Conferences between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain are sometimes explosive and occasions of the final seven days add to the stress of Sunday’s newest conflict of French soccer’s largest rivals.
Marseille’s 67,000-capacity Velodrome shall be empty for the sport attributable to Covid-19 restrictions, however the Mediterranean metropolis continues to be on edge after a number of hundred supporters attacked the membership’s coaching floor final weekend.
The supporters had been demonstrating in opposition to poor latest outcomes in addition to in opposition to the working of the membership by president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.
Spanish defender Alvaro Gonzalez was reportedly struck on the again by a projectile as he went to confront the supporters, of whom 25 had been arrested. Eight will go on trial later this month.
A disaster is barely ever a few unhealthy outcomes away on the former Champions League winners, however this has been on one other degree, with the membership’s American proprietor Frank McCourt likening the assault to the lethal January 6 assault on the US Congress.
Marseille’s recreation in opposition to Rennes final Saturday was postponed, and three days later coach Andre Villas-Boas was suspended by the membership — step one within the authorized technique of sacking the Portuguese — after he declared at a press convention he wished to resign.
The previous Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur coach was offended that Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham had been signed on mortgage on switch deadline day in opposition to his needs.
Interim coach Nasser Larguet oversaw Wednesday’s 2-2 attract Lens, and Marseille, runners-up final season, go into Sunday’s match having slumped to ninth within the desk on a run of 1 win in 10 in all competitions.
It’s hardly the best approach to come into a gathering with PSG, even when the Qatar-owned facet are nonetheless discovering their ft below new coach Mauricio Pochettino.
A 3-2 loss at struggling Lorient final weekend noticed Paris drop to 3rd behind Lille and Lyon, however they bounced again to beat Nimes 3-0 in midweek.
That was achieved with out Neymar, who was banned however returns right here amid stories he has agreed to remain in Paris past the tip of his present deal in 2022.
“We might want to play this recreation as if it had been the Champions League remaining,” declared Pochettino.
“This recreation means rather a lot for our gamers and our supporters. I’m unhappy at what has occurred in Marseille. I do know Andre Villas-Boas effectively — we crossed paths at Tottenham — however you possibly can by no means predict what is going to occur in a ‘Classique’.”
PSG beat Marseille 2-1 within the Champions Trophy final month, however OM received 1-0 within the final league assembly in Paris, a recreation marred by 5 late sendings-off.
Neymar was one in all three PSG gamers dismissed, and the Brazilian later accused Marseille defender Alvaro of racism, though ultimately no motion was taken attributable to a scarcity of proof.
Participant to look at: Arkadiusz Milik
The Polish striker might have a giant position to play if Marseille are to upset the percentages in opposition to Paris. Milik signed from Napoli in January after being frozen out by the Italians within the first half of the season. However, after 34 objectives within the earlier two campaigns, there isn’t any doubting his pedigree, and he obtained off the mark for his new membership within the 2-2 draw at Lens.
100 – Sunday’s conflict between Marseille and PSG would be the a hundredth assembly of the perimeters in all competitions. They first met in December 1971, with Marseille profitable 4-2.
50 – His aim in opposition to Nimes in midweek was Angel di Maria’s fiftieth in Ligue 1 for PSG. He additionally has 63 assists within the league since signing from Manchester United in 2015.
6 – League leaders Lille are chasing a sixth straight win once they go to Nantes. Fourth-placed Monaco have already received six on the bounce earlier than going through backside facet Nimes.
Fixtures (kick-offs GMT)
Lorient v Reims (1600), Lyon v Strasbourg (1800), Lens v Rennes (2000)
Brest v Bordeaux (1200), Montpellier v Dijon, Good v Angers, Nimes v Monaco, Saint-Etienne v Metz (all 1400), Nantes v Lille (1600), Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain (2000)