More than a simple confrontation between two rival clubs, this match of the 24th day of Ligue 1 could mark a turning point for the two teams. Olympique de Marseille have been experiencing a delicate situation for several weeks and would like to change their minds as well as those of their supporters by winning this Clasico at home. Paris Saint-Germain meanwhile, even if it remains on the podium, would like to rediscover the spark of yesteryear, to thrill with the beautiful game, which is sorely lacking in the Parisians lately.
The latest results from both teams are not very convincing. Less constant lately with an unexpected defeat in Lorient (3-2) during the 22nd day of Ligue 1, the Parisians will have to take advantage of this poster which has often been beneficial to them. In 99 matches, PSG have won 44 times against OM, including 13 times on the Marseille lawn. Since the start of the season, PSG have recorded five defeats in 22 matches, a first under the Qatari era. The Marseille club, meanwhile, remains in six consecutive games without a win with 4 defeats and two draws in all competitions.
A ranking far from expectations
In addition to inconclusive results, the two rival clubs are far from their expectations in the current ranking of the championship. PSG are used to being a comfortable leader in Ligue 1, but this year things have taken a different turn and Paris no longer has a choice. If the Qatari club wishes to stay in the title race with Lille, Lyon and Monaco, it will have to bring the three points of this trip to the Marseille city. Third before kick-off, the stakes are high for the Parisians who are only three points behind the runner-up, Lille, and four over the current Lyon leader.
If Paris can still boast of being on the podium, Olympique de Marseille, on the other hand, is far from its objectives. The Marseillais are only in ninth place in the standings when they finished second last season. A victory against their biggest rival would therefore allow the Phocaeans to regain three important points. The team has only 33 currently, even if it has two games late.
Do not disappoint the supporters
The 100th Clasico will be crucial for both teams. On the one hand, for Olympique de Marseille, which is going through an unprecedented crisis, especially with its supporters. Last week demonstrations by supporters at the Commanderie against the president of the club Jacques-Henri Eyraud lit the fire. The dismissal of the “resigned” Portuguese coach, André Villas-Boas, did not help calm the fire. If OM won this Clasico, it could calm the situation for a while.
“It’s a special match because it’s the Clasico but it’s a match like any other that you have to go looking for, that you have to go and win. You have to make a good performance that must thrill at the same time the players and those who will watch us on TV “, said Nasser Larguet interim coach, at a pre-match press conference.
In Paris too the Clasico is eagerly awaited by fans. Because it is a “Classic” of course but also because it is the last big game before the knockout stages of the Champions League in Barcelona. Winning this duel with the manner would be an opportunity for the players to Mauricio Pochettino approach Barça with a little more serenity.
First Clasico for a reshaped staff
The two clubs also have one thing in common. Recently the sports directors of each team were, for different reasons, involved in the departure of the former coaches. Thomas tuchel, thanked on one side by Leonardo, on Christmas Eve and on the other, André Villas-Boas fired after his criticism of the transfer window led by Pablo Longoria. A huge upheaval in the staff of both teams.
Even if PSG have been getting used to the new Argentine coach since the beginning of January, Pochettino is still trying to find his place in the group to be able to add his paw at best. For this shock, the technician may have to do without Neymar, uncertain. Marquinhos and Verratti have returned to training. On the other hand, Keylor Navas, slowly recovered from his injury, should not make his return to the net, the club wishing to preserve him for the next Champions League match against FC Barcelona.
“Against OM, we will have to play hard for 90 minutes, like a Champions League final.”
“These are different matches, with a lot of passion. It means a lot for our players, for our supporters. (…) We cannot predict what will happen in a Classic, it also depends on the opponent. ‘OM, we will have to play hard for 90 minutes, like a Champions League final “, Pochettino explained at a press conference after the victory against Nîmes on February 3 (3-0).
In Marseille, he’s an interim coach, Nasser Larguet, who had already officiated in the last Ligue 1 match which will take control on Sunday. The director of the Marseille training center will be on the bench while waiting to find a successor to AVB. Bad luck he will not be able to count on the new Olympian recruit, Arkadiusz Milik. Injured in the thigh after being decisive on the last day against Lens (2-2), the Pole will not be part of the workforce who will try to regain the taste of victory.
Yet another bad news for the Marseille club which is preparing to face the best defense of the championship. In the first leg, the Marseillais won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes. Another victory on Sunday would show them the light at the end of the tunnel.