The ‘classique’ is here once again and it has never lost its appeal. There may not be a top of the table clash in this season’s edition – as of yet anyway with Marseille lingering just two places above the relegation zone – but it is still the biggest game in France with bragging rights at stake.
Paris Saint-Germain are flying into this game after an emphatic 3-0 win away in L’viv last Wednesday night against Shakhtar Donetsk. It was the ‘perfect’ performance away from home in a European fixture from Laurent Blanc’s men. They ticked the boxes in every single department. Bar a couple of defensive jitters in the second-half, the display was flawless. I anticipated a tough game but we made it look so easy, particularly in the first-half.
As for our opponents tonight, they too were in action during the week but lost 1-0 to Czech side Slovan Liberac in the Europa League. It is now no win in four in all competitions for Michel’s team, having took over from Marcelo Bielsa who resigned as coach earlier on in the season. L’OM are in choppy waters at this moment in time, there is no doubt about that. This time last season ahead of the meeting at the Parc des Princes I remember billing it as the biggest ‘classico’ for years. Marseille were four points clear of us at the top of the table, absolutely cruising, playing the best football in the league at the time and gunning for the title. Nearly 12 months later and how times have changed!
Still, PSG coach Laurent Blanc emphasised the importance of the fixture in yesterday’s pre-match presser. As quoted by the club’s official site, he said; “Obviously it’s not a match like any other. For the supporters of both teams, it’s a special game but it’s worth three points like any other. We have prepared as if it was any other match, especially as it is the seventh match in 23 days. We have had four days to prepare the game after an away game in the Champions League, after which we returned late in the night. It’s worse for Marseille because they played on Thursday night in the Europa League. It’s an important match for the supporters and also for the players. Both teams will be looking to win and we hope it’s an entertaining game for the fans.”
The visitors have not beaten us for four years and make that five since they won at the Parc. Les Parisiens have been dominant in this fixture ever since but all that goes out the window when kick-off comes around. A result for Marseille will be massive for them in turning around their fortunes. Victory for us would only compound their misery.