MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 16:28:43| >> :600:203449:203449:
Feb 7, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stade Velodrome
MarseilleMarseille
0-2
PSGParis Saint-Germain

Gueye (49')
Payet (90+1')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Mbappe (9'), Icardi (24')
Paredes (45+1'), Icardi (53')

Preview: Marseille vs. Paris Saint-Germain - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain mark a century of Classique meetings when they do battle at the Orange Velodrome in the pick of the Ligue 1 fixtures on Sunday evening.

Off-the-pitch events continue to bedevil the hosts, whereas PSG are firmly back in the title race with a 3-0 win over Nimes in midweek.


Match preview

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar clashes with Marseille's Alvaro Gonzalez on September 13, 2020© Reuters

If this weekend's Classique is even half as dramatic as September's was, fans and neutrals alike ought to strap in for a pulsating and controversial encounter between two of France's most successful clubs.

Despite their illustrious history, Marseille hardly have the look of a side who will be challenging for the big prizes anytime soon. Just days after their game with Rennes was postponed in the wake of supporters storming the training complex, Andre Villas-Boas publicly announced his desire to resign over controversy surrounding Olivier Ntcham's transfer.

The Portuguese boss was granted his wish by the powers-that-be, who relieved him of his duties amid a horror show of performances in Ligue 1, with Villas-Boas losing three in a row and winning just one of his last eight at the helm before being axed.

Interim manager Nasser Larguet seemed destined to get off to the perfect start against Lens, with Florian Thauvin and Arkadiusz Milik putting Les Olympiens 2-0 up before half time, but Marseille's defensive frailties were exposed once more as Florian Sotoca and Facundo Medina rescued a point for Sang et Or.

Winless since a 3-1 triumph over Montpellier HSC on January 6, ninth-placed Marseille's title dream is already dead in the water and they are now fighting an uphill battle to make the top five, although they do have two games in hand over most of the teams around them.

Marseille have not lost three home games on the bounce in the top flight since the 2011-12 campaign, but facing a star-studded PSG attack amid their multiple problems behind-the-scenes could certainly spell trouble for the struggling hosts this weekend.

Paris Saint-Germain PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Mauricio Pochettino's fast start to life in the Parc des Princes hotseat came to a grinding halt with a shock defeat to lowly Lorient two gameweeks ago, but the Argentine's outfit comfortably dispatched another relegation-threatened side on Wednesday in an ideal warm-up for this derby.

The champions cruised to a 3-0 victory over Nimes - one which cost Jerome Arpinon his job in the Crocodiles dugout - thanks to goals from Angel Di Maria, Pablo Sarabia and Kylian Mbappe - the latter's 15th league goal of the 2020-21 campaign.

That result was never in doubt, but PSG's title chances most certainly are. Last Sunday's slip-up against Lorient has not killed their shot at glory by any means, but Pochettino's side are one point behind second-placed Lyon and three adrift of a Lille side who just cannot stop winning at the moment.

If anything is going to carry PSG over the line this season, it is their penchant for goalscoring. Pochettino's side have already struck 53 times this season - by far the most in the league - while a record of only 14 shipped at the other end is the fewest out of any team so far this season.

Furthermore, PSG will be out for blood after the events of September's derby, during which five players saw red, several were involved in alleged racism rows and Thauvin scored the all-important goal to propel Marseille to victory in the French capital.

However, Pochettino's men have since overcome their adversaries in the Trophee des Champions - the Argentine's first piece of silverware as a manager - and they have not lost a Ligue 1 Classique on Marseille's turf since the 2011-12 campaign, winning five of the last six.

Marseille Ligue 1 form: DLLLLD

Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form: WWWWLW


Team News

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar celebrates scoring against Marseille in the Trophee des Champions on January 13, 2021© Reuters

Marseille will welcome a quartet of players back from suspension for this derby, as Leonardo Balerdi, Pape Gueye, Michael Cuisance and Saif-Eddine Khaoui all missed the draw with Lens last time out.

The latter was never likely to start here, but Gueye will be expected to take his place in midfield alongside Boubacar Kamara with Valentin Rongier struggling with a tendon injury.

Alvaro Gonzalez - the man at the centre of a racism scandal involving Neymar earlier in the season - is said to have landed himself in more hot water after allegedly abusing a policeman who asked him to wear a mask.

The 31-year-old will certainly relish the chance to renew hostilities with PSG this weekend, but Balerdi could deputise if Gonzalez does not feature in the wake of his latest controversy, while Milik is reportedly set to sit this one out through injury.

PSG attacker Neymar is also back from a ban and looks set to continue his battle with Gonzalez from the left-hand side, but he missed training on Saturday morning due to gastroenteritis and a late call will be made on the attacker's involvement before kickoff.

Marco Verratti would also be eligible to play here after serving a suspension of his own on Wednesday, but the midfielder is fighting off a bout of coronavirus alongside Abdou Diallo - who has been ruled out - although the former could be back in contention for this game.

Sergio Rico is likely to continue in goal for the injured Keylor Navas, who should be back in time to face Barcelona in the Champions League, while Marquinhos is touch-and-go with a groin problem.

Teenage defender Timothee Pembele has returned a positive coronavirus test, but he was never likely to start here.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Lirola, Caleta-Car, Gonzalez, Sakai; Thauvin, Gueye, Kamara, Payet; Germain, Benedetto

Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Rico; Florenzi, Kehrer, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Di Maria, Gueye, Paredes, Neymar; Mbappe, Icardi


SM words green background

We say: Marseille 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain

Marseille shook Lens to the core with their attacking intensity in the first 45, but their problems at the back are still well and truly alive. Les Olympiens would love nothing more than to cap off a truly horrendous week with victory in the derby, but the chances of Marseille doing the double over PSG are extremely unlikely - even with the visitors facing a mini injury crisis - so we are backing Pochettino's side to claim the bragging rights in the 100th Classique on Sunday.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


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Marseille manager Andre Villas-Boas pictured on January 23, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1 382411364234183
2 38264886285882
3 38246876423478
4 382210681433876
5 381612105447760
6 3816101252401258
7 381512115554157
8 381412126062-254
9 38157165053-352
10 381211154448-447
11 381210164254-1246
12 38136194256-1445
13 38128184058-1844
14 38915144250-842
15 38119184958-942
16 38119185068-1842
17 38118195066-1641
18 38913164755-840
19 3898214071-3135
20 3849252573-4821

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