Looking forward to Marseille v. Lille
A perfect four league wins out of four for Olympique de Marseille during the month of February has seen them make up seven points on top of the table Lille. The run was capped by an 87th minute goal from André Ayew, whose late strike cut the gap between the two clubs to just one point, and places the pressure on leaders Lille, who must travel to the forbidding Stade Vélodrome knowing that they can ill afford to maintain the indifferent form of the last month if they are to keep their closest rivals at bay.
Marseille may have enjoyed an excellent four weeks of football but, though momentum is doubtless with them, they will likely also be feeling no small degree of pressure, knowing that, after Lille, they will have to face Rennes, whose equally impressive February tally has taken them second in the league, behind Lille only on goal difference. A win on Sunday would allow them to leapfrog Lille, and, possibly Rennes. A loss coupled with a win for Rennes would leave them four points off the pace with another fierce rival to come in PSG, themselves currently only two points from the top. The PSG match will follow a midweek Champions League encounter away against Manchester United, and, even if they prevail, Marseille will be psychologically in a poorer position to disprove the post-European appearance hangover theory should they have failed to at least four points out of six from the two league fixtures prior to their visit to the capital.
The match also offers a chance to watch some of the brightest talents in the French game, perhaps chief amongst whom is Young Belgian winger Eden Hazard, allegedly the target of a whole host of clubs across Europe. I’ll be looking at him and some of the other players we’ll hopefully see take to the pitch this Sunday.