Kylian Mbappe and Neymar take PSG to the next level in Champions League
PSG's 3-0 win over Bayern Munich on Wednesday has put Unai Emery's men in control of Group B -- two wins from two matches; eight goals scored without reply -- and now they must maintain that form in a doubleheader against Anderlecht.
Although they were dominated at times by Bayern at Parc des Princes, PSG showed a ruthless side that they had never exhibited on the continental scene before now under Oryx Qatar Sports Investments' (QSI) ownership.
"We got the three points and that is great," coach Unai Emery said during the postmatch news conference. "We wanted to win and go top of the group and that is what we did. It was important for our supporters to enjoy a match like this, against quality European opposition.
"We adapted very well to Bayern's tactic of playing very high up the pitch against us. We answered their possession with a very aggressive defence, with Alphonse [Areola] in goal and a disciplined line of four defenders.
"Our three midfielders got through a mountain of work and, obviously, our three forwards were magnificent and made the most of the spaces in behind. Everything worked perfectly."
There is no doubt that the summer arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have taken PSG to the next level in Europe. Combined with Edinson Cavani, the pair of new faces have created arguably the most lethal strikeforce in the game right now and despite the recent penalty controversy they look a complementary triumvirate.
Neymar has two goals and two assists from as many Champions League appearances -- the first time he has racked up one of each in consecutive matches in the competition -- while France international Mbappe also has one of each and Cavani boasts three strikes.
Six of PSG's eight goals so far on the continent have been accounted for by the terrifying trio and they have already disposed of the two strongest teams -- after Celtic won away at Anderlecht -- in Group B.
"The new players, Kylian and Neymar, have helped us take another step up," said captain Thiago Silva after a commanding individual performance. "The other teams will now respect us a little bit more. However, we must keep working hard."
The Ligue 1 giants have finished top in two of their five Champions League group appearances since QSI's arrival and PSG's return to Europe's elite club competition back in 2012-13 but they have never topped one that has also featured a traditional giant like Bayern, Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Neymar and Mbappe's combination with Cavani, who was under immense pressure to continue his prolific exploits at times last season after the departure of former talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, have given Emery's men a ruthlessness that they have never possessed before.
Against the likes of Barca in last season's epic round of 16 match (and in the second 2014-15 group stage), Real in the 2015-16 group stage and then again in the quarterfinals against Manchester City, as well as Arsenal in last term's group stage, PSG lacked the necessary bite to beat their strongest -- but not necessarily superior -- opponents.
With Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani dovetailing to devastating effect in the Champions League so far, the French giants finally appear to have the ruthless streak that they were once missing.
"We played great against a very good Bayern side," beamed PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi after the final whistle. "Obviously we are very happy to have won 3-0. We suffered a little at times, that is true. We remained solid at the back and the attack did the rest, though. The team played brilliantly. Kylian had a great game. We know how talented he is, despite his age."
Merciless against Celtic in Glasgow and clinical -- as well as opportunistic -- against Bayern in Paris, this is the most dangerous PSG have looked in continental action during the Qatari era.
If the capital club can replicate Wednesday's cold-blooded showing against former coach Carlo Ancelotti's German juggernaut at Allianz Arena in Munich, then they will be the team everybody wants to avoid in the latter stages -- if they are not already.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.