New-look Paris Saint-Germain rout Lyon to win Trophee des Champions
Paris Saint-Germain made an excellent start to life under Unai Emery with a 4-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais at Worthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, Austria, securing the Trophee des Champions for the fourth consecutive summer.
Javier Pastore got the ball rolling for the French champions after just nine minutes, emphatically volleying home from a Layvin Kurzawa cross. Ten minutes later it was 2-0 as the Argentina international turned provider this time, teeing Lucas Moura up for a messy finish.
Angel Di Maria, who was superb for the 67 minutes he was on pitch and played a key role in the second goal, set up Hatem Ben Arfa for the third after 34 minutes. The France international thumped a clinical finish in off the post for his first in PSG colours.
Nine minutes into the second half, the rout was complete: Pastore located Kurzawa with an inch-perfect pass from the halfway line and the Frenchman calmly beat goalkeeper Anthony Lopes with an accurate finish.
Bruno Genesio's men did get a goal back late on through Corentin Tolisso -- Kevin Trapp could and perhaps should have done better between the PSG posts -- but it was not enough to take the shine off of an impressive first competitive outing under Emery.
It was an immensely successful Saturday for PSG overall as Liverpool's 4-0 win over Barcelona in the International Champions Cup also confirmed the Ligue 1 giants' second consecutive preseason title.
PSG are now the most successful club in the country with 31 trophies to their name -- six of which have come in the Trophee des Champions -- and this debut under Emery suggests that more is on its way this season.
Here are three things to take away from their confident win.
1. New-look PSG under Emery lives up to expectations
Although PSG had looked good in preseason, a lot was expected of them in their first competitive outing under Emery and they didn't disappoint.
The Spaniard sent his team out in his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and the performance was radically different from the sort of showings produced under predecessor Laurent Blanc. Emery's approach means that there is less reliance on individual brilliance, easier now that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has gone, but there is also greater emphasis on the collective.
The Basque tactician demands more from his players over 90 minutes and their display against a disappointing Lyon side was a vibrant and energetic demonstration of that. PSG players closed their opponents down extremely quickly, applied plenty of pressure in every area of the pitch and worked themselves to the bone.
If this is an early indication of what to expect in the UEFA Champions League, the early signs are extremely positive. The Ligue 1 champions might actually have what it takes to break into the semifinals or go one better.
2. No Zlatan, no problem
Although it was only one match against a below-par Lyon side, PSG don't look like they are missing Ibrahimovic. In fact, Emery's tactics are designed to get the best out of multiple players and so far, they're working.
Pastore and Di Maria were particularly impressive on Saturday, with "El Flaco" scoring one and grabbing two assists and "El Fideo" laying on one but playing an architectural role in multiple goals. Ben Arfa also looked much sharper than he did in preseason, while Kurzawa's goal and assist from the left-back spot provided an early signal of intent from the France international as he battles Maxwell for the starting role.
Although a number of regular starters were missing, PSG still dominated Lyon and it bodes well for the season ahead.
3. Domestic hegemony is set to continue
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas will be feeling particularly humbled after he watched his side get dismantled 4-1 by a hungry PSG who were keen to impress their new manager.
The OL supremo had attacked their rivals in the press a number of times ahead of Saturday's clash and probably felt that with so many missing for PSG, his players would be able to score a rare victory over the defending champions.
Things could not have gone much worse for Aulas, and unless Genesio can get much more out of a talented group of players, the 67-year-old president should prepare for more misery at the hands of PSG this season. The defending titleholders look extremely strong and motivated in their pursuit of Champions League progress. That said, this campaign does not appear to include putting less importance on domestic competitions.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.