PSG 1.23 Draw 5.75 Rennes 15.00
As much as this PSG vs Rennes at the Parc des Princes on Friday evening doesn’t seem that important or that big, it could actually prove to be crucial for the rest of Paris’ season.
Indeed, a week before a title decider clash away at Lyon, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his teammates have the opportunity to put pressure on the leaders who only play on Sunday evening and away at Monaco.
A win against Rennes on Friday and PSG would be back a point behind Les Gones who will be without Lacazette and would be under massive pressure. First, Paris have to win and they are big favourites for this game. Since losing in a bizarre manner at Bastia (4-2) two weeks ago, they have won their last four games in all competitions and are showing improvements at every level of their game.
They are more disciplined, more focused, stronger defensively and they have their hunger back as well. They are not playing as well as parts of last season but they are getting more and more dominant now in games. There is a feeling that the old PSG is almost back after a wobbly first half of the season.
But the pressure is still very much on Laurent Blanc and his men though. They basically cannot afford any slip up now until the end of the season or at least not against smaller teams like Rennes. The manager also has the chance that everybody is fit at the moment and the big stars like Motta, Silva or Ibra are getting back to their best too.
Their performances at St Etienne last weekend was very reassuring. Silva was the best player on the pitch, Motta was not as good but he was still precious in midfield and Ibra scored the winner on a penalty. Blanc needs his best players to lead the team if they want to retain their title and comeback on Lyon. This is a big chance though and they can’t miss it.
Rennes is indeed the perfect opponent for PSG this week. They were humiliated at home last weekend by bottom of the table Caen (4-1). They have not won in Ligue 1 since the start of December (4 defeats and 3 draws). They have missed massively their star player Paul-George Step, who missed a month through injury.
He should be back on Friday but Rennes’ biggest problems is defensively. They have conceded 4 goals against Caen and 3 against Bastia, two teams in the bottom three at the time they played them.
They have a good record at the Parc des Princes though. They won their three times in their last six visits in the league. Last season, they got a 2-1 victory just after PSG were crowned champions following Monaco’s defeat earlier on. The spoilt the party and the Parisians have not forgotten. They will want to make Rennes pay for it and will too strong tomorrow.
Score prediction: PSG 2-0 Rennes 6.40
Best bet: PSG to win both halves at 2.48
Marseille 1.32 Draw 4.90 Evian 10.50
Marseille are in crisis or not far from it at least. They were beaten again last weekend, away at arch rivals Nice in the league, their third defeat in four games so far in all competitions in 2015!
They were poor defensively and didn’t create enough offensively despite a nice goal scored by Thauvin. We have the proof, once again, that something is broken in the Bielsa method.
The players are struggling to reproduce the same performances as earlier in the season. They are not as fresh, as sharp and as fit as they used to be. It was to be expected as they play under a very demanding coach.
But now Bielsa has to turn things around. He has to find the solutions to the current problems. He will change his formation as he announced on Thursday that the team will play in a more solid 4-2-3-1. He will have the return of some key players too like Mendy and Fanni, suspended last weekend. Alessandrini is also back from injury and will start.
Nkoulou was knocked out of the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday. He should be back in Marseille on Friday morning but he will not start. L’OM need to bounce back. Marseille were top of the table at Christmas and now they are four points behind Lyon and level on points and goal difference with PSG who have much more momentum and confidence at the moment.
They need to bounce back. Hosting Evian is a good game for that. Marseille have won three times against the Savoyards in their three season in the top flight. They have never conceded a goal at home against them either. Even if Marseille don’t always play well there, the Vélodrome has become a fortress.
Les Olympiens have won their last 10 league games at home and making it 11 would break a record of 67 years! And like PSG, this is a good game to put pressure on Lyon as well. Marseille would come back a point behind the leaders before their trip to Monaco where they could lose or at least drop points. But first Marseille need to dominate and dictate games again.
Evian will try to take advantage of the recent drop of form of Marseille. They have nothing to lose going to the Velodrome where they have always been beaten. Their win against Toulouse last weekend at home was the first in seven league games! They are 16th, just outside the relegation zone and they will fight until the end of the season to save themselves.
They will never give up and will always fight. They could cause problems to l’OM, however, I think the hosts will react and play much better than in recent weeks to take te three points.
Marseille to score in the first 15 minutes of the game at 2.90
Gignac to score and Marseille to win 2-0, at 11.00, is also tempting.
Score prediction: Marseille 2-0 Evian at 7.00