PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain enjoyed a straightforward 3-0 win over AS Saint-Etienne at Parc des Princes on Friday, thanks to an Edinson Cavani strike in either half and a well-worked effort from Thiago Motta.
Alphonse Areola: After a shaky performance in the 6-2 thrashing of Toulouse last weekend, the French shot stopper will have boosted his confidence by keeping a clean sheet and silenced some of his hasty critics ... for now. More than that, the youth academy graduate had to make two important saves to earn it.
Presnel Kimpembe: The homegrown youngster started his second consecutive match and was more convincing alongside Marquinhos than he was next to captain Thiago Silva. The French defender was booked on the stroke of half-time but was otherwise solid and is enjoying coach Unai Emery's new rotation policy at the back.
Uncomplicated nature: Before Neymar's arrival, this sort of match could easily have ended in a draw or a narrow home defeat. Instead, even though the team were not at their best, they won easily against a Saint-Etienne side that had started the season well. It bodes well for other tricky domestic fixtures this campaign.
Angel Di Maria: The Argentina international was disappointing once again and even though he hit the woodwork with a second-half free kick, he was not good enough during his 82 minutes on the pitch and may well find himself out of the starting XI after the international break with Julian Draxler on his way back to full match fitness.
Emery's lack of changes: Despite being two goals up six minutes into the second half, it still took Emery until 11 minutes from time to make his first substitution with the introduction of Yuri Berchiche. The Spanish manager was right to give his summer signing a chance but he deserved longer than he got. Draxler and Giovani Lo Celso also merited more time on the pitch, while Christopher Nkunku could have been given a shot.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Despite his reluctance to make some second-half substitutions, the Spaniard's starting XI got the job done and he has overseen four wins from as many matches.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating) GK Alphonse Areola, 7 -- Although his sceptics will not stay quiet for long, he will be able to enjoy an international break without much scrutiny after a deserved shutout.
DF Thomas Meunier, 6 -- The Belgium international was given a chance instead of regular starter Dani Alves and did not disappoint. Although he picked up a first-half booking, he also provided the assist for Cavani's late second with a pinpoint low cross.
DF Marquinhos, 7 -- Solid alongside Kimpembe at the back, the Brazil international also got involved going forward and provided a lovely chested assist for Motta's second-half goal.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 7 -- Although his first-half booking took a little shine off of his performance, it was a positive evening overall for the mature 22-year-old.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 5 -- Another underwhelming showing from the France international. Although he and Neymar are showing signs of developing a good understanding on the left, he needs to get more involved. It was unsurprising that he was replaced by Berchiche in the second half, the only thing that was surprising was how long it took Emery to make the change.
MF Thiago Motta, 6 -- The veteran midfielder scored the hosts' second of the game with a nice sliding finish and was otherwise solid, but unspectacular.
MF Javier Pastore, 5 -- The Argentina international had a first half to forget. After that, there were some good moments and some bad. "El Flaco" was particularly unlucky that his compatriot Di Maria could not do his sublime second-half through ball justice. Overall, a mixed bag that was more bad than good on this occasion.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 5 -- After an authoritative display in the thrashing of Toulouse last weekend, the France international was quieter and showed some occasional laziness and lapses in concentration.
FW Angel Di Maria, 4 -- Disappointing again. A second-half free kick from distance, which hit the post, could have changed that a bit but it would still have been a below-par outing from the Albiceleste star.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- It was not the Uruguay international's finest performance but he still finished with two goals. El Matador struck from the penalty spot in the first half after winning the spot kick himself and then bagged himself a stylish flicked finish to move level -- provisionally -- with AS Monaco's Radamel Falcao at the top of the Ligue 1 scoring charts with five goals so far this term.
FW Neymar, 7 -- The Brazilian superstar was not at the same level he was against EA Guingamp and Toulouse, but even though it was an off night, the 25-year-old was still involved. His pass set Cavani free to win his first-half penalty, he swung in the free kick that Marquinhos chested into Motta's path to make it 2-0 and Les Parisiens' No. 10 passed to Meunier in the build-up to Cavani's second. Neymar helped to make a usually tricky clash straightforward with minimal fuss.
DF Yuri Berchiche, NR -- The Spaniard was unlucky to get little more than 10 minutes at the end but still came close to a debut goal with an angled drive that whistled just wide.
FW Julian Draxler, NR -- The Germany international will have Di Maria's starting XI spot in his sights when he returns from international duty after continuing to step up his return to full match fitness as a late replacement.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, NR -- Despite getting less than 10 minutes at the end of the game, the talented young Argentina midfielder almost scored with a superb shot from distance.