Only one point separates Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain in the Ligue 1 table as the French rivals prepare for the first Le Classique clash of the campaign. Both sides are trying to chase down a revitalized Monaco squad, which sits in first place.
The match will serve as a true measuring stick for Marseille. The Phoceens have taken care of business against inferior opponents in the early going but came up short against Monaco and in both of their Champions League matches so far.
By contrast, Paris Saint-Germain have earned victories over Olympiakos and Benfica in Champions League play and drew with Monaco. Going on the road to score a rivalry win would provide a nice boost for PSG.
Here's a look at all the key information for the marquee matchup, followed by a breakdown of the encounter and a prediction.
Where: Stade Velodrome in Marseille, France
When: Sunday, Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. ET (8 p.m. BST)
Watch: beIN Sport and BT Sport 2
Live Stream: beIN Sport Play
Match Forecast (via Bloomberg Sports)
Marseille: 36.2 percent
Paris Saint-Germain: 36.2 percent
Draw: 27.6 percent
Top Storyline: Will the season's first Le Classique live up to its top billing?
The biggest problem for Marseille in the early portion of the new campaign, at least against elite opponents, has been a lack of a consistent finishing touch. They scored just two combined goals against Monaco, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.
It puts a lot of pressure on Jordan Ayew to elevate his level of play. Mathieu Valbuena and Andre Ayew are both in good form, and Dimitri Payet is also playing well. But they need somebody who's going to find the net regularly to jump-start the attack.
If the Phoceens can find that missing piece, whether it's Ayew or another player, they will become a much bigger threat to PSG and Monaco. Otherwise, it will be tough for them to keep pace in Ligue 1 over the course of an entire campaign.
Perhaps facing a rival will spark Marseille. Paris Saint-Germain come to town off an impress midweek showing in the Champions League against Benfica. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in a 3-0 win that left PSG all alone atop Group C.
Unsurprisingly, Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani have garnered most of the spotlight in the early going. The forward tandem gives PSG a combination few clubs in Europe can match, but they are also getting very strong play in the midfield, led by Thiago Motta.
So with Marseille hoping to defend their home turf while also making a statement about their ability to hang with the league's other to clubs and PSG's ample star power, there's no reason the match shouldn't live up to the hype.
A lot of visiting clubs in rivalry matches tend to utilize a more laid-back approach at the outset to avoid an early barrage. That's not Paris Saint-Germain's style. They are going to attack from the opening whistle and force Marseille to counter.
All told, Marseille should be able to turn it into an entertaining battle. But their results against other top clubs haven't been promising. Add in the fact PSG have been playing well as of late, and they should be able to secure a narrow Le Classique triumph.
Paris Saint-Germain 2, Marseille 1
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