Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 2-0 win against Corsican minnows Gazelec Ajaccio to maintain their perfect start to the season after Marseille slumped to another defeat.
Angel Di Maria, the €63m (Dh257m) signing from Manchester United, was introduced to the PSG fans before kick-off, although the Argentine winger is not yet fit enough to make his debut.
GFC Ajaccio could run their club for almost five years for the same price that opponents PSG have just spent on Angel Di Maria (€62m).
— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) August 16, 2015
It always seemed a question of when, not if, PSG would open the scoring and they duly did so in the 11th minute thanks to Blaise Matuidi, the France midfielder taking the ball into the box and then sending a fizzing left-foot drive high into the net from a tightening angle.
PSG added their second goal just before the midway point in the first half, captain Thiago Silva heading home from a Thiago Motta corner.
At that point it looked like turning into a rout, but Edinson Cavani failed to convert several openings in the second half and Serge Aurier headed a great chance wide.
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Earlier, Marseille slumped to a second defeat in as many games, a first-half strike by Hamari Traore giving Reims all three points in a 1-0 win.
OM, still reeling from the shock resignation of coach Marcelo Bielsa, now find themselves in the relegation zone in the fledgling table.
The day’s other match saw Lorient scramble a 1-1 draw to Bastia thanks to a stoppage-time Benjamin Moukandjo penalty, which cancelled out Floyd Ayite’s early opener.
Defending champions PSV Eindhoven beat Groningen 2-0 in the Dutch Eredivisie.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is worried a generation of young English talent could be lost if they have no hope of progression from Premier League clubs’ academies.
Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn earlier this week warned home-grown players were falling into a “black hole” because of the number of foreigners in the top flight.
Of the 220 players who started in the opening round of Premier League matches last weekend, only 73 (33.2 per cent) were English.
Glenn suggested one way to unblock the “logjam” was for talented English youngsters to move abroad for a taste of first-team football. Wenger rejected that suggestion, saying it would leave players unprepared for the unique hustle-and-bustle of the Premier League when they return.
However, the Frenchman, now the longest-serving manager in the English top division, acknowledges the issue is a cause for concern.
“From 18 to 20 the competition becomes very important for the players to feel they move forward,” he said.
“What the academy has corrected is that the training side is today better structured and better organised in all the clubs, but still a very important thing is the last phase and the integration into the first team. That at the moment is a big problem.”
Wenger, the 65-year-old who took charge of the north London club in September 1996, continued: “The difference between when I arrived here and today – to integrate very young players into Premier League games becomes more difficult than before because the level has gone up everywhere and you have no margin any more.
“You have a generation of players who are lost between 18 and 20. When a guy of that age feels he doesn’t move forward, he loses
motivation, and I am scared about that.
“In France they (young players) play in Division Three with their reserves, so you get competition against adults. In England you have created the under-21 league.
“I am not a fan of it because it is not the same as playing in competitive games – there is not the build-up, the pressure nor the results you have to stand up for.”
— Sport360° (@Sport360) August 14, 2015
Arsenal head to Crystal Palace today looking to respond from the disappointment of the opening-weekend home defeat to West Ham.
“Sometimes, we are maybe too nice,” the Gunners boss said.
“If you want to say our aggressive level last Sunday was not big enough, then I would agree with you.
“It is maybe linked with the fact we were too confident and that we thought we would win the game.”