PSG entered 2023 undefeated in all competitions but they couldn't stop a first-tier Lens side that run circles around them. Paris Saint-Germain lost 3-1 to Lens on the 17th match day of the 2022-23 Ligue 1 and now only boasts a four-point distance from the second-place Lens.
To say Sunday's game was embarrassing for PSG, their players, and their coach would be praising the minimal effort from the capital club. Paris Saint-Germain was bad against Strasbourg on Wednesday but somehow, someway, found their way toward another victory. That wasn't the case on New Year, as Lens was far and away the absolute best team on the football pitch.
The defensive line of PSG was an absolute mess, but the final outcome was easily predictable judging by the line's construction. Achraf Hakimi played reasonably well on the unnatural (for him) left flank. Nordi Mukiele played on the right and was perhaps the best player on the pitch for PSG.
Marquinhos and Sergio Ramos, though, looked closer to retiring and playing for Al-Nasser than a pairing of elite-level defenders.
The captain of PSG, Marquinhos, had a nightmarish night and was beyond mediocre in critical moments, more concerned with arguing calls and getting his ankles broken than stopping Lens attackers. The veteran Spaniard, Sergio Ramos, could have very well got a shot of oxygen every ten minutes to boost his stamina because he looked old, slow, and completely out-timed nearly on a play-by-play basis.
Lens ran PSG out of the stadium embarrasing the Parisian team from start to finish and inflicting a 3-1 defeat on PSG
"We can be proud of ourselves tonight. We are the first team to bring them down this season, so it's a pleasure," Seko Fofana said after the game. Fofana, the captain of Lens and the midfielder-honcho of the squad, was clearly the Man of the Match on Sunday,
Five minutes into this game Lens had already opened the score with Przemysław Frankowski finishing a play that PSG should be ashamed of having allowed to develop and finish as it did.
Hugo Ekitike scored the draw just three minutes later on a rather dubious and controversial play ending in a goal that could very well have been ruled off considering the youngster kicked the ball off GK Brice Samba's hands.
It was all pain for PSG after that, though, with the team not having the tiniest of clues of what they were doing or, better said, what Lens were doing to them.
After Seko Fofana filtered an extraordinary, line-breaking pass coming off a ball recovered in the final fourth, Lens' Lois Openda danced around Marquinhos to bag the second of the night for the Sang et Or just a before the 30-minute mark of the first half.
Marquinhos thought the best thing he could do to prevent Lens from scoring was to argue a call with the assistant referee. Of course, that and a lost ball by a dreadful Fabian Ruiz led to the third and final goal by Lens, this one scored by Alexis Claude-Maurice only a couple of minutes after the break.
Kylian Mbappe seemingly played in this game. Or at least that's what the press is reporting on today because he was barely seen on the field of play. Danilo (who shouldn't have played on Sunday at all) was very well seen, which doesn't mean he was any good for PSG looking lost in the middle of the pitch and far from hitting peak match shape.
It was the second time this season for PSG allowing three goals (they did so in late October against Troyes, though they still won 4-3 back then) and the first time losing a competitive match in the 2022-23 season. It was, also, the second time they couldn't count on either Messi or Neymar, and both times PSG floundered: a 0-0 draw against Reims, and Sunday's 3-1 loss at Lens.
Between the goals allowed in the game against Troyes and Sunday's matchup, PSG has now conceded 60% of all of their goals this season in just those two matches alone. More worryingly, though, PSG has barely edged the second-place team in Ligue 1 while losing to their most-immediate pursuers in the table in a span of five days. Ominous developments with Bayern Munich lurking.
After 25 unbeaten games, PSG lost to Lens. This is Christophe Galtier's first defeat with Paris Saint-Germain and the first for PSG since March 20, 2022, in Monaco (3-0).
PSG visit Chateauroux next Friday (9 PM local time) as part of the Coupe de France Round of 64. There will be a heavy rotation of players for that game, which might look reasonable on paper but maybe not so much on the pitch.
We'll have to wait and see, but things are not looking better for PSG than they are looking for Chateauroux. At the end of the day, Chateauroux have fewer losses in 2023 than PSG do. There's that.