Known in France as Le Classique, Sunday’s derby will see 15th place Marseille face off against league leaders and reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. The match comes in the wake of crowd trouble that saw Marseille’s match against Lyon suspended, resulting in several sections of Marseille’s home ground, the Stade Velodrome, being closed for the game against promotion side Angers last weekend.
With the French authorities and sporting press continuing to focus on Marseille’s crowd trouble, the main supporters' groups for the team have decided to boycott this weekend’s Classique. It may be just as well, as watching this struggling Marseille side taking on powerhouse PSG might not make for pleasant viewing.
The crowd trouble with Lyon is just the latest incident in an early season fraught with difficulties for Marseille on and off the pitch. Manager Marcelo Bielsa resigned on the opening day of the season. Last season’s top players, Andre Ayew and Andre-Pierre Gignac, are both now gone. And playmaker Remy Cabella has shown indifferent form since returning to Ligue 1 on loan from Newcastle.
With just eight points from seven games, a loss to PSG this weekend could see Marseille drop dangerously close to the relegation zone.
Les Parisiens, on the other hand, remain undefeated, with a four-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and have been one of the in-form teams in the Champions League so far.
But despite having dropped points only twice this season – in draws with Bordeaux and Reims – it’s not all been rosy for Laurent Blanc’s PSG side.
Although he’s found the net in PSG’s two most recent league outings, questions are still being asked about the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede began the season hampered by injury and it’s been some time since we’ve seen him at his high-flying best in a PSG shirt.
Thankfully, into the void left by Ibra has stepped Edinson Cavani. After struggling for his first two seasons in France, the Uruguayan seems to be hitting his stride this season and has scored six goals in eight Ligue 1 matches. PSG’s defense has also been impressive with only four goals conceded in the league thus far.
So while it’s not mission impossible for Marseille at the Parc des Princes on Sunday, it’s certainly mission improbable. Especially when you consider that PSG has come out on top in its last seven meetings with Marseille in all competitions.
Watch Paris Saint-Germain vs. Marseille at 4:30pm ET Sunday on BeINSports.