Paris Saint-Germain astounded the football world by rallying past Chelsea in the Champions League this week, despite having been reduced to ten men early in the match. But back home in France, Les Parisiens are locked in the throes of a three-way dogfight at the top of the table where every point counts. Their chief rivals – first-place Lyon and third-place Marseille – are set to go head-to-head this Sunday at the Stade Velodrome.
A victory at home would bring Marcelo Bielsa’s Marseille within one point of Lyon and potentially into second place, depending on how PSG fares against Bordeaux. Marseille set the pace early on in the Ligue 1 season, and last week ended a four-match winless streak with a 6-1 demolition of Toulouse. But Lyon have been the in-form team in France for much of the season and head into this weekend’s match on the back of a similar result, having hammered Montpellier 5-1 in their last outing.
Lyon came out on top at the Stade de Gerland back in October, but the hero of that fixture, Yoann Gourcuff, will sit out this weekend’s clash with a thigh injury.
Despite Gourcuff’s absence, Sunday’s fixture pits Ligue 1’s two leading scorers against one another: Lyon’s Alexander Lacazette currently tops the French scoring charts with 23 goals, while Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac is in second with 16.
Zlatan and the rest of his PSG teammates wouldn’t mind seeing this one play out as a draw. But if there is to be a winner, PSG will hope it is Marseille. Although they’re currently only one point behind Lyon in second, PSG have had a tendency to drop points domestically this season. After their rousing 10-man performance against Chelsea in midweek, Laurent Blanc’s PSG side now faces a tough match away against a Bordeaux side that’s currently riding a seven-game unbeaten streak. Were PSG to draw, or worse, Lyon could potentially open up a four-point lead on them atop the table.
The stage is set for a dramatic weekend in French football that could have major implications in the chase for the Ligue 1 title.