Marseille to shake PSG hangover against Nantes?
Having conceded six goals in four days against Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique de Marseille will be relieved to welcome FC Nantes to the Orange Vélodrome on Sunday evening.
Olympique de Marseille - FC Nantes
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Rudi Garcia's side had won ten, drawn two and lost just once across 13 games in all competitions before running into Ligue 1 Conforama leaders PSG last Sunday. The capital club won that game 3-0, before repeating the scoreline in the Coupe de France quarter-finals on Wednesday.
With UEFA Europa League commitments added to their workload, Garcia has grown exasperated with OM's schedule in recent weeks, claiming after the second PSG reverse that he would have to "put some of the players on formalin so they don't get hurt."
Club captain Dimitri Payet, who scored five goals in 33 games with Nantes between 2005 and 2007, sat out of Wednesday's game in Paris, and might not be fit in time to face his former club.
"At least the good news is that we didn't lose [another] player," continued Garcia. "Dimitri [Payet] couldn't play. We'll see about his participation on Sunday."
Watch: Highlights of PSG's first 3-0 win over Marseille, in the league
Marseille did at least welcome back goalkeeper Steve Mandanda at the Parc des Princes; and although he looked culpable for Angel Di Maria's second goal, he stopped many more, and is expected to start ahead of Yohann Pelé.
Rolando, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Valère Germain and Jordan Amavi were all rested in midweek and should return to the starting line-up for OM, who are looking to make it eight home wins from a possible nine in the league.
Marseille may be facing Nantes an opportune time. Les Canaris lost 1-0 to promoted Amiens SC on Saturday to make it four games without a win, while coach Claudio Ranieri has been heavily linked with the Italy job in recent days, with club officials saying they wouldn't stand in the 66-year-old's way.
"If the situation presented itself, I would, of course, discuss it with him because he's a gentleman with huge experience in international football," said Nantes president Waldemar Kita. "Leading your country is a dream for any coach and I don't like to curb someone's career. We'd have to adapt."
Watch: Highlights of Amiens' 1-0 win over Nantes
Ranieri: 'Still confident'
Until an official approach comes in, Ranieri's focus is on Nantes, and the man who masterminded Leciester City's shock English Premier League triumph in 2016 is confident his side can arrest their recent slide.
"Despite [losing to Amiens] we played well," he said. "It was little details that decided the game. We've lost four of our last five home matches and had one draw, which is just not possible. It will change. I'm disappointed but I'm still confident because the players are working hard."
Adrien Thomasson struggled against Amiens so Préjuce Nakoulma could take his place on the left flank, with Emiliano Sala continuing to lead the line. Santy Ngom is expected to keep his place on the right, though Jules Iloki is a viable alternative on either side.
Marseille: Mandanda; Sarr, Rami, Rolando, Amavi; Zambo Anguissa, Gustavo (c); Thauvin, Sanson, Ocampos; Germain
Nantes: Tatarasanu; Dubois (c), Carlos, Pallois, Djidji; Touré, Girotto; Ngom, Rongier, Nakoulma; Sala
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