In the ongoing Ligue 1 title race, it was Paris Saint-Germain that had the first opportunity to go back to the top of the table. They faced struggling Toulouse at the Parc des Princes and it was midfielder, Adrien Rabiot, formerly linked to Spurs by sites including Goal.com that proved the difference on Saturday afternoon.
Questions had been raised over the Parisians' last two performances. Could they bounce back from the shock 2-2 draw against Caen last weekend, and could they show the same urgency and pace that helped them to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League?
Two goals from Rabiot and a header from captain Thiago Silva helped answer the first questions, but it was another laborious performance over the 90 minutes.
Laurent Blanc started with the same front three that played against Chelsea, and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic made any contribution of note, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani were involved sparingly over the course of the game.
In the first half, Rabiot opened the scoring with a sumptuous right-foot strike, finding the corner after Zlatan had set him up with a neat back-heel.
The 19-year-old midfielder was apparently all set for a loan move away from Paris in January, but with Clement Chantome’s transfer to Bordeaux complete, Rabiot was destined to spend the next four months with PSG. On Saturday, with Marco Verratti suspended and an injury to Yohan Cabaye, the Parisian was given a rare start.
Rabiot would play beside Javier Pastore and it was the Argentine that set up the second. Showing great balance and guile, he skipped past a number of Toulouse defenders before finally shaking free to square a low ball into the box. Rabiot was there to knock it in at the back post.
Slowly but surely, the France Under-20 international is starting to find more time on the pitch for PSG. If he wants a long career in the French capital, more performances like this are needed, not contract disputes and tantrums involving his mother.
The win put PSG temporarily top, but Lyon’s 1-0 win over Nantes knocked them back down.