Unai Emery's decision to start Pastore in was one of the notable elements leading into Sunday night's big match. Playing just behind the forward, Javier Pastore played a big role in his side's victory over OL. Despite Lyon's having opened the scoring early, El Flaco quickly took control of the middle of the park.
After a few flourishes in the opening stages, the Parisian number ten combined inspiration and precision just after the half-hour mark. On the right wing, the Argentine worked a perfect one-two with compatriot Angel Di Maria before teeing up Adrien Rabiot to equalise at the far post (34'). A few minutes later, he ghosted between Lyon's lines and found the space and time to provide Julian Draxler with the ammunition for Paris' second goal of the match (40').
When you add to that the various flashes of genius he provided throughout the match, you get a high-level performance that duly drew an ovation from the Parc des Princes faithful when he was subbed off for Lucas (79').
His performance was hailed by his teammates, with Adrien Rabiot full of praise for the midfield recital: "He's an artist. He feels the game and we don't have any other players with that profile in our team. He can make the difference in small spaces and conjure a millimetre-perfect final ball."
Exactly the kind of player you want on your side when the all-important final stretch of the season is looming!