Thomas Meunier wins it for PSG while Unai Emery's attackers flop
BASEL, Switzerland -- Thomas Meunier's stunning late volley saved Unai Emery and his Paris Saint-Germain teammates' blushes at St. Jakob-Park after the French champions missed a number of good chances.
After Arsenal came from behind to win 3-2 away at Ludogorets in Bulgaria, PSG were staring down the barrel at falling two points behind the Gunners before Meunier's sensational late winner.
The three points keep Les Parisiens level with Arsene Wenger's men on 10 points ahead of their showdown for Group A supremacy in London.
Saviour Meunier was also a success during the game, not just at the end. The Belgium international not only secured all three points for the French capital outfit in spectacular style, he assisted Blaise Matuidi's opener and was solid at right-back for the 90 minutes too.
Basel's equaliser was an unnecessary goal to concede by Alphonse Areola and it will be interesting to see how Emery handles the situation against Stade Rennais in Ligue 1 on Sunday. Kevin Trapp lost his place in the starting XI for less and the German could be handed a chance to restore Emery's faith in him after Areola's gaffe.
Although Areola would have received some deserved criticism for the result if Meunier had not scored and Basel had drawn, the PSG attack must also come in for scrutiny. Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura both missed excellent chances, which could and should have cost the Ligue 1 giants dear.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Emery's decision to leave Adrien Rabiot out from the start was debatable and the XI he aligned wasted too many chances once again but the Spaniard did at least react well to Thiago Silva's head injury by bringing on the versatile Grzegorz Krychowiak at half-time.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 4 -- It was all going so well for the Frenchman until the 76th minute. Areola had been imposing in the air -- a little too much at times as the injured Silva will attest -- and saved well from Matias Delgado. However, he badly misjudged a Luca Zuffi effort and nearly lost PSG two important points -- it was a naïve error but a bad one all the same.
DF Thomas Meunier, 8 -- The French giants' match winner. The Belgian right-back scored a stunning late goal and provided Matuidi with the assist for the opener. Apart from that, he worked hard on the right and defended well.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- Solid and efficient. The Brazil international needed to be good in the air against a physical Basel side -- notably in the second half when Marc Janko came on -- and he was.
DF Thiago Silva (c), 6 -- Injured during a clash with Areola, the captain was substituted at half-time. Until then, the Brazilian had been very good. Strong in the air, Silva was also dominant on the ground and showed great anticipation at times.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 4 -- It was not the France international's most memorable display. Almost invisible in the first half, Kurzawa came into the match a bit in the second but ultimately contributed little and picked up a late booking.
MF Thiago Motta, 7 -- The Italian veteran can consider himself lucky to have started over the in-form Rabiot but Emery's decision to begin with Motta on the pitch ultimately paid off when Silva had to come off and his experience and versatility came to the fore as captain.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 -- The Italy international supplied Cavani with a superb pass after 19 minutes, which the Uruguayan wasted with a poor lob before Verratti fired and angled effort over from the edge of the box moments later. Otherwise, he was combative and showed improvement technically.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 6 -- The France international scored PSG's opener with a nice flick. His midfield tussles with Basel's Serey Die -- who was eventually sent off -- were frequent and Matuidi ultimately made way for Rabiot.
FW Lucas Moura, 4 -- The Brazilian was one part of a dysfunctional PSG front three and wasted a great chance early in the second half. Lucas had a late free kick saved before Meunier's winner but it was not enough to turn his negative performance into a positive one.
FW Edinson Cavani, 4 -- The Uruguay international was played in brilliantly by Verratti after 19 minutes but wasted the chance by inexplicably lobbing over. Cavani brought a save out of Tomas Vaclik just before the hour but overall it was not good enough.
FW Angel Di Maria, 5 -- The Argentina international got on the ball a fair bit and created a few openings but failed to take two second half chances. Di Maria could have added to Meunier's late winner with a goal of his own but he wasted a great one-on-one opportunity.
DF Grzegorz Krychowiak, 5 -- The Poland international replaced the injured Silva at half-time and started in defensive midfield before moving back into central defence. Krychowiak looked more at ease at the back than in the middle.
MF Adrien Rabiot, NR -- Sent on for Matuidi after 77 minutes, it was a surprise the France under-21 international did not start in midfield. However, he made the most of his 13 minutes at the end and provided Meunier with the winning goal.
FW Jese Rodriguez, NR -- Introduced with seven minutes to go, the Spaniard was given little time to impress. However, he was vibrant and his pace gave PSG a late boost. Jese also managed to bring a save out of Vaclik as the visitors sought the winner they eventually found.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.