Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Silva shine for PSG as champions hunt record
Paris Saint-Germain already sit atop the Ligue 1 table after a straightforward 2-0 win over Gazelec Ajaccio on Sunday.
The Parc des Princes crowd was introduced to summer signings Angel Di Maria, Kevin Trapp and Benjamin Stambouli for the first time, but it was Blaise Matuidi and captain Thiago Silva who gave the fans the most to cheer in the capital.
It is the first time since the 2005-06 season that PSG have won their two opening fixtures in le Championnat but in that campaign, they went on to finish ninth with 52 points after falling away over the second half of the term.
It is highly unlikely the same happens this season, but two wins from two games is an unusually strong start for the capital club and they find themselves at the summit of the early table.
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Key to the win over Gazelec was Matuidi. The France international is still such an underrated player by many and Angel Di Maria's arrival has prompted suggestions that the 28-year-old could lose his regular starting role as Laurent Blanc tries to accommodate the Argentinian.
Matuidi put in an irrepressible performance to remind his coach exactly how important he is to this team, though. The No. 14 took his 11th minute goal extremely well, controlling the ball on the edge of the area with his first touch before smashing in an unstoppable shot with his second, putting in one of his trademark committed displays as the game progressed.
Also impressive was Silva. The skipper suffered a crushing blow earlier in the week when Brazil coach Dunga named his squad for the upcoming Costa Rica and USA friendlies and left out the 30-year-old, but he responded in strong fashion with a powerful headed goal from a Thiago Motta corner and a commanding showing at the heart of les Parisiens' defence.
Silva and David Luiz let nothing get through at the back and although Gazelec are one of the weakest sides in Ligue 1, lacking the sort of quality to even trouble PSG, the fact that goalkeeper Kevin Trapp's home debut was largely a watching brief was thanks to the Brazilian pair's efficiency.
Motta and Marco Verratti were two other influential figures in the win. The Italian pair were reunited in the midfield from the start of the game because of Adrien Rabiot's suspension and the former showed the same high level of performance that he added as a half-time substitute in the 1-0 win over Lille OSC last week.
The Azzurri duo's understanding was as strong as ever and Motta's match fitness was impressive for a player who has had next to no preseason. Verratti delighted the Parc des Princes crowd with a few dazzling tricks and flicks but his passing and dribbling was once again top notch. The 22-year-old's vision to find Serge Aurier on multiple occasions so far this season has been particularly encouraging.
After the narrow but deserved 1-0 win in Lille last week, the 2-0 victory over Gazelec means that PSG have started the new season with a pair of clean sheets. Too many goals were conceded last campaign and the defence did not boast enough shutouts, so this is a strong start and it will be expected to continue in Montpellier next week.
The win over the Corsicans now means that Blanc's men are on an 11-game winning run in Ligue 1. Girondins de Bordeaux set the record for consecutive wins at 14 back in 2009 and the champions will be confident they can better that while on this current streak. A third straight win this season and 12th overall in Montpellier next week would set the champions up nicely for a tough trip to face AS Monaco in the principality at the end of the month.
There were very few negatives on the evening, with Edinson Cavani's anonymous display in attack the most disappointing individual performance. However, the real negativity lay in the supporters' treatment of new signing Stambouli.
Born in Marseille and raised an Olympique de Marseille fan, the player booed and jeered when Blanc introduced him after 75 minutes. The former Tottenham man's every touch was met with a chorus of derision and it left a bad taste in the mouth. It is also quite hypocritical and pointless behaviour.
Stambouli was born in Marseille and raised a supporter of OM, yet he never played for the southerners. However, the same PSG fans were happy to celebrate the retiring Zoumana Camara at the end of last season with a send-off fit for a legend, yet Camara -- who was born in Paris -- actually played for Marseille before finally joining les Parisiens. Camara was never given the same treatment Stambouli received on Sunday.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.