MX23RW : Sunday, July 25 18:57:32| >> :600:559687:559687:
Apr 5, 2015 at 8pm UK at Stade Velodrome
PSGParis Saint-Germain
Gignac (30', 43')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Matuidi (35'), Marquinhos (49'), Morel (51' og.)

Preview: Marseille vs. Paris Saint-Germain

Sports Mole previews the crucial showdown in Ligue 1 between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain at the Stade Velodrome.

The Stade Velodrome will host a crucial showdown between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain in the race for the Ligue 1 title.

Just two points separate the two sides at the top of the table as PSG lead Lyon by a point, while Marcelo Bielsa's side are just a point behind them in third place ahead of the clash on Sunday.


Marseille's Argentinian head coach Marcelo Bielsa is pictured during the French L1 football match Evian (ETG) against Marseille (OM) on September 14, 2014© Getty Images

Marseille had a stuttering start to the season in August and September, but since October they have been in contention for the title step-for-step with PSG.

Bielsa's men lost a bit of impetus in their season in Christmas and the New Year period as they crashed out of the Coupe de France, while they lost on the road in Ligue 1 to Montpellier and Monaco which saw them lose their grasp on first place.

Since that period Marseille have managed to regain their composure with big victories over Lens and Toulouse, but they may look back at their defeat to Caen at the end of February with regret as they lost 3-2, despite holding a 2-0 lead in the second half.

At the Stade Velodrome, Bielsa's side have lost twice all season, including their defeat to Caen, but they will be hopeful that a three-game unbeaten run will be the springboard to supplant PSG and Lyon to claim the title.

Recent form: WDWLDD

Paris Saint-Germain

Laurent Blanc the PSG manager looks on during the UEFA Champions League quarter final, first leg match between Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea at Parc des Princes on April 2, 2014© Getty Images

Laurent Blanc was under immense pressure at the start of the campaign, but the Frenchman has managed to ride out the problems to guide his team to the top of the table, while they are also in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the last four of the Coupe de France.

The international break came at the right time for Blanc and his men to regroup following a hectic period of fixtures, including their win over Chelsea on away goals at Stamford Bridge.

PSG may have showed the effects of their exploits in Europe with a 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux four days after their win over the Blues, but quickly managed to get back on track courtesy of a 3-1 win over Lorient.

Their form since the turn of the year has been solid, with their only two defeats coming away against Bordeaux and in January against Bastia.

Their performances on the road have been inconsistent, which is why they haven't pulled away from Lyon or Marseille at the top of the table, winning only five out of a possible 15 matches.

With four away matches to play this season, Blanc will be hopeful that his side can round into form just in time to secure the Ligue 1 title.

Recent form: WLWDWD
Recent form (all competitions): WLDWWD

Team News

Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring a penalty during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and FC Lorient on March 20, 2015© Getty Images

Marseille defender Nicolas Nkoulou is out of the clash as he has been deemed not fit enough by Biesla despite his return to training this week following knee surgery. Rod Fanni and Jeremy Morel will play at the heart of the defence as Baptiste Aloe is expected to drop to the bench.

Midfielder Giannelli Imbula will also miss the game due to suspension and he will be replaced in the lineup by Mario Lemina to sit in front of the back four.

Blanc's side will be boosted by the return to fitness of David Luiz and Marquinhos for the clash at the Stade Velodrome.

Thiago Motta filled in at centre-back against Lorient, but Luiz should replace him in the starting lineup, while Gregory van der Wiel and Marquinhos will battle it out for the spot at right-back as the Dutchman performed well in the absence of the Brazilian.

Yohan Cabaye and Serge Aurier could return on the bench after missing out against Lorient, while the attack will likely be led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic following his hat-trick in the 3-1 victory at the Parc des Princes.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda, Fanni, Morel, Romao, Lemina, Dja Djedje, Mendy, Payet, Ayew, Thauvin, Gignac

PSG possible starting lineup:
Sirigu, Marquinhos, Luiz, Silva, Maxwell, Matuidi, Pastore, Verratti, Ibrahimovic, Cavani, Lavezzi

Head To Head

PSG claimed victory at the Parc des Princes in the meeting between the sides earlier in the campaign when goals from Lucas and Ibrahimovic were enough to clinch a 2-0 victory as Imbula saw red for the visitors.

The win was Blanc's side's fourth in a row over Marseille as they did the double last season with 2-0 and 2-1 victories. PSG lead the head-to-head series 19-12 over Les Phoceens, with seven draws having taken place in the history of the contest.

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We say: Marseille 1-2 PSG

The game should be a very interesting affair and whichever team is able to cope with the pressure will come out on top.

For that reason, PSG will claim the three points at the Stade Velodrome due to their experience of these situations this season and Bielsa's side's run of inconsistent form since the turn of the year.

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Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish midfielder Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates with his teammate Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani after scoring during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), on August 8, 2014
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