Kylian Mbappe 8/10, Marquinhos 7/10 in PSG's win over Saint-Etienne
A superb second-half Kylian Mbappe goal was the difference between the two sides as Paris Saint-Germain edged past Saint-Etienne 1-0 at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in a largely uninspiring Ligue 1 clash on Sunday.
First of all, particularly considering how low the overall contest was on quality, PSG will be very happy to take all three points back to the French capital. Then, for the second time this week, Mbappe was decisive -- scoring a sensational effort to decide the match just days after scoring one of two away goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Champions League last-16 first leg. On top of all of that, Thomas Tuchel's rotated team managed to come away from Le Chaudron with a clean sheet -- an excellent end to a very positive week.
All things considered, including the tedious nature of the encounter at times, it was a very good result for PSG, so there are no major negatives. Sure, there were some disappointing performances in areas, but the players involved deserve nothing but praise for picking up two victories from as many games this week.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Although it was no Manchester-esque masterclass and did not have to be, Tuchel still made astute changes where possible and kept Marco Verratti wrapped in cotton wool by leaving him in Paris -- smart move and one that could pay off over the remainder of the season.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 6 -- Made a few useful saves, particularly during the first half, and was then booked towards the end for wasting time.
DF Thilo Kehrer, 5 -- Struggled at times as Saint-Etienne got some joy out of targeting PSG on either side of the defence.
DF Marquinhos, 7 -- Returned to the heart of the defence, although he still showed an eye for playmaking from deep, it was a solid outing in his traditional position.
DF Thiago Silva, 7 -- The captain was at ease alongside Marquinhos and formed a solid central defensive pairing with his compatriot.
DF Juan Bernat, 5 -- Like Kehrer on the right, Bernat struggled on the left at times, and as well as passing up a good first half chance, he was also cautioned early in the second before being withdrawn after an hour.
MF Dani Alves, 6 -- It was anything but easy on the eye trying to watch him pair with Leandro Paredes over 90 minutes, and he saw yellow after an hour, but without his assist, there would have been no Mbappe goal.
MF Leandro Paredes, 5 -- Still looks a little rusty as he tries to bed in with his new teammates and the quixotic nature of PSG's midfield does not help -- one suspects that finally pairing him with Verratti will liberate the new arrival.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5 -- Regularly toiled in attack but still managed to tee up Julian Draxler and went close himself before making way five minutes from the end.
FW Julian Draxler, 4 -- Suffered from a lack of creativity behind him in midfield but still had a chance that he should have done better with and it was not a surprise that he was replaced with 20 minutes to go.
FW Moussa Diaby, 5 -- Went the full 90 minutes and showed some glimpses of why Tuchel rates him so highly but he might have fared better in a formation where he could have played left wing-back or was backed up by a more creative central midfield.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 8 -- A late booking took nothing away from another match-winning display, which featured a fluid sliding finish and some Neymar-esque flair at times -- the youngster has it all and can do it on his own when he has to.
DF Colin Dagba, 7 -- Came on for Bernat on the hour and actually bailed PSG out more than once over the final 30 minutes -- an underrated tactical move from Tuchel, which paid almost immediate dividends.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 5 -- Given the final 20 minutes, he was as rusty as expected and was cautioned, but it took Bernat time to find his feet again after a lengthy absence and Kurzawa deserves the same time.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, NR -- One of the heroes of Manchester replaced Di Maria for the final five minutes in a move that was designed to shore up the defence with the win in sight and it worked out.