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PSG and Javier Pastore Destroy Lyon 4-1 to Lift Trophee Des Champions

Andrew Gibney@@gibney_aFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2016

Players of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate with the trophy after winning the French Supercup Champions trophy (Trophée des Champions) football match Paris Saint-Germain vs Olympique Lyonnais in Klagenfurt, Austria, on August 6, 2016. / AFP / BORIS HORVAT        (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)
BORIS HORVAT/Getty Images

On Saturday night, in Klagenfurt, Austria, Paris Saint-Germain, with Argentinian playmaker Javier Pastore at the forefront of the attack, put the rest of Ligue 1 on notice.

The Parisians didn't just win the Trophee des Champions, the first silverware of the season, they sent a message to the rest of France and Europe with their 4-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais.

Under Unai Emery, it seems there will be no post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangover. PSG are here to play, and they look set to destroy all challengers.

Bruno Genesio, the Lyon coach, sent out a very strong XI to compete with the French champions, but he got his tactics all wrong.

Nabil Fekir joined Maxwel Cornet and Alexandre Lacazette in attack, but only six of OL's 16 shots found the target.

The midfield of Corentin Tolisso, Sergi Darder, and Maxime Gonalons controlled plenty of the ball—not something PSG under Laurent Blanc had to deal with often—but even with 58.7 per cent possession, they were never really in charge.

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PSG played with purpose, directness and pace. Lyon, to their downfall, played a high defensive line, and Jeremy Morel, Nicolas Nkoulou, Mapou Yanga M'Biwa and Rafael were caught out time and time again.

Lyon failed to put pressure on the Parisian midfield, and with David Luiz, Thiago Motta, and Benjamin Stambouli allowed time and space to pick their passes, the attack thrived.

Angel Di Maria told the official PSG website after the game:

It's never easy to win, and even more so to continue to do it. We have had an excellent pre-season. Everyone has played and everyone feels involved. It's important. We have worked a lot with the new technical staff and you can see the result on the pitch: we press more, we go forward more quickly. The coach asks a lot of us, but you can already see the result with a first trophy.

The Argentinian forward started on the left, different from his role under Blanc last term, but he was allowed to drift, find space and make sure he was always available for the ball.

Hatem Ben Arfa played as the false nine, and although he scored PSG's third, he was fairly quiet compared to his team-mates. The real standout player on show was the other Argentinian on the pitch, Javier Pastore.

Pastore showed why he deserves the No.10 jersey this season.
Pastore showed why he deserves the No.10 jersey this season.BORIS HORVAT/Getty Images

Even before the opening goal, it was clear "El Flaco" was in the mood. He was everywhere looking for the ball. One moment he was moving deep beside Motta and Stambouli, the over he was up with Ben Arfa, which made it very difficult for Lyon to pick up the No. 10.

Lyon actually gave PSG an early scare when Fekir put the ball in the net following a shot from Morel, but the France international was offside—moments later, the favourites were in front.

Layvin Kurzawa, with what would be a feature during the match, burst down the left flank and played in a beautiful deep cross to the back post. Once the ball had missed Di Maria centrally, it fell to Pastore, and the 27-year-old met it perfectly on the volley to smash it past Anthony Lopes.

Ten minutes later it was 2-0, and Pastore was at the heart of the move. He was slipped in down the left by Di Maria, and he then had the sense to square the ball across looking for the onrushing Lucas Moura. Although the goal was officially given to the Brazilian, it did look like Morel got the last touch, bundling the ball beyond Lopes.

Lyon struggled to cope with that attacking trio throughout the game. They have pace, guile and the instincts to find space, move where others are not and spread the defence thinly across the park.

When you then add the power of attacking full backs Kurzawa and Serge Aurier, you have five players determined to play on the break at pace, and that doesn't include Ben Arfa or Edinson Cavani when he returns to action.

At times it was frightening just how much time and space PSG created. Lyon looked like they had set up for an attack that featured a player like Ibrahimovic, someone you have to press high up the pitch. As soon as Genesio's team were clear in their tactics, PSG, with Pastore bursting into life, absolutely destroyed them.

Offering a scary observation for the rest of the league, Emery admitted after the game:

I'm happy with this win and the team's display, even if we can still improve things. The team has worked hard throughout pre-season, and we took on an extra dimension this evening. It was a difficult game. Lyon had possession, but we managed to come out on top. The league is going to be difficult, but I'm confident the team will give its best.

What is worrying for any future opponents right now is that PSG can only get better.

Without Thiago Silva and Marquinhos, the defence, beaten by a late Tolisso header, will only get better.

Marco Verratti made his return with just over 20 minutes to go. His ability to pass and find the runs of the attack is only going to make the front line even more dangerous.

Add in Blaise Matuidi, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Cavani, Jean-Kevin Augustin and the possible signing of Real Madrid's Jese, as Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane noted in a press conference, and it's hard to see how any club, at least domestically, competes this term.

President Nasser Al-Khelaifi told the PSG website after the game: 

It's very important for the club to win the Trophee des Champions, but it is also for me and the fans. We have started the season with a great victory against a very good Lyon team. We really played some good football. The players did their best. I'm very happy that we have started the season with another trophy. We mustn't forget that there is still a lot of work to be done. If we want to go as far as possible in all competitions, we will also have to work on the details. I'm sure that the new coach is already working on that.

When the president mentions all competitions, he means specifically the Champions League.

That is where they need to show that same attacking instinct. Press the opposition, hit with speed and accuracy on the break and if they can continue to find the net like they did on Saturday night, they will be a difficult side to beat.

Di Maria was excellent on Saturday night.
Di Maria was excellent on Saturday night.SAMUEL KUBANI/Getty Images

PSG scored four goals from just 10 shots, seven of which hit the target. In all honesty, they should have scored more.

Di Maria nearly found the net from just inside the Lyon half but for a great save from Lopes. Pastore chipped over the bar from close range, and Lucas underhit a lob straight into Lopes' arms.

This was a completely dominant display from the champions. Lyon played into PSG's trap and no team in Ligue 1 will try to set up with such a high line, but if Pastore can stay in this sort of mood and keep himself fit and healthy, he could be the difference this term and the No. 10 that PSG have been looking for since they bought him from Palermo in 2011.

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