Title-chasing teams Marseille and PSG collide in Le Classique
Two of Ligue 1’s most successful teams in Europe and clubs from the biggest two cities in the country, Marseille and PSG, collide at the Stade Velodrome in what is known as ‘Le Classique’ in France.
With just eight matches to go in the domestic season for both sides, victory for either could be crucial in the race for the title. The Parisians are currently at the top of the table, with L’OM two points behind in third.
But it is PSG who hold a fantastic record in recent meetings with the south coast side, having won each of their last six in all competitions. You can back them as the slight favourites with Coral for victory again at 7/5.
Unusually, the French capital club have also scored exactly twice against Marseille in all of their last eight head-to-heads. Laurent Blanc’s men are tempting 11/1 chances to win 2-0, as they have done in five of their previous six games in his fixture, and 13/10 shouts to net two or more again.
It seems that when the pressure is high before big matches, the anticipation and excitement is too much for L’OM boss Marcelo Bielsa to hold in, as the eccentric Argentine has decided to name his starting line-up a whole two days early.
He did the same for another tense encounter earlier in the season against Bordeaux, also at home, and it ultimately paid off as they ran out 3-1 winners.
Bielsa’s line-up is as follows: Steve Mandanda, Brice Dja Djedje, Rod Fanni, Jeremy Morel, Benjamin Mendy, Alaixys Romao, Mario Lemina, Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Andre Ayew.
Marseille, who have two triumphs in their last three in the top flight (getting 10 goals from those victories), are priced at 19/10 to take all three points, and 25/1 to do so by that scoreline again. A draw is 23/10.
Striker Gignac, who is the third-top scorer in Ligue 1 this term so far with 16, is 11/5 to net anytime, or 9/1 to bag a brace or better, as he did in this fixture at the Stade Velodrome two seasons ago.
Ghana winger Ayew also has a terrific goal record against PSG, having struck four past them in recent years. He is 13/5 in the anytime market.
For the visitors, meanwhile, the main man as always will be global superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is one goal ahead of Gignac in the league this campaign. The Swede also has four strikes to his name against Marseille in Ligue 1, so is 13/10 to score anytime, and 7/2 to net first.
PSG are doing well in the Champions League this term, as they are now into the quarters after knocking out Chelsea, so L’OM could capitalise on their distractions.
However, speaking ahead of the game, starlet centre back Marquinhos said: “Every player loves this type of atmosphere, this type of match. It’s the Classico, something a bit special.
“We need to return with the feeling that we’ve got the job done. We have eight games in a month but we’re ready.
“We will have a series of big games; the semi-final of the Coupe de France against Saint-Etienne on April 8th, the final of the Coupe de la Ligue versus Bastia on April th, the Champions League against Barcelona on April 15th and 21st. We will need everyone at their best.”
Meanwhile, Marseille attacker Lucas Ocampos, who joined the club on loan from Monaco in January, said: “For me the title is more than possible. We’re in great form right now; if we win, we’ll go ahead of Paris. The title is within reach.
“Every match starting from Paris is a final, we must show a lot of heart to succeed.”