Alphonse Areola preserves PSG victory in subpar performance at Bordeaux
Champions Paris Saint-Germain remain on course for 100 Ligue 1 points after Giovani Lo Celso's powerful late strike combined with a string of Alphonse Areola saves to sneak past Bordeaux 1-0 at Matmut Atlantique on Sunday.
Areola was PSG's best player throughout the 90 minutes and some superb saves (eight in total) from the unsung goalkeeper kept the visitors in the game before they scored.
Lo Celso continued his impressive recent scoring form with a thumping drive from distance one week on from a double in the rout of Monaco.
The French capital outfit won but did so playing poorly, and to find that much grit to fight it out for three points away from home with the title already won was noteworthy.
PSG were not at their best and had they been up against a stronger Ligue 1 side, then they probably would have been punished. However, considering that they are already champions, such a dip in performance was to be expected -- particularly after a Coupe de France semifinal win in midweek.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Unai Emery's starting XI, with a little help from his substitutes, got the job done - although it was not pretty for the most part.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 9 -- Cat-like between the sticks. Had it not been for eight impressive saves, PSG would have drawn (at best) or lost in Bordeaux.
DF Dani Alves, 6 -- He got forward when he could but suffered because of the struggles in midfield and attack. Late on, with Thomas Meunier on as a substitute, Alves moved into midfield for the remainder of the match.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- Captain in the absence of substitute Thiago Silva and paired alongside Presnel Kimpembe, he was solid but nothing more.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- Booked late on, he still needs to work on that side of his game -- otherwise, dependable.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 5 -- A heroic late block to keep the hosts out improved an otherwise disappointing display.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 5 -- Although he did better in Bordeaux than he did in Caen, he can still do much, much better -- and he knows it.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 7 -- Scorer of a venomous late winner, he stood out above Rabiot and Javier Pastore in the middle over the 90 minutes.
MF Javier Pastore, 3 -- Despite being played in more of a No. 10 role, it was another forgettable outing and it was surprising that he lasted past the first change after 61 minutes before being substituted (for Thiago Motta after 64).
FW Kylian Mbappe, 4 -- After his brace in Caen, he was much quieter in Bordeaux and was unable to inspire as much as he usually does through his searing speed.
FW Edinson Cavani, 4 -- Aside from a goal disallowed for offside early in the second half, he was not really involved and could have made way for substitute Timothy Weah -- but Emery had other ideas.
FW Christopher Nkunku, 4 -- Deployed on the left of the attack as part of a 4-2-3-1 shape, he was quieter than he might have been in central midfield, but it was nice to see Emery use his versatility to try a different approach to the usual 4-3-3.
MF Julian Draxler, 6 -- Introduced in place of Nkunku after 61 minutes, he swiftly had a penalty shout turned down and was busy for his 29 minutes of action.
MF Thiago Motta, 6 -- Sent on for Pastore for the final 26 minutes, he shored up the midfield and allowed Rabiot to push forward into a role he is more comfortable in.
DF Thomas Meunier, NR -- Given the final 10 minutes at right-back, moving Alves into midfield and the defence held firmer than it might have without the change.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.