Paris Saint-Germain are 11 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit once more after a 4-0 thrashing of Stade de Reims at Parc des Princes on Sunday which saw a rare Marco Verratti brace as well as Sergio Ramos' first for the club.
For most of the opening 45 minutes, it was the usual story of Mauricio Pochettino's men making hard work of things in Le Championnat until Verratti's finish in off the post for his first league goal since 2017 broke the 0-0 deadlock on a night which the hosts were playing with Mandarin numbering and lettering for Chinese New Year.
Reims had perhaps been good value for at least a goalless first half, but PSG were not in charitable mood and Ramos doubled the lead just after the hour mark for his first strike since joining the club after his Real Madrid association ended.
"I am very happy," Ramos said post-match. "In the end, work and strength always pays off. Like with the goal, I am happy to have played for 90 minutes. It is good to have taken three points. We know how important habits and routines are.
"I am gathering pace and the most important thing is to keep improving physically to bring my best to the team at the most important period. We have Ligue 1, the Coupe de France, and the Champions League. It is the best time to get in shape. The most important thing is to get back to my best by getting minutes and confidence."
Verratti got a second goal when a short corner routine featuring substitute Lionel Messi seemingly saw Wout Faes put it through his own net, but it went down as the Italian's goal instead with the Argentine claiming the assist. It was another deflection which saw Danilo Pereira make it four which was harsh on Oscar Garcia's men overall.
Kylian Mbappe, a fitness doubt before the game, teed up Pereira before being substituted and Mauro Icardi saw another effort ruled out late on when he headed in via his own arm only to see the effort disallowed.
The President Nasser Al-Khelaïfi welcomes his Excellency, the ambassador of China in France and the famous pianist Lang Lang at the Parc des Princes, to celebrate the Chinese New Year 🇨🇳— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 24, 2022
A special event and a special printing for this night ✨ pic.twitter.com/aZ6tpvDEcm
"We did not play how we wanted to in the first half," Pochettino admitted." We started well and then made mistakes. Reims created chances but we pressed better in the second half. We found spaces and understand we could go further ahead once we scored.
"We must go step by step and game by game as many things can happen. We do not always have that much time to work. As soon as we can take advantage of a situation, we do and that is good for the team."
Next up for PSG is OGC Nice in the Coupe de France next week before a tough Ligue 1 doubleheader against Lille OSC and then Stade Rennais. Real Madrid await in the Champions League, with the first leg of their tasty round of 16 tie set for Feb. 15. You can watch the Champions League exclusively on Paramount+.