Given the off-pitch disarray at Marseille, there was little doubt that PSG had the clear upper hand going into the 106th Classique clash. Having already bounced back from a home defeat to Nice last week by seeing off Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, the champions were now looking to confirm their return to form.
A ruthless display against their arch rivals – anchored by the all-conquering two-man midfield of Manuel Ugarte and Warren Zaïre-Emery – has secured the statement result of Luis Enrique’s reign so far.
To an extent, interim coach Pancho Abardonado’s five-man defence kept the hosts at bay in the first half – the Marseille defence could scarcely do much about the two goals they conceded. Achraf Hakimi struck first with a free-kick from range into the top corner, putting the hosts ahead within 8 minutes.
Randal Kolo Muani then duly opened his PSG account when presented with an open-goal opportunity – the Moroccan full-back once again the catalyst, his long-range effort hitting the post, then bouncing off an unsuspecting López before falling into the striker’s path. Kylian Mbappé would limp off soon after – the ankle issue he picked up at the start of the game ostensibly not going away. Gonçalo Ramos, fresh off an encouraging cameo in the Champions League but still goalless for PSG, came on in his place.
The champions laid to rest any doubts about the result straight after the break, and continued an evening of firsts as Dembélé’s whipped cross was headed into the bottom corner by Ramos. A much-needed confidence-booster for the newly-arrived Portuguese forward – and for the winger, it was a first goal contribution since joining from Barcelona.
Abardonado’s men barely threatened from then on – in fact they, did not manage a single shot on target all game. The few times PSG gave the ball away high up the pitch, they self-sabotaged their counter-attacks with muddled passing and a lack of understanding. The hosts, though, scored with their own move on the break at the end of the game, Ramos beating López for the second time after Kolo Muani’s end-to-end run down the right wing.
For Marseille, the backroom turmoil has now spilled over onto the pitch. With no discernible leaders on the pitch and a lack of clarity in the club’s overall project for the time being, it’s hard to see this season as anything other than a write-off for OM. Next week’s trip to Monaco could prove to be another trying evening.
Although Mbappé’s injury could eventually come to overshadow the result somewhat, PSG’s attacking potency even without the league’s top scorer will be a major source of encouragement. The champions are now up to third place, two points off the leaders, Brest (!).
PSG player ratings:
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6
Achraf Hakimi, 7 – The Moroccan continues his upturn in form since the start of the new season, scoring a ferocious free-kick early on before effectively setting up the second. Marseille were unable to handle his attacking threat down the right wing, while the wing-back also confidently held his ground when called into action defensively.
Milan Škriniar, 6
Lucas Hernández, 6 – Leaves the attacking theatrics to his right-sided counterpart, but nevertheless an assured performance from the Frenchman, who efficiently dealt with the few counter-attacking opportunities Marseille had.
Warren Zaïre-Emery, 7
Manuel Ugarte, 8 – It’s no wonder Luis Enrique only named two midfielders in the starting eleven – the Uruguayan’s constant recoveries and work rate both on and off the ball allow him to cover the entire midfield sector. Ligue 1’s signing of the season so far.
Bradley Barcola, 6
Ousmane Dembélé, 6 – The Frenchman’s characteristically incisive dribbles were finally rewarded with a goal contribution, as he found Gonçalo Ramos for the third goal. Replaced by Fabián Ruiz in the final twenty minutes.
Randal Kolo Muani, 6
Kylian Mbappé, N/A – The Ligue 1 top scorer twisted his ankle early on, tried to soldier on, but eventually conceded defeat and limped off on the half-hour mark. Replaced by Gonçalo Ramos, who after a timid start scored his first goal for PSG immediately after the break, from a pin-point Dembélé cross. The new signing put the final nail in Marseille’s coffin, finishing off a Kolo Muani-led counter for the fourth of the game.
Marseille player ratings:
Pau López, 4
Jonathan Clauss, 5 – The only Marseille player to show some level of incisiveness, having found space behind Hernandez several times in the first half – but he was rarely able to make anything of those chances.
Chancel Mbemba, 5
Samuel Gigot, 4
Leonardo Balerdi, 4
Renan Lodi, 5
Valentin Rongier, 4
Azzedine Ounahi, 4
Jordan Veretout, 4
Vitinha, 4 – Showed more involvement than his attacking partner – winning some of his duels and completing a dribble – but similarly struggled to make an impact in front of goal. Brought off for Iliman Ndiaye at half-time, the Senegal international providing a couple of isolated flashes without really creating anything either.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 3 – The former Arsenal man is unable to replicate his performances on the European stage – he scored a double in midweek – in domestic play. An ineffectual outlet for Marseille in the few chances they had to attack
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin