Lucas Moura rescued Paris late on against Lille on Tuesday night in a game which Paris could barely afford to lose with their title defence on the line, despite it only being February.
Spectators of Ligue 1 this season have been privileged to fierce title race with Monaco and Nice in great form, much to the distaste of Paris who have dominated all domestic competitions in France recently. Therefore PSG could not afford to slip up against Lille and they nearly did so if it weren’t for Lucas Moura’s last minute winner.
Edinson Cavani opened the scoring for the hosts after several wasted chances beforehand. Di Maria’s free kick took a deflection and Cavani bagged his 23rd league goal off his shoulder. Les Parisiens looked set for all three points until Areola, who had come into the first team for injured Kevin Trapp, made a complete howler with the ball at his feet and gifted Lille hope of coming away with a point.
With knowledge that Monaco had already beaten Montpellier, Paris could not afford to drop the three points and in the 92nd minute, Cavani broke into space and his shot deflected off Enyeama and Lucas smashed it home for the win. The winner was controversial as Lucas was in an offside position but Les Rouge et Bleus will feel like they deserved the luck and the three points.
The first big talking point of the match was Unai Emery’s decision to deploy his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. It was hard to judge the impact it had in this match though. Despite going back to the typical 4-3-3 shape when the scores were still goalless, PSG were able to create several decent chances which they failed to capitalize on. Ben Arfa had a positive impact in the attacking midfield position and Angel Di Maria looked to really benefit out wide in the system. The Argentine seemed to be involved in nearly every good attack during the first half.
On the other hand, the flaws were very noticeable: Edinson Cavani looked isolated and was unable to make an impact on the game; The full backs, especially Serge Aurier, were inefficient too and Motta was not able to form a good enough relationship with Matuidi in midfield despite looking comfortable defensively.
The other talking point at the end of game, as well as the controversial winner, was Alfonse Areola. The Frenchman has retaken the Number 1 spot with Kevin Trapp out injured but he has looked anything but convincing all season and his blunder that could of so easily cost PSG their title defence may be the tipping point for the fans and media alike to turn on the goalkeeper.
Consistency is the key now for Paris and the three points is all that matters in the league in order to stay above Nice and challenge Monaco. However, clinical finishing and more tinkering with the teams is needed if PSG stand any chance of overcoming Barcelona this time next week.
Final Score: PSG 2-1 Lille
Top Performance: Angel Di Maria – El Fideo was inspirational on Tuesday. He crafted the opening goal and influential in all of Paris’ attacks in Emery’s new system.
Next Match: Bordeaux v PSG, Friday 10th February, 7:45pm