Marseille and Lyon clash for Ligue 1 top spot
MARSEILLE, France (AFP) –
Marseille host Lyon in Wednesday’s sole Ligue 1 clash in a game postponed from last month because of bad weather with top spot in the French championship at stake.
The south coast club currently share the lead on 26 points with Paris Saint-Germain but are behind on goal difference but a draw would be enough to reclaim sole pole position, which they last held over five weeks ago.
Marseille are riding high after getting back to winning ways with Sunday’s hard-fought 1-0 success over Lille, after falling by the same scoreline against Bordeaux the previous weekend.
Coach Elie Baup revealed that a number of players were still nursing knocks but added: “We have to do everything in our power to recover energy.”
His side has, however, been boosted by the return from injury of midfielder Mathieu Valbuena and defender Nicolas Nkoulou, who both featured against Lille.
Loic Remy, also back but doubtful against Lyon, could offer Baup an alternative up front, with Jordan Ayew, scorer of Sunday’s winning goal in his fourth match this season, set to fill in again for injured Andre-Pierre Gignac (foot).
Left-back Jeremy Morel and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda are also expected to be fit after suffering knocks against Lille, as well as England‘s Joey Barton, still lacking physical fitness after his 12-match suspension, but an important player midfield as shown in his first game for his new club at the weekend.
Lyon are just one point behind Marseille in fourth place, and will be looking to recover from their 3-0 hammering at Toulouse at the weekend, in a Velodrome Stadium where they have a good record coming away with draws from the past two seasons.
“Given the negative result in Toulouse, it is especially important not to squander (the match),” warned Lyon coach Remi Garde, whose side could also finish the night as Ligue 1 leaders should they take three points.
“In my opinion Lyon have what it takes to cause Marseille problems. I’m counting on the players to show another attitude than against Toulouse.”