Pays de Cassel 0-7 PSG: Individual grades of the Paris Saint-Germain players
PSG played Pays de Cassel on the road on Monday, Jan. 23, and defeated the sixth-tier club 7-0 in the Stade Bollaer to advance to the French Cup Round of 16 where they'll face OM.
The game, which was as unbalanced as you think and as the final score shows, if not more, saw Kylian Mbappe bag five goals to become the only player in PSG history to score as many in a single match. Neymar slapped an opponent for the third time in a row. Nuno Mendes and Timothee Pembele returned.
Here are the grades from our Parisian men after they earned the right to face OM in the French Cup Round of 16 in two weeks' time. Coach Galtier kept his word and deployed a very strong XI that allowed PSG to destroy an amateur team and helped the team to build some cohesion with Bayern Munich waiting and less than a month away from facing Paris Saint-Germain in the UCL.
5 - Navas: Default grade. Saved one shot all game. Last match for Navas at PSG?
6 - Pembele: Nothing remarkable but definitely good for a comeback--the kid had not played since last April. Quite active all game long, though not very impactful on the overall play in terms of having decisive plays.
(Sub) 4 - Hakimi: Spent the whole time in the opposition's half but it's not that he was very dangerous anyway. Doesn't get the pass because he was a bit lost and never knew what to do.
5 - Ramos: Enjoyed a game in which he felt superior to the rival for the first time in ages. Not bad, but not great either. Commanding veteran presence, that's pretty much it.
(Sub) NR - Bitshiabu: Doesn't get a grade because it was just a cameo, but it must be said he was perfect when needed, contrasting with some poor performances he'd had lately.
Neymar slapped a man, Mbappe scored five goals, and Nuno Medes had a lively return to competition
6 - Danilo: Phenomenal as always even while in low demand. Not Marquinhos, not Ramos, not Kimpembe, not whoever. Barring an unexpected signing this month (Milan Skriniar, that'd be) Danilo is the one and only center-back to trust in PSG's defensive line.
7 - Nuno Mendes: If this is the Mendes PSG is getting in his first competitive game after coming back from a two-month-long injury, then I don't even know how great he'd look in two or three weeks when the season stakes ramp up. Extraordinary news for PSG going forward having Nuno back and at this level already.
(Sub) 4 - Bernat: We know this man. He can be great sometimes, but he can also be invisible in other games. Turned out to be one of the latter types of performances this past Monday. What can we do...
6 - Vitinha: Assisted one goal and was close to scoring one himself, though it couldn't be. Anyway, he was good considering the context of the game and the little chances he'd have to create on open play with Pays de Cassel building a low-block wall from the get-go.
3 - Renato Sanches: I don't know what to make of Sanches at this point, which is worrying. The club and the staff and coaches seem to be all-in for him to succeed in Paris but it's very hard to see it happening. Injuries, competition, and other issues have made it difficult for him but if facing a sixth-tier opponent couldn't help him at righting his wrongs then I am not sure what would do.
(Sub) 3 - Ruiz: Sell Ruiz. Get some money back. Hand it to the Parisian Town Hall just in case it convinces the lads to sell PSG the Parc. That'd be a better investment than using this man. Also, I had this funny thought about Ruiz's controller only having the "X/Pass" button because that's all he knows to do on a football pitch, whether that's crossing, shooting, or tackling opponents. Lives by the pass, dies by the pass too.
5 - Soler: Wouldn't have earned this grade without the goal. He was petty scoring that back heel with Mbappe looking antsy in front of him trying to get a pass to score his sixth and become the true French Cup all-time goalscorer. Gotta appreciate the greediness.
5 - Neymar: Does he get a positive grade? Of course, because he earned it thanks to a rather nice offensive game, steadily showcasing efforts. That said, he keeps getting mad at the lads for no apparent reason and slapping opponents in the face in a rather bizarre way. Galtier revealed that he had to calm Ney in the halftime talk. Perilous genius.
9 - Mbappe: Could have played walking, and he would have still scored three or four goals easily on Monday. It was clear for a while that he would lead PSG on Monday from the start, though there were doubts he would finish the game. You bet he did, aiming at the French Cup goalscoring record that only Carlos Soler could take from his paws. He will get another chance against OM and he won't fail then. Doesn't get the 10 because while he made PSG fans happy he also made Pays de Cassel fans sad by slashing them (and not winning the World Cup with France.)
2 - Ekitike: One of the worst performers from PSG and not even because he did it all in the wrong way, but rather because he did not do anything at all. You tell me this kid didn't play, and I'd believe you on the spot.
(Sub) 5 - Gharbi: French-Spaniard kid. Must have a successful career if only because of that. Kinda default grade, but at least he ran ten times the distance Ekitike covered and tried to do something while on the pitch.