PSG win fifth straight Coupe de la Ligue title as Kylian Mbappe haunts ex-club Monaco
BORDEAUX, France -- Three thoughts from PSG's 3-0 win over Monaco in the Coupe de la Ligue final.
1. PSG win first part of the domestic treble
Paris Saint-Germain have added to their record as the most successful club in the Coupe de la Ligue after beating Monaco at Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux for their fifth consecutive title and eighth overall -- five better than their three closest rivals.
Edinson Cavani scored two goals (one penalty), while Angel Di Maria added a second, but it was Kylian Mbappe, playing against his formative club, who was the real star of the show.
Video Assisted Referee (VAR) played a significant role in PSG's opener and a first half Monaco effort being ruled out, but Leonardo Jardim's men were significantly inferior to the capital rivals on the night -- regardless of technology.
After the disappointment of the loss of last season's Ligue 1 title to Monaco, PSG needed to re-establish their domestic dominance with a clean sweep of French trophies.
Taking into account a second consecutive Champions League round-of-16 exit, this time at the hands of Real Madrid, it became even more imperative.
This win over Les Monegasques was the first step towards that, and with Le Championnat on its way to being wrapped up -- PSG hold a provisional 17-point lead -- the Coupe de France is the last remaining obstacle. The biggest threat to Unai Emery's men there is fellow top-flight outfit Caen with semi-professional third-tier sides Chambly and Les Herbiers playing in the other semifinal.
It would have been easy for PSG to show little appetite for a domestic cup -- even if it was against Monaco -- after their latest Champions League setback, but they stayed hungry and punished the men from the principality.
In fact, there was more apathy in the stands than there was among the players, with a less than full house at Matmut Atlantique.
Perhaps that is simply a reflection of the fact that, more than ever, a domestic clean sweep is the minimum expectation and the Champions League is the only prize that will bring true satisfaction to everybody at the club.
2. Mbappe flourishing in Neymar's absence
There is no doubt that Mbappe and injured superstar Neymar can play together and combine very well, but the France international has really come on since the Brazilian suffered a fractured metatarsal.
Mbappe did not score in Bordeaux, but he did provide two direct assists and won the penalty for the other goal in an unselfish display.
The 19-year-old punished his former club with his electrifying pace and was deservedly voted man of the match, making up for his disappointing return to Stade Louis II earlier in the campaign.
After a mixed start to life with PSG, despite some impressive statistics, Mbappe appears to be hitting form just in time to potentially star at this summer's World Cup in Russia with France.
3. Back to the drawing board for Monaco
It is hard not to feel sorry for Jardim, who ruled himself out of the running for the PSG job on the eve of the match, after his team's inadequacies were laid bare.
Term after term, the Portuguese does his best to make Monaco as competitive as possible and after the immense success of last season, this campaign has been difficult, and any hope of silverware is now dead.
More than ever, Les Monegasques appear in need of their next cycle. Although the likes of Radamel Falcao, Fabinho and Joao Moutinho have plenty to offer to other European clubs, they look out of place in this transitional ASM side.
Falcao has been excellent this term, while Fabinho has been decent but not at his absolute best, and a change of scenery (perhaps PSG) would arguably do him the world of good.
There is young talent in this current Monaco squad, such as Youri Tielemans, Rony Lopes and Keita Balde Diao, but a large number of regular starters, such as Danijel Subasic and Andrea Raggi, need replacing if this intriguing project is to be revitalised.
Whether or not Jardim has the desire to oversee this next cycle is another question, and an important one that the principality outfit must ask themselves with former Chelsea man Michael Emenalo now overseeing transfer dealings at such a critical moment.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.