Match Preview: The Le Classique

Carlo Ancelotti is perhaps the luckiest manager in the world. The squad he has at PSG is one any manager would give an arm for. The array of talent at his disposal is frightening in all ramifications. To add class and elegance to quality and talent, David Beckham otherwise known as ‘Golden Balls’ joined the pool of talent in January and has been added to the squad to face third placed Marseille tonight at the Parc de Princes.

Paris St Germain have been busy off the field, creating their new logo and club symbol. However, nothing is bigger and more important than tonight’s match which could see the Parisiens go eight points clear of their rivals or be pegged back to two. It could also remain five if there’s a repeat of the scoreline at the Velodrome. A match that ended 2-2 thanks to braces from Ibrahimovic and Andre Pierre-Gignac.

The inclusion of David Beckham has made the world more aware of this very high profile match. The LFP would not have believed that this match would garner so much attention and media hype/coverage. The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA)–owners of PSG have made it possible for the French League to gain global recognition like other top leagues in European football.

Carlo has hinted that the former England skipper could start the game. The Champions League winning manager is still faced with the Menez-Moura right wing war which is ensuing. Captain Thiago Silva is still sidelined alongside namesake Thiago Motta. Talisman, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to feature after the controversy surrounding his eligibility to start tonight’s game was cleared by the Ligue 1 governing body. Other than these, the League leaders have a fully fit squad to pick from.

Elie Baup’s Marseille are heavily depleted. Benoit Cheyrou has pulled out of the squad for tonight’s game and the crunch Coupe de France game v the same opponents in midweek. That leaves the new boss short of options in midfield. Dede Ayew’s kid brother, Jordan is suspended for the next two games and Morgan Amalfitano is unavailable due to a knee injury he is still carrying. Latest acquisition. Alaixys Romao will be brought in to partner on-loan QPR player, Joey Barton in midfield. Loic Remy has since been sold to the Rs, so that leaves Elie with Gignac as his main striker.

Despite PSG’s loss at Sochaux last weekend, they still maintain their lead/position in the League. Lyon cut the lead to three points with a fantastic 4-0 demolition of Bordeaux at the Chaban Delmas which is a very difficult place to win. Today’s encounter promises to be entertaining and it might take a moment of brilliance from one of the stars of both sides to swing the match.

Salvatore Sirigu is no longer unbeatable. Kadir, the exceptional Valbuena and Dede Ayew who benefited from his absence at the ANC can hurt Les Parisiens.

 

Probable Lineups–

PSG- Sirigu, Jallet, Sakho, Alex, Maxwell, Verratti, Matuidi, Lucas Moura/Beckham/Menez, Pastore, Pocho Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic

 

MARSEILLE- Mandanda, Fanni, N;koulou, Lucas Mendes, Morel, Barton, Romao, Kadir, Valbuena, A.Ayew, Gignac

 

Pocho Lavezzi started his PSG career on a shaky foundation but has come in leaps and bounds in the last 2 months, scoring important goals and putting in impressive performances. Most recently in the 2-1 win at Valencia. El Flaco Pastore hasn’t really shown the stuff he’s truly made of. He’s getting there gradually and cannot be overlooked.

Lucas Moura who chose France instead of England has been playing some unreal football since his much publicised arrival. His rift with Menez concerning who stars in the right side of the PSG attack will only make his performance levels soar.  The loss of Thiago Silva to injury hasn’t had a negative impact on the league leaders. Former skipper, Mamadou Sakho has been an able deputy recapturing that amazing form that made him one of the most sought after defenders in the world a few years ago. Sylvain Armand and Alex are not exactly lightweight.

Marseille’s Nic N’Koulou is determined to stop Ibracadabra. To do this, he must play the game of his life. His boasts before the first meeting was not taken lightly by Ibra and his brace was the perfect answer to the young defender’s rants.

He has quality and must show it at the PdP today.

 

Written by Ohiskaka Eboreime

Follow Ohis on Twitter @ohiskaka1990

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