Takeaways from Le Classique30 Oct 2018
Scheduled within a week with European Cup fixtures, Le Classique produced what appeared to be a comfortable victory for the visitors, if you only looked at the full time score. After drawing at home against Naples (2-2) on Wednesday in Europe, the Parisians kept their pace in the league but les Olympiens face a different challenge after to their defeat against Lazio.
An original configuration
For various reasons, Rudi Garcia and Thomas Tuchel made strong lineup choices. For his part, the OM coach tried something new by positioning Dimitri Payet in the forefront of his attack. It was an option that made the captain the first defender, a defensive role to hinder the center of the Parisian ball circulation. With Cavani injured, the German technician left Kylian Mbappé and Adrien Rabiot on the bench. He thus gave a first start to Cameroonian Éric Choupo-Moting.
A scenario as cold as PSG
Welcomed by an electric and energized audience for the big night, OM stood up with a quality opposition equal to the Ligue 1-leader. The Starting XI for Rudi Garcia thwarted Paris' game for an hour. Until Kylian Mbappé, entering the 62nd minute, brokethrough with his second touch following a quick attack (65th). PSG had more control and possession (53% against 47% for OM), but les Olympiens reduced the spaces in the collective recovery. They were in the game. The game could have been quite different if the referee had resorted to VAR on a waved-off goal by Kostas Mitroglou (86th). Insensitive or unperturbed, PSG killed les Olympiens hope with a last-moment finish by Julian Draxler (90 + 2).
The foundation is there
The biggest takeaways from the first defeat at the Orange Velodrome in Ligue 1: there are two.
First of all, Luiz Gustavo and Co. were combative and faced adversity. With 58.6% of duels won in the match, OM doubted its opponent - who leads the league. That's a real point of satisfaction.
Another positive point, the veterans showed their rank. Whether Steve Mandanda, making save after save, Adil Rami, Gustavo or Florian Thauvin, back after two weeks of rehabilitation, the experienced players showed the way for their younger teammates to follow.
So yes, unfortunately PSG won Le Classique and continues to challenge everyone in the league. But OM faced it head on, thanks to a boisterous and loyal support. The next match will be played on 4 November, at Montpellier, the current third place team in the table.