PSG and OM set for Classique

Ligue 1 Conforama > News

By I. Holyman

Paris Saint-Germain will hope to extend their unbeaten start and their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 Conforama table on Sunday against the very team that would love nothing more than to beat them, arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille.

 Olympique de Marseille - Paris Saint-Germain 


Once the defining fixture of the French title race, the Classique has been an uneven contest in recent years. PSG are unbeaten on their last five trips to the Stade Orange Vélodrome, and have won the last four. Last season's crushing 5-1 triumph suggested just how big the gap had grown, and with the summer arrivals of Neymar Jr and Kylian Mbappé, PSG have moved up another gear again.

It is also not necessarily only the star names up front OM must fear. Last weekend's dramatic triumph at Dijon FCO would have been a surprise stumble for PSG had right-back Thomas Meunier not produced a double strike - his second coming in added time at the end of the game - to leave the capital club with wins in all but one of their top-flight outings this season.

WATCH: Meunier outshines stars in Dijon

"[Edinson] Cavani, Mbappe and Neymar must fear for their place!" the Belgium international joked to Canal+. "I'm in good form, whether it is with the national team or with the club. I have two coaches who trust me completely and provide me with a lot of offensive freedom.

"It is important for me to make this offensive contribution. My past as an attacker will always be with me. Neither of the balls were supposed to be for me on the goals, but I made the most of them. I love providing attacking play. With luck and good work I am rewarded."

The win took PSG six points clear at the top of the table, a healthy gap at this stage of a season created by their win and second-placed AS Monaco's slip away to Olympique Lyonnais, who also scored late to secure all three points.

Stiffer spine

Comfortable 4-0 winners at Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, a game in which Cavani - rested last weekend - made a scoring return to the starting line-up, PSG head south with Thiago Motta, Layvin Kurzawa and Marco Verratti also ready to feature as Unai Emery's men aim to register only their club's tenth league win in Marseille in 39 attempts.

Rudi Garcia's side promise to be a more formidable prospect than they proved in the 2016-17 campaign however. Summer reinforcements such as Adil Rami, Konstantios Mitroglu and notably Luiz Gustavo have given Marseille a stiffer spine than in recent seasons, and though they are not perhaps ready to mount a serious title challenge, they are contenders to finish in the top three.

WATCH: Late slip costs OM win in Strasbourg

To secure that - and with it, potentially, Champions League qualification - Garcia and his men can ill afford to drop points as they did at RC Strasbourg Alsace last time out. Ahead twice through Dimitri Payet and Morgan Sanson, OM would have even lost but for Mitroglu's maiden goal in his new club's colours two minutes from time to secure a 3-3 draw.

"The aim is to higher, but we'll have to produce different kinds of matches to the ones that we did this even. We can't settle for being happy to have come back to level with two minutes left. We are happy to have done it because it means we got a point, but we came for something else," said Payet, one of the stand-out performers in a side lacking the suspended Luiz Gustavo and Lucas Ocampos, both of whom are available on Sunday.

"There is a game on Sunday in which everyone will be waiting for us, we know that. Of course we'll have to do better than we did [in Strasbourg] if we want to get a result."

Probable teams

Marseille: Mandanda; Sakai, Rami, Rolando, Amavi; Zambo Anguissa, Luiz Gustavo; Thauvin, Payet, Ocampos; Mitroglou

PSG: Areola; Meunier, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Kurzawa; Thiago Motta, Verratti, Rabiot; Mbappé, Cavani, Neymar



Your email has been successfully sent