Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Guide PSG Past Lille in Ligue 1 Showdown

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 02: Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain / PSG celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille at Parc des Princes on November 2, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain's perfect start to the Ligue 1 season continued on Friday, as the defending champions beat second-placed Lille 2-1 at home. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar got the goals for PSG in the second half.

The Brazilian's through ball after 70 minutes took a slight deflection, giving Mbappe the opportunity to curl the ball home from outside the box. Neymar doubled the advantage in the final 10 minutes.

Lille had done a marvelous job frustrating PSG until the first goal fell and hit back through Nicolas Pepe from the penalty spot, but it was too little too late.

PSG have now won 12 in a row in Ligue 1 and pushed their lead to double digits over Les Dogues.


Cavani Can't be Sold Despite Neymar, Mbappe Late Goals

PSG started Friday's match at the top of the standings without the injured Edinson Cavani, pushing Mbappe in a leading role with Neymar and Angel Di Maria playing off him.

Goal noted Cavani's excellent scoring form the last year and the transfer speculation surrounding him, as he's being linked with Napoli:

Goal @goal

📰 Rumours are linking him with a return to Napoli, but can PSG really afford to let Cavani leave?! https://t.co/6Gze1Kvma2

Friday's contest made it clear Les Parisiens can't afford to part with the Uruguay international at this point. While the Ligue 1 champions had plenty of possession, the lack of a dominant central option limited the space around the box and made it relatively easy for Lille to put pressure on the ball in the first half.

PSG had their chances but Mbappe and Di Maria in particular struggled to deal with the press from the defenders. They could have used a quality target to fire crosses into the box or someone who could hold up the ball while they cut into the danger areas, which is normally Cavani's job.

PSG did eventually find the breakthrough but both the pass that led to the first goal and the strike on the second came as result of deflections. Les Parisiens deserved the win, but they got lucky, nonetheless.

The former Napoli man isn't a perfect striker but he's a great fit for what PSG want to do, and finding a quality replacement wouldn't be easy. PSG can't part with him until they have someone who can properly replicate his skillset inside the box.


Maignan Should Get France Call-Up

Hugo Lloris has been France's top option in goal for years but Les Bleus have been preparing for the future for some time now. The Tottenham Hotspur man has always been error-prone and is 31 years old, so bringing young talent into the fold is a priority.

PSG's Alphonse Areola and Fiorentina's Alban Lafont are two talented stoppers who seem set to battle it out for the starting position at some point in the future, but Lille's Mike Maignan deserves a look as well.

The former PSG academy starlet has been a big reason behind Lille's fine start to the season and made several key saves at the Parc des Princes on Friday. At 23 years old he's still young and has ample room for growth, but he has enough of a track record at this point to merit a spot in France's national team setup.


What's Next?

PSG face Napoli on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League. Lille's next outing will be against Strasbourg on next Friday.