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Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain Smash Marseille, Shift Focus To French Cup

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - FEBRUARY 26: Julian Draxler of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate his goal with teammattes during the French Ligue 1 match Olympique de Marseille and Paris Saint Germain at Orange Stade Velodrome on February 26, 2017 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images )

Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain head into their 2016-17 Coupe de France Round of 16 match with Denis Renaud’s Chamois Niortais FC on a winning note. PSG thrashed Rudi Garcia’s Olympique Marseille in a near-perfect 5-1 rout at the Stade Velodrome. Marquinhos (6′), Edinson Cavani (16′), Lucas Moura (50′), Julian Draxler (61′) and Blaise Matuidi (72′) were all on goal for the Parisians.

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Statistically, Paris Saint-Germain dominated every part of the match, including possession (50.6% to 49.4%), shots (20 to 12), shots on target (13 to 3), successful passes (88.9% to 86.5%), passes (505 to 489) and corner kicks (seven to five). Paris could have had more goals on the platter but their wasteful finishing carried over from their previous match with Toulouse.

As for Marseille, they got a 70th minute goal from Rod Fanni, who redeemed himself for a missed assignment that led to one of PSG’s second half scores. However, Dimitri Payet‘s shooting was off, highlighted by a rocket that hit the right post in the second half. Marseille received its worst home loss since 1953, in addition they have lost as many games this year as they did in 2016 (2) per Opta Sports.

Meanwhile Paris Saint-Germain keeps on rolling.

“The most important thing was to win,” said PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi. “To do it like that, with five goals, is magnificent for the team and for their confidence. We maintained the same level throughout the game. We want to continue showing that level of play to be able to win the title. We also have an important Coupe de France game on Wednesday and the return leg with Barcelona. The season is starting for us, we want more and more. It’s a win for our fans, they’re always behind the team.”

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“We wanted the three points to close in again on Monaco and Nice,” said Emery to Canal+. “The team is good, we’re in a good spell. We have to maintain that level of rigour, that rhythm, the desire of the players and that domination of the ball. It’s a good game for our confidence and to confirm the improvement in our play. It’s a good spell for us, but we can still improve. We mustn’t forget our last three home games, of which we drew two and won the match against Lille in the last minute. There are a lot of teams that defend deep. We have to overcome our opponents’ defensive work. We’re going to keep working.”

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Chamois Niortais, named after the goat-antelopes native to the area (chamois), haven’t been hitting their stride in Ligue 2. They are 12th on the table with a record of 9-9-9 (36 points) and are well off the pace set by first-place side Stade Brestois (14-6-6, 48 points). Furthermore, Niort lost to PSG’s next door neighbors Red Star FC (who play at the Stade Jean Bouin, not to be confused with the one in Angers), 3-2 and are on a two-game losing streak.

Forward Ande Dona N’Doh is Niort’s top goalscorer with nine goals on the season. Another key goalscorer for the Chamois is midfielder Jimmy Roye with five goals on the year. No other player on the list for Niort has more that three goals on the season. They are up against a PSG side loaded with producers such as Cavani (26 goals), Lucas (nine goals), and a key provider in Angel di Maria (six assists), who was reduced to game management duty away to Marseille.

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We don’t think this is going to be a close contest. The Stoppage Time is calling for a showcase performance from Paris, with their strongest side making a bold statement early and often.

*Statistics provided by Opta Sports

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