Refreshed Neymar 9/10 as PSG restore their nine-point Ligue 1 lead

Refreshed Neymar 9/10 as PSG restore their nine-point Ligue 1 lead
From ESPN - December 16, 2017

Paris Saint-Germain restored their nine-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a 4-1 win away at Rennes on Saturday. Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar -- a self-sufficient MCN -- all scored and assisted from within as Unai Emery's men displayed both their ferocious attack and fragile defence at Roazhon Park.


Back in Paris, back in the squad and back in the PSG starting XI, Neymar produced his best performance in months and scored two goals and set up two more. The Brazilian superstar looked more invested than he has in a while, which is very encouraging.

One of Neymar's two partners in Les Parisiens' attack, Mbappe, was also in good form. The France international scored one and teed up two more, scaring the life out of the Rennes defence with his searing pace.

Thiago Motta's late return to action was a big boost for PSG. It's not necessarily because of what he brings physically, but because of what he brings mentally, plus the fact that he is a natural deep-lying schemer. Giovani Lo Celso gave it a fair go in Rennes.


PSG's defence still looks extremely fragile and they have now conceded 12 goals from their last nine appearances across all competitions. Emery needs to fix this ahead of the second half of the season by trying different back-four combinations, but needs help from sporting director Antero Henrique in the January transfer window because a fourth central defender is a must.

Presnel Kimpembe illustrated that point well with his second-half red card after two bookings, which gave Rennes a penalty. Luckily for the youth academy graduate, captain Thiago Silva is back in training and likely to be fit in time to face Caen at home next week.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Emery went with the strongest possible starting XI he could field, with Motta far from fully fit. The defence and midfield need some work, but the attack sparkled and that was more than enough in Brittany.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Alphonse Areola, 6 -- There was not much the homegrown shot-stopper could have done to prevent Ndombe Mubele's goal for Rennes, but the Frenchman still made a few other useful interventions, notably an unorthodox save with his head when it was still 2-1 to PSG.

DF Dani Alves, 5 -- The Brazil international was not at his best, but did not have to be. The 34-year-old was required to do less going forward with Mbappe and Neymar in superlative form.

DF Marquinhos, 5 -- The Brazilian was captain again and the armband appears to be weighing him down at present. Once Silva is back, the lightened responsibility should aid him, but the winter break cannot come fast enough with some recharging needed.


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