PSG beat Ajaccio 5-0, can win Ligue 1 next week
PSG hosted Ajaccio for MD35 of the Ligue 1 and destroyed the visitors sending them straight to the second division and getting them relegated after a 5-0 demolition at the Parc des Princes.
This victory left Paris Saint-Germain in a position where the team only need to get three points in the next three games to clinch their 11th Ligue 1 title.
Lens can still force another week of wait with a win next weekend, but PSG would already virtually clinch the championship because of their large goal-difference advantage.
In a crucial match against a way lesser opponent that sealed their relegation with Saturday's loss, PSG delivered one of their best matches of the second half of the season.
Considering all of the stuff that has been going on in the past two weeks, though, that's no joke even against minnows from Ajaccio and already knowing that Lens had won their game before PSG's match kicked off, putting the Parisian men under even more pressure to earn the three points on their own turf and on their way to once and for all winning the title.
Achraf Hakimi (sent off against Lorient) and Lionel Messi (unsanctioned trip to Saudi Arabia earning him a one-game ban from PSG) both returned to the starting lineup in a surprising decision by Galtier (regarding Messi), while Hugo Ekitike retained his role as a starter in the forward line even with the return of the Argentine world champion, turning PSG's formation into a 5-2-3 instead of the classic 5-3-2 preferred by Galtier
That meant that only two midfield positions were up for grabs, those going to Marco Verratti and Fabian Ruiz, the two most experienced players in the roster of PSG capable of playing in those midfield roles. Vitinha, Warren Zaire-Emery, and Renato Sanches were all relegated to a place on the bench at the start of the game, although the trio will eventually enter the pitch at different moments through the second half.
It can be said that PSG controlled the game from start to finish although the Parisian didn't really dominate, per se, with their opponents doing nothing but the leaders of Ligue 1 not really putting the pedal to the metal and going full-throttle at any point through the game.
The first half saw the Parisians take a 2-0 lead thanks to early goals from Fabian Ruiz and Achraf Hakimi in the 22nd and 33rd minutes, respectively, while three more scoring opportunities would be converted in the second half of an absolutely unbalanced match.
Ruiz scored for the second game in a row and Hakimi returned from his one-match ban with a goal although he would not finish the game, getting sent off once more.
The second half saw Kylian Mbappe come to life more than he already had, only now scoring two goals in quick succession to put the game out of reach for their opponents in the 47th and 54th minutes and building a two-goal bridge between him and Alexander Lacazette in the run for the top-goalscorer award.
Marquinhos added another goal in the 74th minute to complete the 5-0 rout for PSG, (pre)celebrating his birthday as he turned 29 years old on Sunday, May 14th, with an extension of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain a good present as it's already been signed and only pending the official announcement.
With this victory, PSG kept their six-point lead over their closest rival, Lens, intact. There are still three games left in the schedule, which means only nine points are available until the season is over. That means that PSG can lift the title next weekend if Lens doesn't at least replicate what the Parisians do in their next Ligue 1 game.
If both teams finish next weekend at the same distance as they are right now, PSG will have to wait one more week to call themselves champions, though, as the distance would be enough although they'd be virtual champs considering their current 17-goal difference with Lens in the GD column.
PSG will visit Auxerre on Sunday, May 21st while Lens will be making a trip to Lorient on the same day but playing on an earlier slate. Again, PSG will know the result of the Lens matchup before they get the ball rolling in theirs, which means they might know a draw is enough to clinch the title if Lens lose their game.
As they look to maintain their position at the top of the table, PSG will be buoyed by their strong display in this match and will be eager to continue their winning form in the weeks to come. Galtier might be done, but it must be said that he's righted the ship in time to finish the season strong and win a historic 11th Ligue 1 title.