No need for Neymar - Lionel Messi & Kylian Mbappe are better as a duo! PSG winners & losers as Ligue 1 leaders see off Marseille in impressive style

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi were among the goals as Paris Saint-Germain turned in a counter-attacking clinic to beat Marseille.

PSG spent most of Sunday proving that it helps to have two of the best players in the world. The Parisians weren't always good, but they relied on their stars, who took over in the big moments to inspire a 3-0 victory that takes them eight points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 standings.

After being pinned back for the first 20 minutes, PSG exploded. Mbappe was first, darting behind the Marseille backline, latching on to Messi's pass, and finding the bottom corner.

Messi followed shortly after, this time turning home a cross from Mbappe to give the Ligue 1 leaders a 2-0 lead. The 35-year-old's simple finish was his 700th goal at club level, and he is now just one goal away from matching Cristiano Ronaldo's all-time European record.

The duo hit on the break again shortly after half time. Messi provided the pass, with a lovely curled chip into the path of Mbappe. The forward buried it with aplomb, guiding the ball into the far corner with an outside-of-the-foot volley for his 200th goal in a PSG shirt - level with Edinson Cavani as the club's all-time record scorer.

Marseille had some chances as the half wore on, but Gianluigi Donnarumma made a series of neat saves, while PSG's backline produced a handful of important clearances.

For all of the criticism levelled at PSG and head coach Christophe Galtier, the Ligue 1 leaders still have Mbappe and Messi. That, as it turns out, is a good thing.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from the Stade Velodrome...

  1. WINNER: Lionel Messi

    WINNER: Lionel Messi

    This was a modern Messi classic. He doesn't run much anymore, nor does he affect play as he did in his Barcelona heyday. But he can still produce game-defining moments.

    And that was the case against Marseille, as the forward was deadly when required. He assisted PSG's first, threading a perfectly-weighted pass into the stride of Mbappe. He scored the second shortly after, buzzing into the penalty area before finishing from inside the six-yard box for his 700th club career goal.

    And then, the third. Messi curved a ball over the back four, which Mbappe turned in with an outside-of-the-foot volley to establish an unassailable lead.

    It was one of those performances where Messi makes everything look so easy. He seldom sprinted; he never really seemed to try. Still, he lifted his team to a win nonetheless.

  2. LOSER: Neymar

    LOSER: Neymar

    Was this the game that suggested that Neymar is surplus to requirements?

    PSG were far more dangerous in the absence of the Brazilian attacker, who has been sidelined due to ankle ligament damage, and are now arguably better overall without him. Neymar, brilliant as he is, slows the game down. He constricts the spaces, allows opponents to recover, and can be detrimental to the flow of an attack. For all of the brilliant, eye-catching moments, he is something of an awkward fit in this side.

    And Sunday was perfect proof. Mbappe and Messi were devastating on the break and worked well in tandem with a more aggressive midfield trio backing them up. There are certainly benefits to having Neymar in the side, especially when PSG play against teams that will sit back a bit more. But in these open contests, the Brazilian is no longer a necessity.

  3. WINNER: Kylian Mbappe

    WINNER: Kylian Mbappe

    Turns out the other guy isn't too bad at football either.

    Mbappe was radically different to Messi on Sunday. He was all energy, a blur of legs and tricks. And it was just too much for Marseille. The winger started deep, but eventually pushed higher up the pitch, tasked with running in behind a worryingly open Marseille back line.

    And he was devastating once he got into the right positions. Mbappe scored the opener with a dash into space and finish. He grabbed the third with a curved run and volley. He added an assist for good measure, nutmegging a defender with a probing cross that Messi turned in from short range.

    There could have been one or two more, had Pau Lopez not made two big stops. Still, Mbappe will take the brace. He is now PSG's joint all-time leading goalscorer with 200 goals. If he sticks around, there will be a lot more to come.

  4. LOSER: The title race

    Well, that was fun while it (maybe) lasted.

    There has been a new competitor to PSG's title hopes every week. First, it was Lorient. Then it was Lens' turn. And going into Sunday, Marseille were the newly anointed challengers. And it makes sense. Marseille are direct, intense and dynamic. They have pace on the break and are solid enough defensively to make some noise atop the table.

    But their hopes crumbled over 90 commanding Parisian minutes. PSG battered their league rivals without having to dominate play, simply relying on their two-star men to brush aside the second-placed team.

    Marseille weren't at their best on the day, and committed a series of mistakes that led to two of PSG's goals. But near-perfection is required to compete with the reigning champs. Marseille, for all of their strengths, can't reach the same level every single week.

    It's not over yet, but it's difficult to see which team can push PSG next.

  5. WINNER: Christophe Galtier

    WINNER: Christophe Galtier

    This wasn't a managerial masterclass from Galtier. But he kept it simple, and that worked. Galtier relied on his preferred 3-5-2 system, gave his front two freedom to operate, and configured his midfield triangle to nullify Marseille's creativity.

    Alexis Sanchez, so devastating for Marseille at his best, was kept mostly quiet. Matteo Guendouzi had little space to make any signature driving runs. And Cengiz Under, usually so quick and tricky, had very few clear opportunities.

    It all amounted to a solid performance, with Messi and Mbappe carrying the attacking weight, and the rest of the team working hard enough around them to get a crucial three points.

    The former Lille boss might not be the answer going forward, but he has enough talent in his side to keep winning — as long as he doesn't fiddle around too much.

  6. LOSER: Presnel Kimpembe
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    LOSER: Presnel Kimpembe

    The centre-back's rotten luck continues. Presnel Kimpembe went down injured while tracking back early in the game, and was visibly upset while being stretchered off. It was another tough blow in an unfortunate season for the France international, who missed the World Cup with a knock, and is now facing another lengthy spell out.

    Galtier confirmed after the match that Kimpembe will miss the rest of the season after tearing his achilles.

    PSG should stay afloat in his absence, especially with Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos settling into form. But Kimpembe is a top talent, and will undoubtedly be a big miss, not least for the extra experience he can offer.