Paris Saint-Germain - Olympique de Marseille Preview: Bitter rivals face off as Ancelotti's men seek top spot in Ligue 1
The biggest match in French football takes centre stage on Sunday evening at the Parc des Princes, with both sides needing wins to offset respective crises.
By Mohammed Ali
Jallet, Bisevac, Sakho, Maxwell
Gameiro, Pastore, Nene
OLYMPIQUE DE MARSEILLE
Azpilicueta, Fanni, N'Koulou, Morel
Amalfitano, Valbuena, Ayew
Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti has various injury worries to mull over ahead of his first major test as trainer of the nouveau-riche capital club - the visit of bitter rivals Marseille where victory could see them top the Ligue 1 table should leaders Montpellier suffer defeat.
Clement Chantome is out with a hip injury, with Diego Lugano, Alex and Thiago Motta all rated as doubtful for Sunday's match for various reasons. In their absence will be Milan Bisevac, who deputised for Alex in last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Nancy, as well as Blaise Matuidi, who continues his run in the first team.
Jeremy Menez is also rated 50-50 to participate in the crunch clash, with Ancelotti forced to either revert to a 4-3-1-2 with Christophe Jallet moving to the right-hand side of midfield and Ceara slotting in at right-back. Moreover, Kevin Gameiro could fill in Menez's role, supporting Guillaume Hoarau up front.
Nene's public outburst in being dropped last weekend amid discontent in the dressing room has seen him offer an apology, and he should feature, with Mamadou Sakho and Maxwell returning to the side as PSG seek a first league win in four games.
Olympique de Marseille, meanwhile, have problems of their own. Confidence is down at the Provence club after a record 10 games without a win, with reports surfacing of a rift concerning certain players' workrate, which has seen the 2010 champions plummet to ninth place.
Souleymane Diawara is out for the season following knee surgery, with Rod Fanni set to move into central defence as cover. Alou Diarra was suspended for Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich and returns to the starting XI. Loic Remy was taken off shortly after half-time at the Allianz Arena, but is thought to have overcome his hamstring problem.
Sunday's Clasico will have a bearing on where the Ligue 1 title ends up in May, with L'OM hosting leaders Montpellier in another crunch game on Wednesday.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Paris Saint-Germain sit 2nd in Ligue 1 after collecting 60 points from 30 games.
- Les Parisiens had ironically been held to a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux and lost to Nancy in the matches preceding the first Clasico. The same results have occurred this time.
- Carlo Ancelotti has won only 45% of his Ligue 1 games since taking over, a stark contrast to Antoine Koumbouare's 63% before being sacked.
- PSG have not kept a clean sheet against Marseille in the league since 2006.
- Olympique de Marseille's woeful run of form continues, although they arrested their losing sequence with a 1-1 draw against Nice two weeks ago.
- Didier Deschamps' men sit ninth in Ligue 1 with 40 points, having also suffered Champions League elimination in midweek.
- Marseille thrashed their arch-rivals 3-0 in the reverse fixture at Stade Velodrome earlier this season.
- OM have only lost one of their last six fixtures against the capital club.
- Loic Remy has four goals in his last seven games against PSG, he also scored in the 3-0 win in week 15.
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Top 3 Predictions
Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Olympique de Marseille
- 18.18 %
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Olympique de Marseille
- 14.88 %
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Olympique de Marseille
- 10.74 %
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Oct 6, 2013||Olympique de Marseille 1 - Paris Saint-Germain 2|
|France - Coupe de France (FRAC)||Feb 27, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Feb 24, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0|
|France - Coupe de la Ligue (FRLC)||Oct 31, 2012||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0|
|France - Ligue 1 (FRA1)||Oct 7, 2012||Olympique de Marseille 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 2|
|Dec 4, 2013||Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 - Paris Saint-Germain 0||FRA1|
|Dec 1, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 4 - Olympique Lyonnais 0||FRA1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 2 - Olympiakos Piraeus 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Stade de Reims 0 - Paris Saint-Germain 3||FRA1|
|Nov 9, 2013||Paris Saint-Germain 3 - OGC Nice 1||FRA1|
|Olympique de Marseille|
|Dec 3, 2013||LOSC Lille Métropole 1 - Olympique de Marseille 0||FRA1|
|Nov 29, 2013||Olympique de Marseille 2 - Montpellier HSC 0||FRA1|
|Nov 26, 2013||Arsenal 2 - Olympique de Marseille 0||UCL|
|Nov 22, 2013||AC Ajaccio 1 - Olympique de Marseille 3||FRA1|
|Nov 10, 2013||Olympique de Marseille 2 - FC Sochaux 1||FRA1|
|-||Mohamed Lamine Sissoko||Midfielder|
|9||André Pierre Gignac||Striker|
|Mohamed Lamine Sissoko|