Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Unlikely hat-trick hero Layvin Kurzawa steals the plaudits from 'MCN' for PSG

PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain booked their place in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League after a 5-0 thrashing of Anderlecht at Parc des Princes, The French capital outfit now have 12 points from four matches with 17 goals scored and none conceded in Europe. Marco Verratti and Neymar struck in the first half before Layvin Kurzawa hit the most unexpected of second-half hat tricks.
It was another heavy victory for PSG without conceding a goal and although Unai Emery's men were not at their best, they did not have to be. It was effortless at times but largely because Anderlecht were so poor.
Despite the convincing nature of their Group B performances so far, it is difficult to escape the feeling that we have not yet seen the Ligue 1 giants get out of third gear yet this campaign. Although they scored five times, the hosts were still sloppy at times and there is room for improvement.
Kurzawa's display was bizarre. Despite not doing anything particularly special, notably in defence, he grabbed himself three goals -- the first time he has scored more than once in a game and the second PSG full-back to notch a triple this term (after Thomas Meunier did so with Belgium).
Despite another goal-rich performance, the French giants were not actually that convincing. Les Parisiens' strong attack masks issues elsewhere and the fact that there is so much room for improvement should scare the rest of Europe.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Emery's starting XI got the job done inside of an hour and the Spaniard even made some rare substitutions before the 70-minute mark.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 6 -- The youth academy graduate was more or less a spectator for the 90 minutes. Although Anderlecht got forward a few times, the French shot-stopper was not really tested.
DF Dani Alves, 7 -- The veteran Brazilian got forward regularly and set up Kurzawa's second after Edinson Cavani was unable to connect with the South American's ball in.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- Enjoyed a painless evening alongside captain Thiago Silva in central defence.
DF Thiago Silva (c), 6 -- The skipper and Marquinhos were given little to worry about by Anderlecht's attack and PSG now have four clean sheets from as many matches in Group B.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 8 -- The France international scored more than one goal in a game for the first time in his career and chose Anderlecht to answer his critics by striking not twice but three times in a bizarrely polished attacking display. Overall, the left-back was not that outstanding but his consistency in front of goal was unerring and any striker would have been pleased with his finish for his third.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 6 -- The 22-year-old was solid enough as the deep-lying midfielder in Thiago Motta's absence but at the same time, did not have to be at his best for PSG to dominate the battle for supremacy in midfield.
MF Marco Verratti, 7 -- The Italian took his goal, the opener, very well and his overall showing was closer to his best form than we have seen for most of this season so far.
MF Julian Draxler, 6 -- The Germany international is emerging as a very good makeshift midfield option for PSG and functions well alongside Rabiot and Verratti, even if the Frenchman is better off further forward. It was Draxler who assisted Neymar's first half goal.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 6 -- The French sensation was handed another start and was not a substitute from the start as was expected. Although he was energetic and worried the Anderlecht defence, he still looked in need of a breather to get his head straight. That said, the teenager still assisted Verratti's opening goal.
FW Edinson Cavani, 5 -- The Uruguay international's run of scoring in consecutive Champions League matches ended at seven and El Matador was part of a front three that had its collective finishing put to shame by Kurzawa on the night.FW Neymar, 7 -- The record transfer was not at his best but still scored with a very nice first-half strike and played a role in Kurzawa's first with a free kick that nearly went straight in.
FW Angel Di Maria, 6 -- The Argentina international got 26 minutes in place of Mbappe and made Kurzawa's third goal.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 5 -- Replaced opening scorer Verratti after 64 minutes but was unable to influence the game in the same way his countryman Di Maria did.
MF Javier Pastore, NR -- Given the final 14 minutes in place of Rabiot and although he delighted the crowd with some silky skill, he needed longer on the pitch.

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