Last season, PSG became the first ever French side to complete a domestic Treble when they won Ligue 1, the Coupe de la Ligue, and the Coupe de France. Having already defended two of those titles, Les Parisiens could make it an unprecedented back-to-back Trebles should they beat Marseille this Saturday.
Domestically, Laurent Blanc’s men were in cruise control. The Ligue 1 title race was over by matchday 30 and ultimately PSG finished the 2015/2016 campaign with a record-setting 96 points. Their nearest competitors – if you can call it that – Lyon, finished in second with 65 points. Unfortunately, this dominance did not extend to European competition, as they were again thwarted at the quarter-finals stage, this time by Manchester City.
PSG will be coming into this match having cruised to an easy 4-0 win over Nantes. But more important than the victory was the fact that it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s final Ligue 1 match. The 34-year-old took just four seasons to become PSG’s all-time top goalscorer after arriving from AC Milan in the summer of 2012. And whilst the Champions League continues to elude him, the Swedish superstar will leave Paris certainly having left a huge impression.
Ibrahimovic is reportedly struggling with a calf issue, but given that this truly is his last game for PSG, he will be doing everything he can to play. Having netted 38 Ligue 1 goals – a club record – he will certainly want to depart with another winners’ medal around his neck. Javier Pastore is another key player who could miss out, and the only definite absentee will be Italian international Marco Verratti.
Meanwhile, if PSG had an amazing season, Marseille’s was shockingly bad. After ending the 2014/2015 term in fourth, many had expected them to at least challenge for a European spot this year.
Well, not so much. There was quite a bit of turbulence in management as three different managers went through before finally Franck Passi was handed the reins to help the club through the remainder of the season. So, having finished in 13th, Marseille’s European hopes are riding on the Coupe de France. Win this trophy, and they’re into the group stages of the Europa League.
And as the saying goes, it’s much easier said than done. For starters, Marseille have not beaten PSG since November 2011. They have lost ten out of their 11 past meetings. This includes both Ligue 1 matches this season by scorelines of 2-1. Not good reading if one is a Marseille supporter. The return of Michy Batshuayi, Benjamin Mendy and Jacques-Alaixys Romao from suspension will certainly lift fans’ spirits, but for all intents and purposes, this Classique tie looks like it’s going to be settled in favor of Les Parisiens.
A victory for PSG not only would help them retain their title, but also would bring them to 10 Coupe de France trophies. This would bring them level with Marseille, who currently are the only side to accumulated ten titles in this competition.
So, will Marseille be able to salvage a disappointing season by ending their hoodoo against PSG? Or will Les Parisiens cap off a fine campaign with one more trophy for the team and for their outgoing Swedish superstar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic?
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