Di Maria stands out for all the wrong reasons as PSG's unbeaten run ends
Paris Saint-Germain's unbeaten run across all competitions this season is over after a 2-1 defeat away at Strasbourg on Saturday.
Kylian Mbappe cancelled out Nuno Da Costa's opener, but after Stephane Bahoken's second, Unai Emery's men had no answer, even after nine minutes of added time at Stade de la Meinau.
There were few, if any, positives for PSG to take from their loss in Strasbourg. However, one thing that cannot be said post-match is that Thierry Laurey's home side did not deserve their victory.
From start to finish, Le Racing wanted the victory more than their visitors from the capital, and the Alsatian supporters were phenomenal.
In isolation, it is a poor result for Les Parisiens, but if used as a lesson for the remainder of the campaign, it could turn out to be a good thing -- the Ligue 1 leaders are not invincible and now they have been shown this.
Angel Di Maria was pitiful during his 75 minutes on the pitch and looks every bit like a man on his way out of PSG in a hurry. The Argentina international missed some good chances for the away side and showed little desire to make the most of the opportunity Emery gave him to impress.
It was not goalkeeper Alphonse Areola's finest outing between the sticks either. Although the youth academy graduate was not exclusively at fault for either of Strasbourg's goals, he did play a role in both. Areola was left exposed by a diabolical lack of marking for Da Costa's opener, and Yuri Berchiche as well as Julian Draxler must shoulder some blame for Bahoken's strike to make it 2-1.
It is the Frenchman's first real setback this term; how will he respond?
Emery's decision to rotate heavily for the matches against Troyes and Strasbourg, while logical, ultimately did not work. The former resisted for most of the game before finally succumbing late on at Parc des Princes, while PSG were rarely on top against the latter.
Players like Di Maria, Berchiche, Javier Pastore and Presnel Kimpembe did not cover themselves in glory in Grand Est, while some of those names were poor in both encounters.
The regular starters were not necessarily better against Troyes or Strasbourg but were more entitled to below-par outings than some of those well-rested, fringe stars who came in.
Manager rating out of 10
3 -- Emery's starting XI, while logical on paper, was not cut out for the challenge that his players faced on the pitch in Strasbourg. Away from home, in a boiling atmosphere and against a physical team, the Spaniard should have known that the likes of Di Maria and Pastore would shy away from the challenge. Emery did not need to go defensive at Stade de la Meinau but he did need players with more fight than the pair of fragile Argentina internationals.
In any case, Emery could have made changes well before his first after 74 minutes.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 3 -- Not exclusively at fault for either of Strasbourg's goals but not undeserving of some responsibility. The 24-year-old will want to put this performance behind him quickly -- especially bearing in mind Kevin Trapp's display against Troyes in midweek.
DF Dani Alves, 4 -- The Brazil international took his starting role back from Thomas Meunier at right-back but will probably wish he had been the one watching on as a substitute in freezing conditions. PSG's No. 32 made one heroic second-half interception but overall was not at his usual best.
DF Marquinhos (c), 5 -- The Brazilian stood in as captain with Thiago Silva resting back in Paris, and his changing appearance throughout the match summed up the course of the game for Emery's men. The 23-year-old started out in pristine condition, sporting new facial hair and looking confident, but left battered, bruised and bloodied after being outfought on the Meinau turf.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 4 -- The youth academy graduate, who is often so dominant alongside Marquinhos, was given a torrid time like his South American partner in central defence. A late booking compounded a wretched evening for the Frenchman.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 3 -- Presented with a good opportunity to impress Emery after Layvin Kurzawa's latest mediocre outing against Troyes, the Spaniard served up some tripe instead. The Basque defender -- along with Draxler and Areola -- should feel guilty about his role in Bahoken's winner for Strasbourg. Berchiche also picked up a first-half booking.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 5 -- The France international was not at his usual level but was still one of PSG's better players and assisted Mbappe for the equaliser.
MF Javier Pastore, 4 -- Aside from hitting the post late in the first half, El Flaco showed no real fight in Strasbourg. The end appears to be drawing close for No. 27 and his compatriot Di Maria.
MF Julian Draxler, 3 -- The Germany international produced his worst performance in central midfield by some ways. It was almost as if the former VfL Wolfsburg and Schalke 04 man was not on the pitch at times. When it was obvious Draxler was actually still in the game, his lack of contribution was clear to see. In fact, he did more for the opposition when you take into account his lack of effort combined with Berchiche's ineptitude.
FW Angel Di Maria, 2 -- Wretched. There are no two ways about it, El Fideo was pitiful, and if he does leave PSG in January, this may well have been one of his last sightings in the capital club's colours. Zero fight.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 5 -- The France international equalised for the away side in the first half but he also missed a good chance in the second. Not truly at home playing through the middle with his new teammates, Cavani was introduced too late to lessen the load on his shoulders.
FW Neymar, 5 -- The Brazil international was booked late on to round off a frustrating outing. Guilty of trying to do too much at times and be the hero, in a way it was understandable that he felt he had to because some of his teammates were so useless that they might as well have taken a seat in the crowd to watch those trying go down.
FW Edinson Cavani, NR -- The Uruguayan was sent on with 16 minutes to go when he really could have been given closer to double that because Di Maria needed replacing earlier. El Matador still had a late shot blocked but was unable to save the men from the capital from defeat. At least he is largely rested for the trip to Germany to face Bayern Munich, though.
MF Marco Verratti, NR -- Like Cavani, the Italy international was sent on too late to have any real impact in Draxler's place.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, NR -- The talented young Argentine replaced Pastore with 10 minutes to go, but it was not the sort of match made for him to have much of an influence on. In hindsight, though he struggled (who did not?), he probably would have been a better choice in the starting XI than his compatriot.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.