrahimovic combined well with Digne; the cross was tipped by Jourdren, but only as far as Jallet. The Frenchman’s shot was saved, Montpellier failed to clear it again and Lavezzi turned it into the net.
Going 1-0 down within the second minute all but took the wind out of the Montpellier sails. No one comes from a goal down at the Parc des Princes to beat PSG, and it was unlikely to happen on Saturday night.
The goal signified the end of Montpellier’s season and sparked the start of PSG’s championship celebrations.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Ends Goal Drought
Going into the last game of the season, Ibrahimovic had failed to score in any of his last five games for the club, and it would have been a sour note to end the season on if he had failed to find the net against Montpellier on Saturday night.
It only took 20 minutes for the dry spell to come to an end, and it also ended the game as a contest. Pastore picked out the Swede with a lovely pass with the outside of his right boot, and the PSG No. 10 did the rest, lifting the ball over Jourdren in the Montpellier net.
That was Ibrahimovic’s 26th goal of the season, it leaves him four short of the 30 he scored last season, and it gives the forward something to aim for next season as he tries to break the 30-goal mark in Ligue 1.
The last player to achieve it was Jean-Pierre Papin for Marseille back in 1990, and it was one of Ibrahimovic’s personal goals for this season. Injury against Chelsea in the Champions League all but ended the record attempt.
With no World Cup to distract him, the big Swedish striker will be back and highly motivated next season. It would be a very brave person that doubted the talismanic striker's ability to be the man to break that record before retiring.
Lucas Fighting to the End for His World Cup Dream
Brazilian winger Lucas Moura was left out of the side when Paris Saint-Germain lost 2-1 on Rennes at the Parc des Princes last week. According to Laurent Blanc, the player was devastated by the news that he hadn’t been named in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s 23-man squad and would miss the World Cup in his home country.
Ever since the announcement, Lucas has been playing like a man possessed and has been superb in the wins against Lille and Montpellier. He had a hand in all three goals in the 3-1 win at Lille, that led to his inclusion in Scolari’s list of seven reserves.
On Saturday night against Montpellier, it was Lucas who once again made a significant contribution to PSG's victory. In the first half he hit the crossbar, he then forced a save from Jourdren after a blistering run. After the break he was rewarded with the goal he deserved.
Released down the right-flank by Pastore, the Brazilian looked like he was going to pick out a cross for Ibrahimovic; instead he rifled a shot inside Jourdren’s near post and put his side 3-0 up.
It is a shame that someone in the original Brazil 23-man squad would need to pick up an injury for Lucas to be part of this summer’s tournament, but with the form he is in right now, there are not many players who deserve the chance more than Lucas.
A Glimpse into the Future for PSG
For the last 25 minutes of Saturday night’s match, the PSG fans got a small glimpse of what could be the future of the club, and it was an exciting little taster.
The 17-year-old Kingsley Coman came on for Lavezzi with just over a quarter of the game to go joining fellow youngsters Digne, Marquinhos and Rabiot on the pitch as PSG sauntered to victory.
Marquinhos was rarely troubled at the back, and beside the experience of Alex, he look settled, composed and in control. Digne was a live-wire for the majority of the game, bombing up and down the left flank, looking more and more like a very exciting part of PSG’s future.
It was a rare start for 19-year-old Rabiot, but he enjoyed his full 90 minutes in the PSG midfield. He rarely lost possession, spraying the ball around like he had been playing at the Parc des Princes for the last 10 years, never looking rushed or in trouble.
Then Coman got his chance; there were glimpses of magic and trickery from the youngster, and he very nearly was rewarded for his high-tempo cameo. After a little flick pass from Pastore, Coman burst into the box; his shot was saved, but Rabiot was there to turn it home to make the score 4-0.
Some of the youngsters may have to go out on loan next season to play the amount of football they need to develop into stars, but if they continue on this path, they all showed they are very capable of playing an important part at this level.
Inspired Performance from Javier Pastore
There is a very good chance that the game against Montpellier could be the last time Pastore ever dons Les Rouges-et-Bleu as he has been heavily linked with a move away this summer, per Anthony Chapman of the Sunday Express. If it is his last performance, he will be very happy with the way it ended.
Three of PSG’s four goals involved the Argentine midfielder, and there were a lot of little flicks and tricks that were so close to coming off for the home side, the score could have easily been five or six if Pastore’s great play had come to more on the night.
According to WhoScored.com, no one in the PSG side touched the ball more than Pastore, and it was unfortunate that he wasn’t able to get his name on the scoresheet. He seemed more determined to create chances for his team-mates than to look for a goal himself.
Overall, there is little doubt his time in Paris hasn’t quite lived up to the high expectations following his €42 million move from Palermo, but if it is his last game at the Parc des Princes, he has left the Parisian fans with fond memories of his ability. It is just a shame that he hasn't been able to show it on a more consistent basis.
Goodbye Remy Cabella
It has been a fantastic few years for Montpellier’s No. 10 Remy Cabella. He burst onto the scene as an exciting 21-year-old, and against Paris Saint-Germain in the Parc des Princes, he played his last game for the 2012 Ligue 1 Champions.
It wasn’t the final performance he would have hoped for; the early goal conceded to the home side made Montpellier’s task all but impossible, and Cabella struggled to dictate traffic in the final third.
There are no real indications as to where Cabella will play next season. He posted a picture on Instagram last week declaring it was his last game at the Stade de la Mosson, but with his inclusion in Didier Deschamps’ World Cup reserve squad, chances are, there will be a few sides after his signature this summer.
Cabella ends the season with 14 goals and five assists. It shows his continued improvement as an attacking force, it's his highest ever goal tally in one season, and it has come as part of a Montpellier side that has struggled for the majority of the season.
Saturday night may be the last time we see Cabella in Ligue 1, but he has been a wonderful player to watch grow. He will definitely be missed at Montpellier, and he will be missed be anyone who watches Ligue 1 on a regular basis.