Montpellier 1-3 PSG: Individual grades of the Paris Saint-Germain players
PSG traveled to Montpellier on Wednesday to play their bottom-half foes on the road at La Masson and ended up winning the game by a solid but uninspiring 3-1 result. It was the first win by Paris Saint-Germain in a span of three games.
It was a rather bland game by the Parisian men, who Christophe Galtier's orders sparked into a better outing than those showcased of late but who still fell short of what is demanded of a PSG squad, let alone against a lesser opponent such as Montpellier. Wednesday's game had a little bit of everything from brief-to-unexpected cameos and appearances, injuries, missed penalties, and brand-new goalscorers.
Here are the grades from our Parisian men after they finally won a Ligue 1 game for the first time in ages while taking advantage of the rest of the MD21 results to build a five-point lead at the top of the table.
5 - Donnarumma: With Stephy Mavididi ending the game as the only player with an average position sitting on PSG's territory, you get an idea of how threatening the home team was... Grade by default as the goalie kept things simple (not like last weekend) saved what he could, and let the only uber-banger he saw hit the net approaching the 90th minute of play. Not good, not bad either, can't complain.
4 - Ramos: Should have gotten a positive grade but his utter stupidity by hiding a concussion forces me to drop him behind the five-watermark. Again, he won a penalty and was reasonably good, but he was dumb by staying on the pitch only to leave it later clearly feeling dizzy and making blatantly open gestures about it.
(Sub) 4 - Renato Sanches: Subbed in for Ramos but actually took on his natural midfield position on the defensive/organizing pivot with Danilo sliding back to the center-back position. Struggled a bit at first, gained some confidence, and ended up being involved in a goalscoring play that was ultimately ruled off by an offside call. Can get better, but these were some positive baby steps.
5 - Marquinhos: Pretty much a default grade. Another day at the office for the captain who could have sat throughout the game without PSG realizing that was the case.
6 - Hakimi: Fantastic performance by the Morocco international that actually plays for PSG instead of the Morocco international who doesn't nor will ever (most probably) play for PSG following Tuesday's blunder by the folks over the posh boroughs of London. Lost some possessions here and there but brought constant danger to Montpellier's area and that was all PSG asked him for on Wednesday.
Back-to-back missed penalties and an early injury sunk Mbappe's day against Montpellier
3 - Nuno Mendes: Horrid considering what we know he can do, although I don't entirely blame him because this thing with the left wing-backs and Galtier is starting to smell. It is the same when Juan Bernat plays. Sometimes the player (whoever he is) puts in monster efforts and sometimes disappears entirely. This time out, Mendes was held hyper-deep without pushing forward at all for most of the match. He did it as the clock kept ticking but the impact was limited. He will be at the peak of his powers when it matters, though, which is good to know.
(Sub) 2 - Bernat: Even worse than Mendes, but again, that seems to be more tied to a system issue rather than to any personal flaw. Gets a lower grade than Mendes because he screwed Paris on the goal by Montpellier. Not that his error in possession of the ball was directly followed by the goalscoring strike, but still. (What the hell was he attempting, by the way!?)
6 - Danilo: Great as he always is. Can man the pivot and the center of the line. He slept and could have cost PSG more than he did, but it didn't happen so it's all clear on this very good man's front. If Ramos misses time (we hope he goes through the concussion protocol and doesn't fake a positive result), Danilo will have a chance to start along with Marquinhos, solidify his role, and convince Galtier of playing him instead of the old Spaniard. Please, CG.
7 - Fabian Ruiz: It finally happened. What had been waiting for Napoli Ruiz to arrive in Paris and it felt like that plane landed in Montpellier yesterday once and for all. A goal followed by a ridiculous assist to Messi put the cherry on top of a great overall performance--his first at PSG. Let's see if he keeps this form up as everything points to Galtier trusting Ruiz to remain in the starting XI for the whole second half of the season.
2 - Soler: Did he play on Wednesday? The gamelog says he did, so he gets the putrid grade because we didn't even notice. Played on the right flank as he always does, or perhaps better said, he did some cardio on the right flank which is more apt to what he actually delivers on the grass. Sheesh...
5 - Vitinha: Good but lacking punch. Gets the pass because he didn't really have any glaring mistakes, but he can do much more than what he showed yesterday, let alone against the minnows of Montpellier. The stakes are only getting bigger going forward so he better steps up his game a bit as the behemoths from OM, Monaco, and Bayern Munich face PSG. When Verratti is out, that impacts his game too negatively, a product of his youth most probably.
(Sub) 7 - Zaire-Emery: The Kid of the Match to Ruiz's Man of the Match award. Entered the pitch reasonably late, stayed calm and collected, bagged the game-ending goal putting Montpellier's late-comeback hopes to bed, and entered the history books of PSG. Can't ask for more, even more considering his mistake led to last weekend's draw against Reims. Round of applause for the 16-year-old lad!
7 - Messi: After his walking performance from the weekend, this was a completely different type of performance by the little genius and one much closer to what he's able to do these days. Mbappe left the pitch early and Messi took the reins of PSG dominating the game as is his will. Active, sharing the ball, finding teammates, and moving the ball, ultimately also scored the second and game-winning goal for a very needy-of-answer Paris. The Messi we expect and like to watch on a game-to-game basis.
2 - Mbappe: Catastrophic. Missed one penalty. Was allowed the chance of retaking it and missed it once more. Got a rebound off that miss and miserably failed to capitalize in front of a wide and empty net. And then put the cherry on top getting injured on the knee and leaving the pitch by the 20th minute. Night to forget.
(Sub) 5 - Ekitike: Gets the pass because of his silly assist to Fabian Ruiz. It was clever and very elastic, don't get me wrong, but it was fun to watch perform nonetheless. He didn't quite impact the game but did some cardio and roamed the pitch nicely while completing some hella safe and lateral passes. A bit lost on the pitch, he must level up when situations like yesterday's pop up, or else it'll be hard to trust him as the main backup-striker going forward. As if PSG had any other option, though...