Ligue 1, Round 12, 11/11/23
Today’s thrilling Ligue 1 game saw Reims and PSG go back and forth in an attack-heavy display. A wonderful match from a neutral standpoint, as the home team’s relentless pressing clashed with the visitors’ quick counters and technical excellence, ultimately ending in a 0-3 win for the reigning champions.
Regardless of Kylian Mbappé’s (24) early goal (3′), Will Still’s tactical approach saw his team generate most of the chances, but Gianluigi Donnarumma’s (24) heroic shot stopping kept Reims attackers at bay with 4 key saves, leaving Junya Ito (30) and his partners frustrated.
Half-time choice from Luis Enrique meant Gonçalo Ramos (22) was to leave his spot to Portugal teammate Vitinha (23), which proved a decisive adjustment, as the now over-loaded Parisian midfield found it easier to create space between the lines and play out of opposition pressure.
As the match played on, the Rémois’ first-half energy-consuming efforts came back to bite them, as seemingly heavy legs and less efficient defensive returns meant more room was to be found behind the defenders. Similar plays with right-sided runs from both Carlos Soler (26) and Bradley Barcola (21), subsequently finding Mbappé in the box, allowed the Frenchman to score two more and seal the win for his team.
Reims player ratings
Yehvann Diouf – 4
Emmanuel Agbadou – 5
Joseph Okumu – 4
Yunis Abdelhamid – 3
Thomas Foket – 3
Thibault De Smet – 2 – though his offensive presence and pressing work were average, the Belgian’s defensive performance left a lot to be desired. Too lax in interventions, always caught out of position, the three Parisian goals all originated from his flank. Though he could have expected more help from his teammates in defending his side, it’s a night to be forgotten for the 25-year-old.
Junya Ito – 7 – Reims’ offensive ace didn’t disappoint, with another key performance. Coming low to collect, he often carried the ball towards the final third, attracting defenders and creating space in the process. He even equalized with the only shot of the night to beat Donnarumma, before the goal was denied for an offside position from the passer. He proved a very tough client for opposition partnership Škriniar and Mukiele, but ultimately lacked that hint of luck, and killer instinct, to get onto the scoresheet.
Amir Richardson – 7 – the tall midfielder played a vital role in leading his team’s press, always positioned very high up the field and recuperating the ball. His distribution was also valuable in picking out his wingers deep, sending Daramy through to assist Ito before the goal was ruled offside. He also could have gotten himself on the scoresheet a few times, for instance on his close-range shot following a corner, saved by Donnarumma (39′).
Azor Matsusiwa – 6
Mohamed Daramy – 7 – Carlos Soler will probably be having nightmares tonight from defending against the young winger. His quick turns and changes of pace meant the Spaniard spent most of the first half staring at his heels, as Daramy burst down the wing. The 2 fouls against him in interesting positions gifted his team with valuable freekicks, which unfortunately for them didn’t pay off. An exciting performance nonetheless.
Marshall Munetsi – 6
PSG player ratings
Gianluigi Donnarumma – 9 – the home team’s high-pressing and final third presence meant the Italian goalkeeper had his hands full, and he didn’t disappoint. Reflex saves on Amir Richardson’s close-range effort (39′), and Emmanuel Agbadou’s powerful header (55′), were the best of the bunch from his clean-sheet-keeping performance.
Nordi Mukiele – 4
Milan Škriniar – 4
Marquinhos – 6
Carlos Soler – 5 – playing in a role which usually isn’t his, the habitual midfielder had a difficult first half defending against turning and twisting winger Mohamed Daramy (21). Ito’s freekick following his foul on the Danish winger just outside of the box could have cost his team a goal if it weren’t for another Donnarumma save. His perfectly timed pass to assist Mbappé’s second goal saves an overall difficult performance.
Fabián Ruiz – 7 – good performance from the Spaniard who was precious in the first half, utilizing his ball-carrying skills to assist the PSG defence in playing out of the back and resisting the opposition press. A few good offensive runs rounded out an overall solid outing.
Warren Zaïre-Emery – 6
Kylian Mbappé – 8 – apart from his quick goal, the 24-year-old was relatively silent in the first half, barring a few fancy dribbles from the left flank. After Gonçalo left the pitch, and more central areas were to be occupied, he progressively came to life, always making himself available and poaching on in-the-box gaps to bag his hat-trick. He could have scored more if it weren’t for Yehvann Diouf’s intelligent goalkeeping (67′) or the crossbar (86′).
Ousmane Dembélé – 8 – the type of performance the Frenchman should be giving every game considering his talent and on-the-ball ability. Even without his perfect assist for Mbappé only a few minutes into the game, the winger’s performance was decisive, carrying superbly and attempting to create differences every time he received the ball, even coming lower down the field at times to participate in the build-up.
Kang-in Lee – 6
Gonçalo Ramos – 4 – replaced by Vitinha (6)