Marseille, Lyon to clash for the Ligue 1 top spot
MARSEILLE - Agence France-Presse
Marseille, who beat Lille 1-0 in the weekend, is the current Ligue 1 leader. AFP photoMarseille host Lyon in tonight’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 shares the lead on 26 points with Paris Saint-Germain but is behind on goal difference but a draw would be enough to reclaim sole pole position, which it last held over five weeks ago.
Marseille is riding high after getting back to winning ways with weekend’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 is just one point behind Marseille in fourth place, and will be looking to recover from its 3-0 hammering at Toulouse at the weekend, in a Velodrome Stadium where it has 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.
“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.”