Marseille travel to Paris St. Germain knowing that European qualification is still firmly on the table.
Les Phoceens' 1-0 win at home to Lorient at the weekend, courtesy of a late strike from Andre-Pierre Gignac, keeps the side in the hunt for Europa League qualification—and just three points behind fourth-placed Lille.
Meanwhile, Paris St. Germain know that, while sitting pretty with a five-point lead over second-placed Monaco, the side cannot afford to drop points at the crux point of the season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic sparked into life, once again, during the side's 4-2 victory at Toulouse last time out, with the Swedish striker scoring a hat-trick—including one from the penalty spot—to add to Ezequiel Lavezzi's strike to keep the champions at the summit of the Ligue 1 table.
However, going into the clash at Parc des Princes, both sides will go into the game knowing of third-placed St. Etienne's 2-0 home defeat of Monaco.
When: Sunday, 2 March.
Where: Parc des Princes, Paris, France.
Time (U.S): 3 p.m. (ET)
Time: (U.K): 8 p.m. (GMT)
Watch: (U.S): BeIN Sport
Watch: (U.K): BT Sport
Top Storyline: Can Marseille Stop the PSG Juggernaut?
As you study the Ligue 1 table and pay special attention to PSG and Marseille, you quickly see the gulf in quality between the table toppers and, well, the rest of the league.
Laurent Blanc's side sits five points ahead of Monaco and an impressive 15 points clear of fourth-placed Lille, as the club looks to celebrate its fourth title win.
But, perhaps even more impressive for the champions, is that the side has scored 62 league goals this term—just four goals less than the total scored by the bottom three clubs Valenciennes, FC Sochaux and AC Ajaccio.
Add that to the side's sterling defence, which has shipped just 18 goals in the 26 matches played so far, and you get a club that has only notched one loss all season against Evian, a 2-0 defeat back in December.
Since then, Les Rouge-et-Bleu have remained undefeated in the league—10 games in total—and look to continue their fine run against Jose Anigo's outfit.
However, Marseille's enigmatic midfielder Mathieu Valbuena told L'Equipe (via Goal.com's Alex Fisher) of his belief that his side could cause an upset:
Paris are the favourites. It is logical that they are when you consider the difference in the standings. Fortunately, favourites do not always win. They are not unbeatable, we have seen recently with Montpellier [in the Coupe de France] in January.
We'll be ambitious, because our goal is to keep our winning streak going in hope of making third place.
The 29-year-old French midfielder also spoke of his disappointment over PSG's vast financial power over the rest of their Ligue 1 challengers:
I would of course rather there was no 18-point gap between us. but for two years, Paris has changed status with financial power far superior to ours. The club attracts big players and formed a team that radiates beyond Ligue 1.
In addition, this year, it exudes a real collective strength. I'm not Marseilles birth but that does not make me happy to see PSG take precedence over OM.
Should the hosts record victory on the night, combined with St. Etienne's upset against big-spending Monaco, the Ligue 1 title will be all but sewn up for Blanc's men and show justification for the multimillions spent as the side continues its on-field and off-field stranglehold over the rest of the league.
However, Marseille know that a win could boost their chances of European football next season and, given the nature of the Europa League, plenty more midweek fixtures and revenue into the club to help compete with French football's elite sides.
I'm going to stick my neck out with this one and back Marseille to overcome PSG in their David vs. Goliath test in Paris.
Despite Ibrahimovic's dominance in the scoring charts this season, the visitors will be looking to Gignac to add to his 12 goals, and with Les Parisiens' defence looking almost impenetrable this term, it'll be a big task.
PSG will go into the game knowing that they are favourites and that should they drop points, they will still be in pole position to seal the league title. It is this potential complacency that makes me believe in an away win in this fixture.
Of course, everyone loves to back the underdog. And when that underdog is Marseille, you've got to fancy your chances.
Paris St. Germain 1-3 Marseille.
You can follow me on Twitter @DanBrett90 for more insight, analysis and predictions on the beautiful game.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!