Rennes 1-0 PSG: Paris can't even make the MNM win games, lose on the road again


Nobody said it was going to be easy. Nobody said it was a guaranteed victory. From that to PSG's defeat to Rennes 1-0 away from the Parc on Sunday in MD19 of the Ligue 1, though, there is a stretch. Paris Saint-Germain put on a very mediocre performance that not even the MNM of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe could fix through the 90 minutes of play.

Parisian people and PSG fans the world over were excited in anticipation of the return of the feared MNM to a football pitch for the first time since Nov. 13, 2022. More than two months had elapsed since the last time Neymar, Messi, and Mbappe graced the same patch of grass. The reunion, sadly, wasn't one ending in celebration for the Paris Saint-Germain trinity.

So much so, that Mbappe missed the kick-off starting the game on the bench, Messi tried to boost PSG but never found help, and Neymar straight disappeared either because he just likes to or because his ankle is still (more probable than not) not quite fit.

It's telling of PSG's bad game to acknowledge that Gianluigi Donnarumma was Paris Saint-Germain's man of the match. As simple as that. Or perhaps, if you push hard, it was Juan Bernat.

No matter what, though, there is only one factual truth to this match: PSG shot one time on target (an effort by Bernat just ten minutes from the final whistle) against Rennes' six and a goal. Not a quite bright outing by the Ligue 1 leaders, if you ask me. And that is, considering PSG have the best-attacking trio (are we sure, though?) in the league, if not the whole football landscape. Sheesh...

Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe played for PSG in their second consecutive loss on the road

PSG might want to cancel all future trips to the north of the country considering they dropped points for their fifth consecutive game against Rennes at Roazhon Park, not having won there since Sep. 2018.

Without a win in Brittany for the past three seasons, PSG endured their second loss in a row at the Park allowing Rennes to defeat them 1-0 and now sitting only three points above Lens (44) in the Ligue 1 table with 47 points in 19 matches.

Christophe Galtier, who admitted he changed from a four-man to a five-man defense on the very morning of the matchup against Anger (2-0) last Wednesday, kept the five-man unit intact for Sunday's game at Rennes. To no avail, that was.

Something happened yesterday that proved Galtier's tactics and thinking futile, and it was the inclusion of Warren Zaire-Emery in his starting lineup. That's because the 16-year-old and Juan Bernat were the best outfield players on Sunday while on the other hand, they (Fabian Ruiz instead of WZE, as the Spaniard was the one who started against Angers) were not found at all last Wednesday.

The change in formation worked against Angers but that positive result is now looking more like a fluke linked to facing a last-place opponent rather than a stroke of genius tinkering. The four-man line flopped against Lens on Jan. 1, and the five-man unit was atrocious on Sunday against Rennes. Both teams, just in case, rank inside the Ligue 1 top four.

Kylian Mbappe, who entered the pitch with an hour gone, replaced a rather bad Hugo Ekitike that fell to his early-season levels. Mbappe had the biggest chance to score, but he must still be thinking about Brooklyn and the Nets. The NBA team, I mean, and not the actual nets he must help the ball kiss, that is. Mbappe missed that shot not even hitting the target in a rather baffling effort from someone who lifted the World Cup more than four years ago and who is seemingly vying to win his first Ballon d'Or.

Speaking of Golden Boys, Messi tried but never found a proper rhythm in his second game back at PSG. He offered himself around the pitch, completed passes, missed shots, but never really got close to scoring or assisting a goal.

I don't think it is worth talking about Neymar and his game. If he thinks he's entitled to have a no-show like he did yesterday, I guess I have earned the right to not drop a word about his match.

Achraf Hakimi came back from his recreational week and went into the game replacing a banged-up Nordi Mukiele that has been one or five levels better than the Morocco international after the World Cup. Of course, Hakimi was the man whose effort lacked in Rennes' lone goal of the night. Kudos to the captain Hamari Traore for putting it in.

PSG might have been crowned winter champs in France, but that goes a long way from getting to lift the actual Ligue 1 when all is said and done. There are 19 games in the books and 19 more left to be played.

Next. PSG to leave Parc des Princes!. dark

The problem for PSG, though, is that none of those games would matter that much for Paris Saint-Germain if they can get past Bayern Munich in the Champions League next. Tough times ahead, but at least PSG will tour Qatar and Saudi Arabia while meeting Cristiano Ronaldo on Wednesday. Quite an apt reunion of losers.