Marseille host Lille on Saturday, six days after the violent attack on Lyon’s bus at the Velodrome which saw their match called off, while Paris Saint-Germain face Montpellier with a chance to go top.
Following the stoning of Lyon’s team bus last Sunday, which left coach Fabio Grosso needing stitches to his face, Lille’s trip to Marseille will take place under intense police scrutiny.
According to newspaper L’Equipe, Lille president Olivier Letang has written to the public authorities and the football league (LFP) in order to ensure all measures necessary will be deployed to protect his team, before he confirms the match.
The situation is critical for Marseille, who have already met with much off-pitch turbulence this season, as they sit ninth in the league with one win in their last six outings.
“That was a defeat for all of us, for my team and for Lyon. It’s a defeat for football,” Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso said of last weekend’s abandoned match.
“Seeing a full stadium, with 65 000 people, children coming with their parents who are crying because there was no match, all due to the fault of four or people who for me are not OM supporters but inconsiderate people, it’s unacceptable.”
Gattuso said Grosso, a fellow 2006 World Cup winner with Italy, was lucky not to have suffered more severe injuries.
“I only saw him an hour and a half after and frankly, he came out of it OK. Fifteen stitches to the face is not nothing. He could have lost an eye.”
Lille are on the rise and sit fourth in Ligue 1, with three wins in their last four, including an impressive 2-0 victory last weekend against recent table-toppers Monaco.
PSG host Montpellier on Friday ahead of next week’s trip to AC Milan in the Champions League.
One point behind leaders Nice, a win will take the Parisians to the summit of the table, at least until the south coast side play Rennes at home on Sunday.
Since putting early season woes behind them, PSG have been relentless in their pursuit of first place, winning four of five since their defeat to Nice in September.
“We’re in a learning process. The team is doing a lot of things very well, but we’re still in an initial phase,” said PSG coach Luis Enrique.
GOALS GALORE MBAPPE
Importantly, star attacker Kylian Mbappe is back on song, and scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season last weekend against Brest, before drawing the ire of home fans for his combative celebrations.
Lyon welcome Metz on Sunday in what is already a crucial bottom of the league dogfight.
Grosso’s side sit winless at the foot of the table and a win would go no small way to alleviating the horrors they experienced in Marseille last Sunday.
The Italian will possibly not take his place on the bench as he continues his recovery, but missing for sure will be suspended French international midfielder Corentin Tolisso.