Unsung Giovani Lo Celso and Yuri Berchiche impress in PSG win at Lille
Paris Saint-Germain are 11 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit after winning 3-0 away at Lille on Saturday.
Yuri Berchiche, Neymar and Giovani Lo Celso got the goals for Unai Emery's men, although they left it late to pull clear of Les Dogues at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
With trips to Sochaux and Toulouse to come next week before Real Madrid away in the Champions League round of 16, the result was the most important thing in northern France, and the French capital outfit emerged with all three points.
The more Lo Celso features for PSG, the more he impresses. Although not a natural deep-lying midfielder, as exhibited in his sublime lobbed finish to make it 3-0 late on and occasional mistakes he makes, the Argentine is finding his feet in the starting XI and continued his development in Lille.
Left-back Berchiche turned up the pressure on positional rival Layvin Kurzawa with a good showing, which was capped by his strike -- albeit controversial -- to make it 1-0 just before half-time.
After a 3-0 win away from home, against an opponent fighting for their lives in Le Championnat and with a number of regular starters missing, there were no major negatives.
However, considering the way the match went, Les Parisiens should not have been as laboured as they were over the 90 minutes.
If grinding out wins against Lille, Sochaux and Toulouse means PSG can turn it on once they get to Madrid, though, then so be it.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Emery's starting XI got the job done, and his substitutions enabled him to give Angel Di Maria a bit of rest and continue to ease Lassana Diarra into action.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Alphonse Areola, 7 -- The youth academy graduate was a reassuring presence in goal and came up with one or two important saves, notably one in the first half.
DF Dani Alves, 5 -- Back from suspension, the Brazil international was solid but unspectacular and is unlikely to have used up too much energy ahead of Sochaux, Toulouse and Real.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- The Brazilian paired well with compatriot Thiago Silva, and together they kept Lille at bay.
DF Thiago Silva, 6 -- The captain was solid enough, and although LOSC did not threaten too often, he marshalled his backline well.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 7 -- The Spaniard provided the balance that Kurzawa does not and even got forward and grabbed himself a goal on the stroke of half-time to show that his French rival is not the only one who can score from full-back.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 7 -- The young Argentine was calm and collected in his secondary role as a deep-lying midfielder, and he capped his display with a fabulous lob over former PSG goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 -- The Italian was combative but let himself down once or twice with his reluctance to shoot from distance, and also picked up a second-half booking.
MF Javier Pastore, 5 -- The Argentina international will now be staying with PSG until at least the end of the season, but his meek showing in Lille was not exactly the best way to convince Emery of the need for more minutes ahead of the World Cup in Russia this summer.
FW Angel Di Maria, 6 -- Did well, despite obviously being a bit jaded after a busy start to 2018, and it was no surprise that El Fideo was replaced by Thomas Meunier with 18 minutes to go.
FW Edinson Cavani, 5 -- The Uruguay international, who is now PSG's all-time leading scorer, was not at his best and was guilty of being selfish when he went for goal with Neymar well positioned in the first half.
FW Neymar, 7 -- The Brazilian superstar was more meaningfully involved than he was in Rennes in midweek, but it took a late free kick for him to get his goal. When he did finally score, though, it was in some style.
MF Lassana Diarra, 6 -- The veteran replaced Pastore for the final 27 minutes and notched his first assist by teeing up Lo Celso's sublime strike and continues to look in good shape despite his relative lack of action recently.
DF Thomas Meunier, NR -- The Belgium international came on for Di Maria after 71 minutes and kept the team pushing forward as they searched for more goals as Alves continued at right-back.
MF Christopher Nkunku, NR -- The youth academy graduate was given the final five minutes in Verratti's place to help keep things tight with the Italy international already on a yellow card.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.