PSG lost a pivotal game against Lens away from home by a sound 3-1 final score as part of the match day 17 of Ligue 1. The Paris Saint-Germain squad never found their footing and struggled for the full 90 minutes in an awful match that marked their first loss of the season.
Two teams played this game but only one showed up: that's second-place Lens, now only four points behind PSG in the table and looking as threatening as ever for the Parisian chances at lifting another Ligue 1 trophy.
Here are the grades from our outperformed Parisian men after they went to sleep having lost their first game of the season after getting beaten 3-1 by Lens away from the Parc on Sunday, Jan. 1.
4 - Donnarumma: Was he bad? Not entirely. Did he allow three goals to kiss the net? You bet. It sucks for Gigio because it was more about a putrid performance by the center-back pairing than his own mistakes, but when you give up three goals on a single day you just can't earn that good a grade. Sorry, mate.
6 - Mukiele: Probably the "best" player on PSG's side in New Year's game. He had been doing great things all December and once more showed some chops starting in place of Hakimi, who got moved to the left flank with Juan Bernat out and no other convincing options.
3 - Sergio Ramos: If Al-Nassr want to sign Ramos, you hand them Ramos. Aging, slow, without any sort of reflexes, octogenarian reactions, and 1-20 vision. The 34-game unbeaten streak was unsustainable and Sunday's defeat proved it was PSG carrying Ramos through it rather than the other way around.
Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe failed at leading PSG on New Year's 3-1 defeat at Lens
3 - Marquinhos: The captain of PSG was the one leading the sinking of the Parisian ship, indeed. Lens' forward Luis Openda absolutely danced around him and broke the defender's ankles smoothly to put one past Gigio. Marquinhos argued more calls than he stopped attackers on Sunday. Extraordinary humiliation that we hope (as always) he can recover from. He didn't help his case for an extension of his deal with PSG.
5 - Hakimi: Nor the best nor the worst of PSG last weened kicking 2023 off manning the left flank on defense, a new thing for him. Improved as the game grew old, but not to any reasonably good extent as to put him above a bare-minimum passable grade.
4 - Verratti: The Italian might have circled this game in his personal calendar as it marked his 400th start for PSG, although he might want to forget about it as soon as possible. With Danilo roaming deeper positions he was a little more freed of defensive duties but that didn't help him in the creation phase as much as one would have expected. Completely overpowered by the Lens midfielders.
3 - Fabian Ruiz: Always thought about Ruiz as a glamour player, not an industrial one. Sadly, the latter type is the one oft-present in Ligue 1 competition and Ruiz is definitely not fitting the mold.
(Sub) 5 - Vitinha: Late
3 - Danilo: We didn't project Danilo to play this game because 1) he had been injured of late, 2) he resumed training mere days before the return of Ligue 1, and 3) was absolutely outperformed in the middle of the pitch and all across the game, from the start to the minute he was benched. Low grade more because of an unreasonable decision to play him by Christophe Galtier than his own mistakes.
(Sub) 4 - Sarabia: Played 33 minutes off the pine, completed all but two of his 17 attempted passes, had one clear-cut chance, and missed it so badly that a goal that could have turned into a comeback ended up in a defeat to Lens which have the second-place squad only four points behind PSG after New Year's clash.
3 - Soler: He was never in doubt to make the starting XI on this one but flopped once more. The stats paint a reasonable outing but the actual performance was lacking at best. Going from Neymar to Soler is always going to be a huge step down in terms of expectations but he was swamped by Lens' mid-men and could never catch a break.
(Sub) 5 - Gharbi: Less than 10 minutes of play for the kid that might have actually played from the start considering how bad the Soler-Mbappe-Ekitike trio was.
4 - Mbappe: Returned from Qatar to save PSG with a last-minute penalty score at the Parc in the resumption of Ligue 1, then disappeared (figuratively) on Sunday's game against Lens before disappearing (literally) on Monday flying to Brooklyn to watch an NBA in celebration of PSG's 3-1 loss at Lens. Extraordinarily boisterous.
5 - Ekitike: Scored a goal, which is already a massive win considering how poorly he'd play before 2023 donning PSG threads. Surprised some folks starting against a second-place, contending Lens but hey, can't say it was the worst decision made by Galtier on New Year considering some other not-quite-bright options he went with. Ekitike needs to pack 20 pounds of muscle if he wants to achieve anything in this league. An injection of confidence and some drops of talent poured into his breakfast coffees might also help him going forward, too.
(Sub) 5 - Zaire-Emery: Active, and wanted to help, but it is not that he could do that much while being surrounded by a bunch of inoperant teammates on a dim Sunday.