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Week 33 review: PSG romp to title, race for second back on

Publish on 16/04/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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PSG claimed a seventh Ligue 1 Conforama title with a 7-1 devastation of closest rivals Monaco in Week 33, leaving victorious OL and OM just four points shy of second with five matches left to play.

Paris Saint-Germain are the champions of France for a seventh time following their merciless 7-1 demolition of 2016-17 champions and nearest rivals AS Monaco at the Parc des Princes on Sunday night, the win taking them 17 points clear atop the standings with five matches left to play.

BOOM!

Disappointing in their 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne when they had a chance to stitch up the title in Week 32, Paris Saint-Germain were another proposition all together as they bounced back in style on Sunday. Their devastating one-touch play in attack and ruthless finishing were simply too much for the second-best team in the land, and this without the combined €400m-odd presence of superstars Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappé, both sidelined through injury.

"I'm very happy tonight. The championship is the competition that demands the most consistency throughout the season. After the loss to Real Madrid, the team bounced back well. We showed our strength," said coach Unai Emery, who is widely tipped to be on the way out in the summer despite reclaiming the league title and being on track for a domestic quadruple, with a Coupe de France semi-final against SM Cen looming on Wednesday.

"We want to keep growing and continue writing our history, here in France and in Europe. The players were very focused tonight. They gave it everything for 90 minutes, to keep scoring goals and to keep defending. Now we turn our attentions to Wednesday's semi-final of the Coupe de France away to Caen."

Jardim: 'A nightmare'

Meanwhile for Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, for whom the only real positive was Rony Lopes' scoring his eighth goal in as many Ligue 1 Conforama starts, it was a bleak evening in the capital: "It was a very bad game. A nightmare. Worse than losing is the way we lost. Nothing went right. I think this is the biggest defeat of my career. In my mind, it'll leave a mark. The reality is that to get to the very top, we all have to do more, from the players to the staff. We need to work hard to secure second place."

Indeed, the defeat leaves Monaco just four points clear of Lyon and Marseille, locked on 66 points and in red-hot form with five matches left, meaning the race for second place and direct Champions League qualification is back on in earnest.

Depay day in Lyon once again

Powered by in-form Dutch international forward Memphis Depay, Lyon scored a fourth win in a row, 3-0 at home to Amiens, breaking the promoted side's four-match undefeated run. Depay, who followed up on his goal and four assists in Week 32 with another strike and assist, is playing a key role in Lyon's late-season surge, helping keep the pressure on Marseille.

After a truly stunning performance in their 5-2 drubbing of RB Leipzig in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday, OM knew they had to win to keep pace with Lyon and duly did so - thanks to a fit-again top-scorer Florian Thauvin's 17th of the season - but it wasn't easy faced with a relegation-threatened Troyes side, who twice took the lead.

Fifth still up for grabs

Below the Olympiques, Rennes are leading the charge for fifth and the UEFA Europa League berth that goes with it, but Sabri Lamouchi's men are in front of sixth-placed Nice on goal difference alone following their shock 2-1 home defeat to bottom side Metz, for whom relegation would have become a certainty had Nolan Roux not scored twice to overhaul the hosts and take the club within five points of safety ahead of their clash at home to Caen in Week 34.

That Nice are back in the running for Europe has much to do with the uptick in form of Alassane Pléa, who with eight goals and an assist in his last five outings, including his side's only goal in the 1-1 draw in Angers, is also making a case for inclusion in Didier Deschamps' France squad for the World Cup.

Montpellier's bid for fifth took a blow as they fell heavily at home to south-western rivals Bordeaux, Ellyes Skhiri's spectacular long-range effort cold comfort as they fell 3-1 to Gustavo Poyet's side, who saw Denmark international Martin Braithwaite score his first goal for the club since signing in January.

Nantes, longtime favourites for fifth, could only manage a 1-1 draw at home to Dijon - their fourth in a row without a win (two defeats) and they duly slip to ninth.

Debuchy bounces back

An own-goal from Saint-Etienne's Mathieu Debuchy snatched a draw from the jaws of victory over PSG last weekend, and it fittingly it was a goal from the former Gunner that handed Les Verts victory in Strasbourg on Saturday, the win taking Jean-Louis Gasset's side eighth while Strasbourg, five points clear of the drop in 16th, continue to flirt with danger.

Things could have looked worse for Thierry Laurey's men had LOSC been able to sit on a two-goal lead, but two injury-time strikes from EA Guingamp clinched a 2-2 that leaves Christophe Galtier's side, who last won back in Week 23, in the relegation play-off spot, ahead of Troyes on goal difference.

SM Caen's home clash against Toulouse was called off due to heavy weather in France's north.