Neymar was not missed as runaway French leader Paris Saint-Germain crushed Amiens 5-0 on Saturday for a 10th straight league win. Neymar was given a few days off by coach Thomas Tuchel after playing for Brazil in the international break. PSG faces Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday and is then away to bitter rival Marseille on Sunday.
Except for Neymar, PSG’s lineup was near full-strength and the defending champion easily extended the best start to the league. PSG is averaging nearly four goals per game, but should have scored even more at home. Some sloppy finishing will not have impressed Tuchel, who is trying to instill more intensity into the side.
“It wasn’t a great performance,” the demanding Tuchel said. “But we were serious and worked hard for each other.”
Winger Angel Di Maria set up the first two goals with superb delivery from corners, taken from the right and curled with his left foot. It should have been 3-0 moments later, but striker Edinson Cavani somehow shot wide when he had an open goal.
Germany winger Julian Draxler got the third, and a minute later France World Cup star Kylian Mbappe curled a shot through the legs of a defender for his ninth league goal. Moussa Diaby skillfully slotted home the fifth.
Thierry Henry’s coaching debut was miserable as Monaco lost at Strasbourg 2-1, finished with 10 men, lost top scorer Radamel Falcao to injury, and slipped to 19th place. Henry, the all-time leading scorer for France and Arsenal, got an ovation from the Strasbourg fans when he walked out.
But his ambitions were undermined without his best two goalkeepers who were injured, and two defenders who were suspended. No. 3 goalkeeper Seydou Sy clumsily fumbled a header from midfielder Adrien Thomasson to gift Strasbourg the lead after 17 minutes.
Falcao limped off with what looked like a left-thigh injury in the 36th. Henry took a risk selecting Falcao, considering he played late Wednesday night for Colombia. Henry then lost another forward, this time to a red card, when Samuel Grandsir was sent off midway through the second half.
Strasbourg made the most of it when South Africa striker Lebo Mothiba was released and confidently dinked the ball over Sy. Midfielder Youri Tielemans’ injury-time penalty for Monaco was too late.
Second-place Lille remained eight points behind PSG after winning at Dijon 2-1. Striker Nicolas Pepe scored a penalty and helped set up Brazilian forward Luiz Araujo just before halftime. Emiliano Sala grabbed a hat trick as Nantes beat Toulouse 4-0 at home to move above Monaco into 18th place.
Last-place Guingamp drew at Caen 0-0, and Reims was held by Angers to 1-1.
Marseille, Montpellier, Saint-Etienne and Bordeaux play on Sunday and all have a chance to overtake Lyon in third place. Marseille travels to play Nice; Saint-Etienne faces Rennes, and Montpellier hosts Bordeaux.