PSG vs. Bastia: Winners and Losers from Ligue 1

Andrew Gibney@@gibney_aFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2016

PSG vs. Bastia: Winners and Losers from Ligue 1

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    Xavier Laine/Getty Images

    Paris Saint-Germain started their 2016 league form just how they finished 2015, beating SC Bastia, 2-0, at the Parc des Princes on Friday night.

    First-half goals from Thiago Silva and Maxwell gave them a 2-0 lead, and that’s all they needed to secure their first three points of 2016.

    Bastia’s game plan was clear from the start. Ghislain Printant set his side up to play 4-4-2, with two clear banks of four set up to protect Jean-Louis Leca in goal.

    Every time they got the ball back, the Corsican side looked to attack on the break, but they lacked the quality to really pressure the PSG back line.

    Seko Fofana had two good chances from the edge of the box but failed to ask questions of Kevin Trapp.

    Their plan worked for 29 minutes before Thiago Motta turned in Silva’s back-post header.

    Laurent Blanc’s side now hold a 22-point lead at the top of the table, before the other 18 teams have a chance to play this weekend.

    Here are the winners and losers from PSG’s 2-0 win over SC Bastia.

Winner: Angel Di Maria

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    The Argentine forward has been outstanding for the French club this season. That continued on Friday. The first goal came from a wicked in-swinging corner from the right. Silva ghosted in at the back post to get just enough on the ball that saw it squeeze past Leca, and Motta provided the finishing touch.

    "It's a beauty!" A thunderous Maxwell volley doubles @PSG_inside's lead on their return to #Ligue1 action. #BTEFS

    — BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) January 8, 2016

    Just before the half-time whistle, it was the former Manchester United man who picked out the marauding Maxwell with a lovely ball over the top of the defence. Gilles Cioni stuck out a boot, but he only helped the full-back, propping the ball up before the Brazilian smashed it past Leca.

Loser: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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    Not that the big Swedish striker played that badly against Bastia—it just wasn’t his night.

    Most of the time, he was either offside or the killer pass didn’t come off when in possession. A rare off night after recent performances.

    Bastia tried to be stubborn and well-organised. It worked for long spells of the game, and Ibrahimovic wasn’t given a lot of space to create anything, making him rush his passes. Too often he turned the ball over.

Winner: Javier Pastore

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    Through a number of fitness issues, Javier Pastore hadn’t played for PSG since they beat Bastia, 2-0, at the Stade Armand Cesari—that came back in October.

    Making his entrance after 63 minutes, replacing Marco Verratti, the Parc des Princes crowd let their feelings be known, giving the Argentine playmaker a warm reception.

    The return of @Javi_Pastore #PSGSCB

    — PSG English (@PSG_English) January 8, 2016

    There were no clear signs of rustiness, with the former Palermo man trying to link up with his team-mates, always with an eye on that killer pass.

    It didn’t quite come off, but it is great to see him back on the pitch.

Loser: Kevin Trapp

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    Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

    The goalkeeping position is quickly becoming the weak point of this current PSG team.

    Trapp may have logged a clean sheet on Friday, but it wasn’t through an excellent display between the posts.

    Bastia only managed five shots, none of them finding the target. However, in the second half, after it looked like the German had made a routine catch, he fumbled the ball and give Bastia a chance at clawing their way back into the game.

    Bastia chance! Trapp spills the ball & the visitors nearly scramble in a goal. #PSGSCB

    — Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) January 8, 2016

    Luckily it came to nothing, but it once again highlighted the problems Trapp has brought to the team this season. Once the pressure of the Champions League hits, can Blanc truly trust the man he has picked as his No. 1?