Javier Pastore returns to Paris Saint-Germain lineup to torment Marseille
MARSEILLE -- Paris Saint-Germain earned a historic 5-1 win over Olympique de Marseille on Sunday, inflicting the heaviest defeat on the hosts at the Stade Velodrome since 1953. Marquinhos, Edinson Cavani, Lucas Moura, Julian Draxler and Blaise Matuidi all found the net in front of a record crowd with no travelling support.
The attitude. PSG prepared for Le Classique as if it were the UEFA Champions League return leg against Barcelona in a fortnight and produced a performance similar to their first leg mauling of Barca in Paris. When the French champions apply themselves, they can beat anybody convincingly.
Javier Pastore. Although plenty of players in Unai Emery's starting XI deserve praise, the Argentina international was a surprise inclusion. However, after 54 minutes on the pitch, El Flaco exited with a superb assist for Cavani's goal and having played a key role in Lucas'.
The midfield. Marco Verratti, Adrien Rabiot and Matuidi were outstanding in the demolition of Barcelona at Parc des Princes recently and the trio were once again superb in Marseille. Thanks to the triumvirate, Emery has found his way forward with the 4-3-3 formation.
Barely any. Granted, PSG allowed Rod Fanni a soft consolation goal in the second half but that still could not take much of the shine off a special night for Les Parisiens in their bitter rivals' backyard.
The one big downer on such a momentous occasion was the fact that there were no travelling supporters for the players to celebrate with. The decision to bar the men from the capital from bringing their fans south with them could have been a hindrance but the team made light of it.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Imaginative. Once again, in a big match and with innovation required, Emery delivered. Aligning Pastore in the starting XI was a masterstroke. Substitute Draxler scored, while the Spaniard was even able to rub salt into Marseille's wounds by sending on ex-OM man Hatem Ben Arfa late on.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 7 -- Reassuring. Although he was unable to do much about Fanni's goal, the goalkeeper made a few useful saves and interventions. He even got a touch on Dimitri Payet's late effort, which came back off the post.
DF Thomas Meunier, 8 -- Imposing. The Belgium international dominated the right side for PSG and he was able to serve Draxler for the visitors' fourth goal after he dispossessed Payet and produced a superb low cross.
DF Marquinhos, 8 -- Regal. The Brazil international opened the scoring with a close range header and was otherwise calm and composed at the back alongside compatriot Thiago Silva.
DF Thiago Silva, 7 -- Controlling. The captain provided the assist for fellow Brazilian Marquinhos to open the scoring and the South American was otherwise solid and did not really need to excel at any point to keep the Marseille attack at bay.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 7 -- Useful. The France international tested Yohann Pele in both halves, once with a header and once with a shot. Although not an prominent at the back, he defended well enough when asked.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 8 -- Precocious. The France international continues to grow into Thiago Motta's deep-lying midfield role and PSG's middle actually looks more dynamic when he is there. Once again, he underlined his growing reputation as a big match performer.
MF Marco Verratti, 8 -- Sumptuous. The Italy international did not finish the match with an assist to his name but the pint-sized Azzurri star was pulling all the strings and when combined with Pastore, like for Cavani's goal, Emery's men were infinitely more creative.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 8 -- Combative. The France international scored PSG's fifth with a lovely finish from the edge of the box and laid on Lucas' goal but it was his committed and energetic all-round performance that really underlined his continued importance to this side.
FW Lucas Moura, 7 -- Lively. The Brazilian scored the visitors' third of the night, which made up for his miss and failure to pass to Cavani after capitalising on one of many errors crammed into Patrice Evra's disastrous 45-minute outing. The Samba star torched the veteran France international.
FW Edinson Cavani, 7 -- Adequate. The Uruguay international did not have too much to do over the 81 minutes he was on the pitch but El Matador took his goal very well from Pastore's tantalising assist. He was eventually replaced by Ben Arfa.
FW Javier Pastore, 8 -- Inspired. The PSG fans had waited a long time to see the Argentina international start a big match like Le Classique and finally fit enough to be handed the chance, he grabbed it with both hands. PSG's No. 10 provided Cavani with a caviar-like assist for his goal before playing a rabona pass in the build-up to Lucas' strike.
FW Julian Draxler, 7 -- The Germany international replaced Pastore after 54 minutes and added the fourth in a vibrant 36-minute outing.
FW Angel Di Maria, NR -- The Argentina international came on for Lucas and although he did not torture Marseille's porous defence in the same way the Brazilian did with his pace, he still kept them more than occupied.
FW Hatem Ben Arfa, NR -- Like a red rag to a bull. Afforded nine minutes in place of Cavani at the end, the Frenchman threatened to add further glossy to the shiniest of scores but ultimately was unable to do so. However, just the sight of him back at the Velodrome in PSG colours was enough to set off OM's irate fans.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.