Olympique de Marseille VS Paris Saint-Germain
Venue: Stade Velodrome
Date: 6th October 2013
Kick-Off: 20:00 (GMT)
I do not care what people say, PSG vs Marseille is the biggest club game in France. I know Monaco’s emergence as a new powerhouse in Ligue 1 has galvanised their credentials as a top competitive club once again but that will not derail le classique as being ‘THE’ fixture in France. Two weeks ago when we faced ASM, you could sense the new energy and buzz surrounding the game, rightfully so as well. It is exciting what is happening at the Stade Louis II, they have thrown a curveball – a great one in that – with their capture of top renowned talent. Nevertheless, Marseille are not going anywhere and will always be vying at the top of the table with the likes of ourselves, Lyon and the likes. The games with Marseille will continue its historic trend of being the marquee fixture. And to be honest, I do not think that will ever change.
We come into the game on the back of an emphatic drubbing of Portuguese giants Benfica. The manner of the victory was surprising as the visitors posed no threat to us whatsoever. I would go as far to say that it was the easiest three points we have picked up in any competition this campaign. It beggars belief me saying that as I expected a real hard fought battle with the former European champion, but it was anything but. It now sets us up nicely for the double bill with Anderlecht where we can more or less guarantee progression into the knockout stages.
Back to domestic matters, the win at home to Toulouse last weekend was efficient. Laurent Blanc tinkered with the team and the performance of youngster Adrien Rabiot was one of the highlights. He is progressing all the time, getting better and better. Blanc’s intent on nurturing the young talent will stand him in very good stead over the next few months.
Another young central midfielder not doing too badly either is Marco Verratti. The Italian has put in a string of real good performances of late. He was wonderful in the week against Benfica, dictating the tempo in the middle of the park, keeping it simple and thankfully keeping his discipline in check. The midfield with him, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi picks itself really. It has been a real good base for the front three to work off.
Our hosts tonight have just been beaten 3-0 in Dortmund which is by no means a disgrace. They are in good form domestically, two back to back wins against Saint-Etienne and Lorient which see Elie Baup’s men sit just a point behind us.
The Velodrome will look a whole lot different to when we saw it last year. The new roof is taking shape nicely and there are cranes galore which provide the most abnormal of scenes for a game of football. Regardless, that rapturous atmosphere has remained intact. Hopefully we can silence them with something similar to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s beautiful brace last season. Who could forget that freekick and audacious flick? The game ended 2-2 on that night after a frenetic first-half.