Another cracking Le Classique between these two great rivals. The match between Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain followed the template of the meeting at the Parc des Princes earlier in the season, which in turn was very similar to the two encounters last season.
Marseille were relentless throughout the match, pressing incessantly and bypassing PSG’s much-vaunted midfield at will. Lassana Diarra was the standout player in midfield, with 87 touches of the ball, 86 % passing accuracy with his 67 passes and four tackles. Diarra’s form this season makes him a shoo-in for the French national team at this summer’s Euro. A special mention also goes to Remy Cabella, who had an outstanding game. Cabella scored Marseille’s equalizer after an excellent run and arguably should have had a couple of assists but his teammates failed to finish the chances he created.
For all of Marseille’s excellence though, they were once again caught out by the quality of the champions on the break. PSG had three shots on target and scored twice. Ultimately the superior individual quality of Les Parisiens told. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in Le Classique once again and then provided the assist for Angel di Maria to rifle in a superb finish on the break. While Ibra and di Maria will take most of the plaudits, credit also has to go Thiago Silva and Serge Aurier who made several excellent tackles and last-ditch clearances to keep PSG in the game when Marseille were overrunning the midfield.
While PSG were second best for most of the match, Laurent Blanc may feel that such an intense and difficult match was ideal preparation for the resumption of the team’s Champions League campaign. This level of football is what PSG are going to have to overcome to go deep on the continent (although many would say this season’s iteration of Chelsea are not much better than Ligue 1’s mid table sides) and coming through such an intense clash with a win bodes well for the capital club.
Meanwhile Marseille themselves may be better off making a good fist of their Europa League campaign. A team of their talent should be able to make up the five-point gap to third, but the consistency simply isn’t there, especially since they can’t buy a win at home. The last time Michel’s men took three points at the Velodrome was in October, a staggering and unacceptable fact for a team of Marseille’s stature. Despite playing some of the most exciting football in the country, another season of underachievement beckons for L’OM.