Mbappe and Neymar struggle as Meunier double saves PSG at Dijon
Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1 winners, needed a scrappy Thomas Meunier double to see off a spirited Dijon, who nearly snatched a deserved point at Stade Gaston-Gerard through Benjamin Jeannot's superb late effort on Saturday.
The Result. At the end of the day, after a gruelling recent international period, returning to action in Le Championnat with a victory to move six points clear at the summit is all that really matters. Meunier will see his popularity among the capital club's supporters rise once again after a heroic, albeit scrappy, double to win a tedious match.
PSG were awful in front of goal and although it was a laboured showing, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe could and should have had at least one goal apiece as both wasted good chances.
Unai Emery could have utilised Giovani Lo Celso, Christopher Nkunku and Alec Georgen but instead stuck with semi-fit or jaded players like Meunier and Dani Alves. He even played the Brazilian in midfield but the Belgian shook off a knock to score both goals.
PSG reeked of complacency from start to finish and got lucky with both of their goals as Dijon's Baptiste Reynet was otherwise excellent in goal.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Emery's starting XI was unimaginative. He did not really rotate as much as possible -- even if there were already some notable absentees from the squad -- and his substitutions were too late once again. Ultimately, though, the Basque got away with it because of Meunier's messy double.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 6 -- There was nothing that the youth academy graduate could do to keep Jeannot's stunning strike out but he did make one or two important saves during the match to keep Dijon at bay.
DF Thomas Meunier, 7 -- The likeable Belgium international could have been rested after picking up a knock on international duty but he soldiered on and was the two-goal hero at Stade Gaston-Gerard instead.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- Captain for the second consecutive game and alongside Presnel Kimpembe, the Brazil international was composed and commanding. However, could have done more to avoid Jeannot being presented his chance -- speculative as it was.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 5 -- Aside from a second half booking, the youth academy graduate was solid alongside Marquinhos. However, the Frenchman really needs to curb his aggressive streak.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 6 -- Put in a balanced display, which makes a refreshing change from Layvin Kurzawa's policy of almost all-out attack, and should be considered instead of the Frenchman in Emery's strongest starting XI moving forward.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 4 -- The France international was not at his best and a late booking capped a below-par afternoon.
MF Dani Alves, 5 -- Played out of position, the right-back did as well as could have been hoped. However, Emery had the likes of Lo Celso, Nkunku and Javier Pastore available to him and he chose not to use them. The Brazil international was booked early in the second half.
MF Julian Draxler, 3 -- Until he was substituted and replaced by Lo Celso after 72 minutes, the match was passing the Germany international by and he was largely invisible.
FW Angel Di Maria, 4 -- The Argentina international tried things during his 76-minute outing but few worked out. Should have done better with a second half chance when the goal was gaping and he presented Mbappe with a great chance, only for the France international to miss the target.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 4 -- Although the Frenchman assisted Meunier's late winner, it was arguably his worst PSG performance so far and he will be haunted by the chance he wasted -- notably the open goal he missed from Di Maria's ball in -- for a while.
FW Neymar, 3 -- Comfortably one of the Brazilian superstar's worst showings with PSG. The South American arguably should have been rested, so it was not that surprising that he looked largely disinterested. Booked in the first half, Les Parisiens' No. 10 produced a few tricks but was otherwise quiet.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, N/R -- Sent on in place of Draxler after 72 minutes, the Argentinian really deserved more time to impress.
FW Lucas Moura, N/R -- Given 14 minutes in place of Di Maria at the end, the Brazilian did little of note. His energy would have been useful if it had been injected earlier in the second half, perhaps even at half time.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.