On the forms of the moment, the calendar and the absences, Olympique de Marseille has a chance to twist the double curse of the classics and the Coupe de France against Paris SG, Wednesday (9:10 p.m.) in the 1/8 final.
Finally balanced? In recent history, Parisian domination is relentless, OM have beaten PSG only once in their last 26 meetings, and the capital has emerged victorious ten times out of eleven from a confrontation against the Provençal metropolis in Coupe de France, since the first in 1975.
However, as this new duel approached, the performance curves of the two rivals seemed set to cross, before OM’s home defeat against Nice (3-1) on Sunday evening showered the situation a little. enthusiasm of the Olympian supporters.
But Igor Tudor’s team gained confidence and had won nine out of ten matches before that one, when the PSG collective seemed to be eroding, over the same period, with the first two defeats of the season, at Lens ( 3-1) then to Rennes (1-0) in Ligue 1.
Mbappé’s injury, forfeit, and PSG’s obsession with the Champions League, six days from challenging Bayern Munich in the 1/8 finals (February 14), seem to give OM a few more chances to finally reversing a heavy trend.
– “We were not zero” –
For eleven and a half years, OM have only won the French clasico once, 1-0 in a Parc des Princes emptied by the pandemic (3,000 spectators), under the André Villas-Boas era, on September 13 2020.
Marseille’s last victory at the Vélodrome dates back to November 27, 2011 (3-0), with goals from Loïc Rémy, Morgan Amalfitano and André Ayew.
But on their momentum, the Olympians seem to have more chances of upsetting the Parisian ogre than during this last decade.
Even the stoppage against Nice does not cool them. “We were not zero, far from it,” says Mattéo Guendouzi. “We are on a good dynamic and this defeat will not put our heads under water. We will get up on Wednesday.”
Before this failure, OM had just taken 22 points out of a possible 24 to move up to second place, six points behind their opponent. “We have done very good things since the start of the season,” continues the international. “It’s not because we lost this game that we will be less confident for Wednesday. We will attack this game well and we will be ready.”
– “Everything is starting to go back to normal” –
PSG will be too, he who never takes a classic over his leg.
Certainly, the champions of France are not going through the best period of their season, and they have lost their star Mbappé for another two weeks.
But in the meantime, Lionel Messi takes care of everything and Neymar, who has missed the last two matches, returned to training on Monday and should be good for service for his tenth classic, a match that has not always smiled on him: while he scored four goals, he was also sent off twice.
Christophe Galtier’s players have not yet managed to regain the fluidity of the first half of the season, but “everything is starting to get back to normal after the World Cup”, assured Marquinhos after the victory on Saturday against Toulouse (2-1 ).
“We had to find our automatisms”, which took “a little time”, admitted the captain. “It was visible during our first matches. There, we are starting to come back in better and better shape. It’s a shame that there are still injured players, which forces us to change the scheme. It costs us a little.”
Christophe Galtier didn’t say who would keep the goals, now that Keylor Navas has moved to Nottingham Forest, he just clarified that Sergio Rico becomes number 2 behind Gianluigi Donnarumma.
As for the return to the Vélodrome, the native of Marseilles makes “total disregard of the fact” of being “born in Marseille” and of having “played at OM”.
“I know what these matches represent, it’s not a classic round of 16 but an OM-PSG confrontation”. And the technician consequently “closed all arrivals, both on my laptop and at the family level, to stay focused and get this qualification”.