Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi do Christophe Galtier a favour! Winners & losers as PSG duo ensure on-edge manager is NOT getting sacked in the morning

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Kylian Mbappe Christophe Galtier PSG 2022-23
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Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi helped keep Christophe Galtier employed as Paris Saint-Germain won 3-1 over Lens on Saturday

PSG manager Christophe Galtier has shown little to suggest that he should stay beyond the season, and recent developments have prompted doubt over whether he can even last the final couple of months.

He is wobbling on a constant tightrope, his job reportedly in jeopardy with every negative result or unflattering news story. A defeat against second-placed Lens on Saturday, which would have given Ligue 1 a genuine title fight, may have seen him out of work before he finished his morning pastry.

But Galtier avoided that fate thanks to Mbappe and Messi.

The manager didn't appear to have much of a tactical impact on the contest, but his fist pumps, jumps, claps and shouts that accompanied all three PSG goals on Saturday were those of a manager who knows he might just have bought himself some time.

PSG's dynamic duo dictated it all, combining to ease the club nine points clear atop Ligue 1 and essentially ensuring there will be no late domestic collapse in the French capital.

Lens were enjoying the better of the play before Salis Abdul Samed was shown a straight red for raking his studs down Achraf Hakimi's ankle. And with a one-man advantage, the Parisians came alive.

Mbappe received a pass inside the box before swiveling and firing into the bottom corner. Vitinha followed shortly after, blasting a shot in from 30 yards. Messi added the finest of the three, completing a flowing move to put the game beyond doubt.

Fabian Ruiz gave up a needless penalty that Lens' Przemyslaw Frankowski tucked away in the second half, but it didn't have much significance beyond a lost clean sheet.

The win seemingly wrapped up Ligue 1 for the Parisians, and will all-but keep Galtier employed until the end of the season. There aren't many bright days at PSG this term, but his was one of them.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Parc des Princes...

  1. WINNER: Lionel Messi
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    WINNER: Lionel Messi

    PSG have been miserable in recent weeks, and Messi has not always proven he is above criticism - despite his handsome collection of career accolades. But he showed exactly how good he is on Saturday evening. The Argentine orchestrated everything in his usual graceful manner, linking play while breaking out the standard array of feints and fakes, just for good measure. His goal was a wonderful one, the conclusion of a flowing PSG move, and a link-up with his co-star.

    If these are the final days of his strange stint in France, at least he'll leave a two-time French champion.

  2. LOSER: Lens' title hopes
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    LOSER: Lens' title hopes

    It was nice while it lasted.

    Were Lens ever really in the title race, or merely the best of a squabble of European contenders, roughly in reach of the best side in the league? On Saturday, the gulf in quality between these two sides was fairly clear. Lens were short of their best, and spent 70 minutes playing with 10 men. Meanwhile, PSG never really got out of first gear aside from a 20-minute spell of magnificence from their big names.

    Lens will likely be playing Champions League football next year, and if they keep their squad together, will be a tricky side to beat. But they failed to make it interesting at the top on Saturday. While there's no shame in losing at the Parc des Princes, there might be a bit of extra disappointment in this loss.

  3. WINNER: Kylian Mbappe

    WINNER: Kylian Mbappe

    So much for goal droughts. Heading into Saturday's fixture, Mbappe hadn't grabbed a goal for PSG since March 11 - a gaudy dry spell for one of the world's best goalscorers. But he ensured things were quickly made right, opening the scoring with a neat pivot and finish. The cute finish made Mbappe PSG's all-time Ligue 1 leading goalscorer, having already become their top dog in scoring across all competitions earlier this season.

    He was involved in the third, too, feeding Messi for the goal that put the contest out of reach. Mbappe could have probably added another. He fired wide from long range. He saw a shot blocked from close range. But the goal he got was enough. There will, after all, be many more to come.

  4. LOSER: Salis Abdul Samed

    LOSER: Salis Abdul Samed

    How different things could have been if Samed had controlled his challenge. In the 19th minute, the Lens midfielder stomped on Achraf Hakimi and was deservedly shown his marching orders for an awful challenge.

    The presence of Samed and Seko Fofana was keeping the Parisians' big boys at bay in the opening exchanges, and the red card made PSG unstoppable.

    And at 11 men, there were brief moments when it appeared that Lens might be able to grab an unlikely opener. But Samed's dismissal changed things and ensured that Lens were out of the contest, right when it appeared they might grow into it.

  5. WINNER: Christophe Galtier

    WINNER: Christophe Galtier

    Galtier really needed a win here. Although he momentarily eased the pressure on himself by beating Nice last week, he reportedly had to snatch all three points against Lens to save his job for the remainder of the season. And his stars did him a massive favour. Galtier didn't do anything tactically revolutionary. His XI was mostly unchanged, with Carlos Soler handed an unlikely start (and ineffective in his run-out).

    And PSG didn't necessarily play any different either, with Messi and Mbappe the two stars at the centre of it all. But the duo delivered, while the players around them chipped in too.

    This win did little to ensure Galtier's long-term future at the club, and it didn't show a different side to the often tactically limited manager. But it kept him alive until the end of the season and ensured that if he does leave PSG after just one year, he will have a Ligue 1 winners' medal around his neck.

  6. LOSER: Warren Zaire-Emery

    LOSER: Warren Zaire-Emery

    At just 17, there's a lot more football in Zaire-Emery's future. But he must wonder what he has to do to earn himself a starting spot at the moment. He was benched yet again on Saturday, and Soler turned in a lifeless showing ahead of him.

    Zaire-Emery did eventually get on the pitch, but spent four minutes jogging around while PSG steadily killed off the game. Chances are, he will be a regular next season. But with PSG coasting, it's curious that Galtier isn't giving one of the world's most enticing midfield prospects a chance.