Paris Saint-Germain was looking to bounce back from its stunning defeat at the hands of AS Monaco last week as they traveled to the Stade Gaston Gerard to take on Dijon FCO on Saturday, Feb. 27. Despite sitting in last place (20th), Dijon could still cause problems to a Parisian side that has performed poorly in their domestic matches this season.
While Dijon went into the match with nothing to lose, and a belief that they could give Paris its second consecutive loss, that belief was quickly put to bed in the sixth minute. Winger Kylian Mbappe played a through ball to center back Amad Diallo in the box, who then cut it back for striker Moise Kean, who took a touch and slotted it into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 in favor of the Parisians.
The club of the capital made it two in the 32nd minute to further assert their grip on the match. Center midfielder Rafinha Alcantara and Mbappe combined for a give-and-go on the left side of the pitch; Rafinha proceeded to dribble into the 18-yard box before he cut it back to right back Thilo Kehrer, whose shot towards net deflected off Dijon midfielder Bersant Celina’s hand to give PSG a penalty. Mbappe stepped up, and slotted it into the bottom right corner with ease.
Even better than the goal was the French international’s thoughtful celebration; Mbappe got in front of one of the television cameras and displayed a long-sleeved shirt that read “Pour Louïss,” or “For Louis,” who is a young, French PSG supporter with cancer who Mbappe met last week.
Paris made it 3-0 six minutes into the second half to put the contest out of reach, when midfielder Julian Draxler found Kehrer, who proceeded to play it towards Rafinha; the Brazilian international took a touch before playing it through to Mbappe, who slotted it into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.
Finally, the fourth and final goal was a special one, as Danilo Pereira was able to get his head on a Julian Draxler cross in the 82nd minute to bag his first goal for the club since his arrival in October 2020.
Paris now sits in second with 57 points. Since LOSC Lille had to split the points with RC Strasbourg Alsace over the weekend, Pochettino’s men now sit only two points behind the league leaders. Although they are focused on reaching the top, they need to be wary of those below them as well. Olympique Lyonnais sit in third with 56 points, and AS Monaco sit in fourth with 55 points. Without a doubt, this is one of the best Ligue 1 title races we’ve seen in quite some time.
Now, one of the main talking points that came out of this match was Kean’s continued resurgence at PSG. Although this has been discussed in detail by pundits and fans alike, it’s definitely worth mentioning again due to how unexpected it truly is. Last season, Kean could not make the starting 11 for mid-table English club Everton. Now, he’s a regular in the starting 11 for a strong European club in PSG, and has been dominant both domestically and in Europe; as he currently has 15 goals in 27 matches (all competitions).
This is certainly not what sporting director Leonardo Araujo expected to get out of Kean, as he was signed in October for the sole purpose of additional squad depth. In fact, a large portion of the Parisian faithful were not fond of this signing. No doubt, the same fans that expressed their discontent are now over the moon. The club has definitely received more than it bargained for, with Kean now performing at the level we saw from him early in his career at Juventus.
However, due to the fact that Kean was not expected to perform this well, his season-long loan did not include an option to buy at the end of the campaign. This means that it will be very difficult to keep the Italian international at the club. Sky Sport Italy correspondent Fabrizio Romano reported that Everton have told PSG that they’ll have to pay 80 million Euros if they hope to make the move permanent. Clearly, this is an unrealistic asking price, but the reason the English club has this leverage is because they did not negotiate an option to buy, as previously stated. Since he is now playing exceptionally well, they have raised his price because his value has increased.
In addition to Kean’s impressive performance over the weekend, 17-year-old French talent Edouard Michut made his professional debut for the club. Despite the fact he entered the match in the 89th minute, he looked solid in the little amount of time he was out there.
Michut did participate in a friendly match against Ligue 2 side FC Sochaux-Montbeliard in August 2020, and although he definitely showed signs of rust, his raw talent made up for some of the errors he made throughout the contest.
Since his arrival at PSG, he has attracted interest from multiple other big clubs such as Manchester United, FC Barcelona, and Manchester City. He definitely has a lot of promise, and we’ll have to see if he’ll be able to transition his game to the professional level.
PSG now turn its attention to their midweek bout against FC Girondins De Bordeaux at the Matmut Atlantique on Wednesday, March 3. The club will then travel to the Stade Francis Le Ble to take on Stade Brestois 29 in the Coupe de France on Saturday, March 6.
Finally, French media outlet Le Parisien reported that Neymar Jr. will not be fit enough to participate in PSG’s second leg bout against FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. This means we once again won’t see Neymar face his former side since his departure from Catalunya in 2017.