Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille, including team news and predicted lineups.
PSG suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Lens in their first game of the season, whereas Marseille marked their return to action with a 3-2 win over Brest.
PSG’s squad has been decimated by several coronavirus cases in the past week or so, and the Champions League runners-up fielded a heavily inexperienced team for their inaugural game of the season against newly-promoted Lens.
Thomas Tuchel was forced to witness his side succumb to a 1-0 loss against the Ligue 1 returnees on Thursday night, and there is little time for PSG to dwell on that lowly defeat as they try to recover for the weekend showdown with Marseille.
Defeat to Lens ended a run of 15 games unbeaten in the French top flight for the champions, who also failed to score in a league match for the first time in nearly a year, but Tuchel insisted that his side were never likely to come up trumps given their disturbed summer.
A fourth straight Ligue 1 title will be well within PSG’s sights when some of their most prized assets return to action, but the champions certainly do not want to be playing catch-up as the season gathers pace.
PSG are now returning to familiar surroundings at the Parc des Princes, where they have notched up at least three goals in every Ligue 1 fixture since the turn of the year and only recorded one defeat in their last 33 outings.
Meanwhile, Marseille were also feeling the impact of the pandemic as they suffered an outbreak of their own before taking to the pitch for the new season.
However, Andre Villas-Boas‘s side still managed to come out on top against Brest in their first game of the campaign, but Marseille were certainly made to work for their 3-2 victory a fortnight ago.
Marseille ended the curtailed 2019-20 season 12 points adrift of PSG, albeit having played a game more, and it would take something truly spectacular for the challengers to knock the champions off their perch amid the mayhem caused by the ongoing viral outbreak.
A victory for Les Olympiens this weekend would be sure to send their loyal supporters into delirium once again – no-one can forget the scenes on the streets when PSG fell short in the Champions League final – much to the delight of the Marseille faithful.
PSG have won the last five meetings between the two French powerhouses in all competitions, with Marseille’s most recent victory against their rivals coming in the 2011-12 campaign.
Paris Saint-Germain Ligue 1 form: L
Marseille Ligue 1 form: W
Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Keylor Navas and Leandro Paredes are in contention to feature this weekend having recovered, but the quartet are not expected to be thrown back into the starting XI straight away.
As far as Marseille are concerned, the visitors have a relatively clean bill of health ahead of Le Classique, with the only confirmed absentee being Bouna Sarr.
Villas-Boas revealed that Morgan Sanson was forced to miss training on Friday with a minor injury, but the midfielder should be fine for Sunday’s showdown.
Paris Saint-Germain possible starting lineup:
Rico; Kehrer, Diallo, Kimpembe, Bernat; Gueye, Verratti, Herrera; Sarabia, Kalimuendo, Jese
Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Sakai, Caleta-Car, Balerdi, Amavi; Kamara, Sanson, Strootman; Thauvin, Benedetto, Payet
We say: Paris Saint-Germain 0-2 Marseille
This season’s first Classique is certainly set to be one of the more unconventional showdowns in the two clubs’ illustrious histories. PSG are still without a number of starters and have had little time to recover from their dismal defeat to Lens, and while the champions boast a number of promising youngsters in their ranks, a full-strength Marseille side will simply have too much for them and we are backing the visitors to triumph in convincing fashion on Sunday.
Top betting tip
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals 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.Over 2.5:data
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