Ben Arfa turns in his best performance in a PSG shirt in Avranches thrashing
Paris Saint-Germain's superior quality ultimately told as they disposed of semiprofessional outfit US Avranches by a score of 4-0 to make it into the Coupe de France semifinals. Hatem Ben Arfa helped himself to two goals, while Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore also got in on the act at SM Caen's Stade Michel d'Ornano.
After his recent declarations about his lack of game time, Ben Arfa backed up his plea for more of a chance by scoring two goals and assisting on another. It was the Frenchman's best PSG performance by far and might have arrived in time to ensure he plays more of a role toward the end of the season.
Lucas, despite being guilty of a number of typically unintelligent decisions during the match, still had one goal and two assists. The Brazilian laid on both of Ben Arfa's strikes before helping himself to one.
Ultimately, the most important thing for manager Unai Emery's men was winning the match, and that was accomplished convincingly enough. The defending Coupe de France champions were sluggish at times but got the job done with minimal fuss.
Although Javier Pastore scored late on and played a key role in the buildup to Ben Arfa's second goal, it was not a great performance by Pastore. The Argentina international was surprisingly off colour, and his passing, in particular, was uncharacteristically poor.
Otherwise, aside from a slow start to the game, it went as well as could have been expected for a potential banana-skin clash.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Emery rotated many of his regular starting XI and the Spaniard's changes produced the desired result, even if the performance was a bit lacking at times against semiprofessional opposition.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 6 -- Although he was not forced to make any truly impressive saves, the Frenchman was assured between the sticks.
DF Thomas Meunier, 5 -- The Belgium international was not at his best but did not have to be as Avranches posed limited threats in attack, and most of PSG's work up top was done through the middle.
DF Serge Aurier, 6 -- Since captain Thiago Silva and Marquinhos were both out through injury, the Ivory Coast international was asked to deputise in central defence, and he did so convincingly enough.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- Despite a second-half booking, the youth academy graduate formed a solid central defensive pairing with Aurier.
DF Maxwell, 5 -- Like Meunier, the veteran Brazilian was not at his best on the left but did not have to be because Avranches did not pose much of a threat coming forward.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 5 -- Just days after his 22nd birthday, the France international made his 150th PSG appearance. However, it will not last long in the memory, and he made way for Giovani Lo Celso with 27 minutes to go.
MF Christopher Nkunku, 5 -- The youth academy graduate had Les Parisiens' first chance of the match and should have done better. After that, he was average until Goncalo Guedes replaced him after 68 minutes.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 5 -- Captain in the absence of Silva and Thiago Motta, the France international toiled but to no real avail.
FW Lucas Moura, 6 -- The Brazilian had two assists and a goal, even if one of the assists he provided was a simple short pass from a free kick. He still made a few sloppy mistakes and unintelligent choices.
FW Hatem Ben Arfa, 8 -- The Frenchman scored two goals and laid on another in what was undoubtedly his most memorable PSG outing to date.
FW Javier Pastore, 4 -- The Argentina international scored late on and made a crucial pass in the buildup to Ben Arfa's second goal. Despite that, he was below par and comfortably the worst performer.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 6 -- The January arrival was given his senior debut after 63 minutes, and the Argentinian made an encouraging start with a neat cameo.
FW Goncalo Guedes, 5 -- The Portugal international was given 22 minutes at the end but did not have that much of an impact on the closing stages.
MF Marco Verratti, NR -- Sent on for two-goal hero Ben Arfa after 83 minutes, the Italy international was required to do little because the contest was long over.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.