Olympique de Marseille vs PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Venue: Stade Velodrome
Date: 26th November 2011
Kick-Off: 20:00 (GMT)
After last week’s bitter disappointment in succumbing to defeat against lowly Nancy, a trip to the Stade Velodrome against one of your bitterest rivals gives added pressure to Paris Saint-Germain in a game in where a positive result is imperative.
The manner of the defeat last week culminated in a distinct lack of potency up top where the creativity of Jeremy Menez (suspended) was more than apparent. For all the possession in midfield, there was no cutting edge in the final third and ultimately paid the price by not making the most of territorial advantage. Nancy were drilled, disciplined and frustrated their opponents. Perhaps, underestimation on the part of the Parisians came into play, believing that with 40,000 fans behind them, the result would materialise.
Unfortunately, there will be no blue and red support tomorrow night due to a ban on visiting fans entering the stadium following past conflict between both sets of supporters.
PSG’s record in Marseille is pretty grim, losing 21 out of 32. Antoine Kombouare has also never tasted victory there as a Coach. Nevertheless, if ever there was a perfect time to play Les Phoceens then it is now. They have lost two games on the bounce against highflying Montpellier and Olympiakos during the week in the Champions League. There is also discontent in the dressing room after striker Andre-Pierre Gignac had been ushered into the reserves after a spat with Coach Didier Deschamps. The player had been angry at being left on the bench in midweek and is now paying the consequences of undermining the World Cup winner, who stated this week that the incident has had no bearing on team morale.
OM are currently lying in 10th, 12 points off PSG at the top. A defeat tomorrow will all but end their aspirations of resurrecting a title charge and focus will switch solely onto qualification for the Champions League. Prior to the defeat against MHSC last week, they had gone seven games unbeaten in the league, appearing to steady the ship after dismal start to the season.
Despite their recent wobbles, they possess an array of talent. Kombouare will be mindful of the pairing of Loic Remy and Andre Ayew in attack. Both have netted 10 goals between them in the league this season and will be a considerable threat. Both possess pace and agile movement that will give the Parisian defence food for thought.
By the time the game kicks-off, PSG could find themselves knocked off the top by Montpellier, if they get a favourable result in Sochaux. That will indeed turn up the heat on a fixture that already simmers to the boil before a ball has been kicked.
Thankfully, there are no fresh injury concerns. Siaka Tiene appears to be the only doubt and Jeremy Menez will return to the fold after last week’s suspension.
Meanwhile, Javier Pastore is relishing opportunity to indulge in Le Classico tomorrow night and is looking to up his game after a loss of form in the last few weeks:
“It’s a match that people apparently follow with a lot of passion.” he told Le Parisien.
“On the day of my signing, fans were already mentioning that match to me. They talked about Marseille, telling me to absolutely win this match.
“I love those matches, I give the best of me in that kind of atmosphere. Those are matches in which I want to give a bit more. If we had played Marseille last Sunday instead of Nancy, I don’t think I would have performed that poorly.”
A piece of magic from El Flaco may just be the difference in a game so evenly poised.