Why Payet and Marseille can wreck PSG’s title hopes in Le Classique
While title races in England, Spain, Italy and Germany look all but over, things in France are only just getting started. After a slow start, Paris Saint-Germain are now right in the mix, but their hopes could suffer a major blow if they can’t defeat old enemy Marseille in Le Classique this weekend.
This famous fixture has lost a touch of its lustre in recent years, but remains one of the highlights of the French campaign.
October’s clash yielded a 0-0 draw at the Parc des Princes, and with just two yellow cards, it wasn’t the fiercest contest ever played out between these sides.
But while there was little riding on that meeting in the Autumn, things are very different now.
PSG sit three points behind Monaco, and know that they could be twice as far behind come Monday.
As for the hosts, after spending most of the first-half of the campaign in the bottom half of the table, they now sit solidly in sixth.
Any chance of a top-three spot and Champions League football are over, however, with Marseille 17 points off the pace.
For now, Rudi Garcia’s men will be looking to restore some credibility with a top-four finish, and victory over their greatest rivals would do wonders for Les Olympiens.
The head-to-head record shows PSG slightly ahead with 37 wins to 32, but there are a number of reasons why an away win may be unlikely.
First of all is the absence of a certain centre-forward.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has netted five of Les Parisiens last eight goals in this clash, and of course, is now with Manchester United.
And Marseille’s new owners have already made clear their intent to return the club to the top, by re-signing Dimitri Payet from West Ham last month.
In addition to that £25m outlay, the club splashed out £7m for Montpellier’s Morgan Sanson, making Marseille one of January’s biggest spenders outside of China.
Thirdly, despite all their struggles this season, Marseille’s home record is excellent.
Beaten just once on home soil, the hosts have conceded only six times on their own patch – and four of those came in the 4-1 loss to Monaco.
That leaves just two goals conceded in their other 12 fixtures, including 10 clean sheets.
Marseille won’t win the league this season, but they’ll be pretty satisfied with making sure PSG don’t win it either.
And though much has changed since these two rivals vied for supremacy in the late 1980s and 1990s, this weekend’s clash could be the first sign that those heady days are returning.
Plus, you can catch the full match on Ladbrokes.com via our live streaming facility.
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