Marseille - PSG - Sunday 20.00 GMT
This is the big game of the weekend in France, Le Classique between the two arch-rivals, Marseille and PSG, on Sunday evening at the Stade Vélodrome.
It is a hotly anticipated game and a very interesting one as well. Marseille are unbeaten in their last 11 league games (7 draws and 4 wins) but they have not won at home since early October, hence their eighth place in the table. They seem to have a psychological problem when it comes to play at the Vélodrome in front of their fans. The stadium will be absolutely packed on Sunday and the atmosphere fantastic so the Marseille players will have to use it in their favour as there will not be any PSG fans in the stadium due to security reasons.
The big boost for l’OM is the return of Lassana Diarra in midfield. The French international is the team’s best player this season and without him, Marseille struggled. But he is back and will start in front of the back four. Florian Thauvin, who is back at the club on loan from Newcastle, was sent off in midweek and will be suspended while Lucas Silva, Ocampos and Mendy are out. Alessandrini came back from injury in midweek and should start on the right hand side.
It is a crucial game for Marseille, who have not beaten PSG at home since November 2011. It could turn their season around and could give a lot more credit to Michel, the manager, who is not the most popular person amongst the fans at the moment. They will have to be very solid defensively against PSG’s attack.
The league leaders will arrive in Marseille full of confidence. They are still unbeaten this season in Ligue 1 and have beaten l’OM in their last eight encounters. Their last defeat against the enemy was that aforementioned match in November 2011.
The Parisians have a definite psychological edge over the Marseillais and also have an almost fully fit squad. Only Marco Verratti, which is a big blow though, and Van der Wiel are missing. Pastore is a doubt after his calf injury but he could be in the squad. Everybody else is fit and ready to go.
It will be the game of the season, considering the current situation. Marseille will be so motivated to be the first team to beat PSG this season and Paris, who have just beaten Nantes’ record of most unbeaten games in a row in the league (32), want to continue their fantastic domestic season. I think it will be a draw though and that both teams will share the points.
The odds are massively in favour of PSG with an away win at 1.70. The draw is at 3.50 and a Marseille home win is at 5.70, my best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 5.10.
Score prediction: Marseille 2 PSG 2 at 18.00