Di Maria and Marquinhos best for PSG as winning streak ends vs. Lille
Paris Saint-Germain dropped Ligue 1 points for only the fourth time this season when Lille OSC held them to a 0-0 draw at Parc des Princes on Saturday.
The goalless tie ensured that Laurent Blanc's men continue their record run of 35 matches without defeat in Le Championnat. The draw also preserved PSG's run of 32 home league matches without a loss.
More importantly though, PSG suffered no new injuries ahead of next week's UEFA Champions League last-16 meeting with Chelsea.
Thanks to Marco Verratti, Javier Pastore and Gregory van der Wiel's returns from injury, the team should be at full strength for the visit of the Blues on Tuesday.
Against Lille, Edinson Cavani missed the best chance of the game for the hosts, blazing over the bar in the first half when Vincent Enyeama had made a rare mistake and spilled the ball into Cavani's path.
Aside from that, PSG rarely threatened and Lille did not ask them any serious questions either.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Kevin Trapp, 6 -- On an afternoon in which PSG were not at their best going forward, they were still too strong defensively to allow a toothless Lille attack many opportunities to test the German goalkeeper. When he was called into action, he was assured, but the 25-year-old's biggest concern on the day was probably catching a cold in the driving Parisian rain.
DF Gregory van der Wiel, 6 -- Playing for the first time since his appendix operation, the Dutchman looked surprisingly good and produced a solid -- if unspectacular -- performance.
DF Marquinhos, 7 -- With captain Thiago Silva resting, Marquinhos was able to string together rare consecutive starts. Solid against Olympique Lyonnais in the 3-0 Coupe de France victory in midweek, the Brazilian was commanding against Lille and produced a superb sliding tackle in the first half to defuse a good potential chance for the visitors.
DF David Luiz, 6 -- It was a game of two halves for the Brazil international. The 28-year-old was strong in the opening 45 minutes, but shakier in the second. Most importantly though, he looks like he has recovered from the knock suffered in the 2-1 win over Olympique de Marseille last weekend. He seems ready for the Chelsea clash.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 6 -- As if he had a point to prove from the first minute, the Frenchman flew into every tackle and was very physical in his approach. The 23-year-old got forward when he could, but PSG were not as fluent in attack as usual and created few chances.
MF Benjamin Stambouli, 4 -- Lille at home is the sort of match that the Frenchman should make an impression in. However, he was a disappointment on this occasion and looked like a woefully inadequate replacement for Thiago Motta in the deep-lying midfielder role. With Pastore and Verratti alongside him, the midfield was not as cumbersome as it has been in recent games.
MF Javier Pastore, 6 -- Although he lasted only 45 minutes, it was encouraging to see the Argentina international back in action after a lengthy injury lay-off. Understandably, El Flaco looked rusty, but he did still show a few glimpses of his silky skills and cutting passes.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 7 -- Captain for the afternoon, the France international led by example. The 28-year-old crunched into tackles, charged forward and provided some useful crosses before he was withdrawn with nine minutes left.
FW Jean-Kevin Augustin, 4 -- It was another missed opportunity for the young Frenchman. Played in beautifully by Angel Di Maria in the first half, the 18-year-old PSG youth academy graduate really should have beaten Enyeama in the Lille goal.
FW Edinson Cavani, 3 -- Although he was given little to feed on in the first half, the Uruguay international's miss in the second 45 was unforgivable. After looking as if he had turned a corner with a goal and a good performance in the recent 3-1 home win over FC Lorient, Cavani is back to square one after two unimpressive outings.
FW Angel Di Maria, 7 -- The Argentina international looked sharp for the most part of his 62-minute outing. Although PSG were unable to score, the 27-year-old created a good chance for Augustin, then produced a great cross that nobody met and whipped in a dangerous corner.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 -- Brought on in place of Pastore at half-time, the Italy international found his feet again after sitting out injured. Although he was not at his best, he did not need to be and will surely now start against Chelsea.
FW Lucas Moura, 6 -- Sent on to replace Di Maria after 62 minutes, the Brazilian's speed posed Lille's tough defence a few problems. However, with Cavani and Augustin doing little, the South American was fighting a losing battle in attack.
MF Adrien Rabiot, N/A -- Introduced with nine minutes left in order to give Matuidi a breather, the France under-21 international did not have enough time to really make an impression on a day when many of his teammates failed to do that after much longer on the pitch.
Jonathan Johnson is based in Paris and the voice of PSG TV. He also writes for French Football Weekly. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.