Moura stars as PSG set pace in Ligue 1

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

What a week it has been for Paris Saint-Germain. As if David Beckham's rapturous welcome to Paris wasn't enough, his new team-mates threw down the gauntlet to the former England captain with an emphatic 4-0 win over 10-man Toulouse at the Stade Municipal on Friday. The win capping an amazing last few days for the club and finally demonstrating the team's devastating attacking potential as the front three of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavezzi looked sharp and deadly.

It seems that it has taken the arrival of Beckham to spark the attacking quartet of Ibrahimovic, Moura, Lavezzi and Javier Pastore into playing the kind of football that everybody knew they were capable of since their arrivals. Carlo Ancelotti's side tore TFC apart at will on occasions and had four superb goals to show for it, Alain Casanova's side were absolutely dominated by PSG and Moura in particular.

The Brazilian was central to everything that the capital club did on the night and for those that thought the 20-year-old wouldn't start regularly upon his arrival; this match is a perfect example of why Ancelotti needed him to play now. He provided two exquisite crosses for rare headed PSG goals from open play (Ibrahimovic and Sakho) as well as some scintillating football in the final third which his marker Cheikh M'Bengue was unable to cope with. He was sent off before half-time for a reckless challenge on Moura. But perhaps most encouragingly, he prompted some free-flowing, fluid exchanges with Ibra, Pastore and Lavezzi in particular.

In his first few games despite not having scored yet, it is obvious that this is the player that Ancelotti had been missing for some time. He is already central to everything and is starting to get the best out of those around him; Lavezzi is thriving, Menez looks impressive when they play together and Pastore looks re-born all of a sudden. The biggest positive though is the impact he has had on Ibrahimovic.

The Swede's performance alongside the Brazilian in the Pink City was dazzling. A charging run onto a Moura through ball to knock out the defence allowing Lavezzi to tee up Pastore for the first (a lovely volley), and a bullet header from a pinpoint Moura cross for the second inside the first half was impressive. That goal was his 20th of the season and ninth in nine away league games. But arguably the highlight of the night was the towering Swede literally dancing through four defenders to lay on Gregory van der Wiel's first goal in Ligue 1 towards the end. Casanova's defenders were actually crashing into each other trying to stop him.

On this form, were Beckham to command a place in the first team he'd be little more than an infrequent contributor chipping in when allowed given PSG's domination going forward. More performances like that though and the 37-year-old will get plenty of game time whether it is coming off the bench or down to Ancelotti's confidence in his attackers. Of course it is only one match and the side need to produce more of this quality, but following Lucas' switch to partner Ibra in the middle it looks like this approach is the one that the Italian will favour with his first choice players.

Other positives were another clean sheet, Salvatore Sirigu extending his amazing unbeaten run to usurp the club's 1996-1997 record. The Italian keeper now has Gaetan Huard's 1992-1993 Ligue 1 record of 1176 minutes without conceding. Also another mature performance from Mamadou Sakho in the heart of the defence, paired once again alongside the experienced Sylvain Armand and capped with a well-taken goal. Marco Verratti got a full 90-minute run-out too and looked impressive in response to Beckham's arrival.

Next up for PSG, Bastia at home next Friday.

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