Trophée des Champions

Tonight the official French football calendar commences with the Champions’ Trophy, to be played between rivals Olympique de Marseille, the winners of Ligue 1, and Paris Saint Germain, the winners of the French Cup. After last year’s first excursion to Quebec, this year the final will take place in Radès, 15km outside of Tunis, Tunisia. The match will be played at the Stade du 7 novembre, with a 55 000 capacity, which was built for the 2001 Mediterranian Games, and is named after the date the current President of Tunisia Zine El Abidine Ben Ali became the President of Tunisia in 1987.

The rivalry, and fan problems, associated with this match are well documented, however historically OM have had the wood over PSG in Ligue 1 (OM won 27, D16 Lost 17) but PSG have the ascendancy in the cup competitions, having beaten OM in their only meeting in the League Cup (3-2 aet in the 2003/04 season) and are on a 5 match streak of eliminating OM in the French Cup, which includes their 2-1 win in the 2006 final at the Stade de France. PSG also have some history in the Champions’ Trophy having competed in it 4 times, beating Nantes on penalties in 1995 and beating Lens 1-0 in 1998, but losing twice on penalties to Lyon (2004 and 2006). Rades 2010 will be OM’s first participation in this competition.

OM have something of a problem up front in this match, with Mamadou Niang, Jordan Ayew and Brandao suspended and Morientes released, so it looks like Mali international Mamadou Samassa will be leading the line. This is actually an excellent opportunity for OM to put him in the shop window (he is transfer listed) and give Arles-Avignon, Valenciennes, West Ham, Wigan, Blackburn and Stoke City a good chance to look at him.

My projected OM lineup (with thanks to lephoceen)

————–Mandanda——————-

Azpilicueta – Hilton – Diawara – Taiwo

——————Cisse ———————

———Kabore ——– Lucho———–

Valbuena ———————– Ben Arfa

—————-Samassa——————–

I’d like to see Ben Arfa play because it may well be his last game for the club (he’s been heavily linked with German, Italian and English clubs), he’s of Tunisian descent and it would be nice to farewell him with a win. However, Dede Ayew, hot off the heels of a sparkling world cup is likely to play. On a side note I’m really happy to see Kabore establishing his name at OM, he’s really classy with superb technique. I’m not sure about PSG’s side, however they appear to have recruited well (Nenê and Bodmer), but are without Réunion born striker Guillaume Hoarau but might just take advantage of who isn’t available for OM (Niang, Brandao, Heinze (fatigue)). If I had to make a prediction I’d sit on the fence and say I can see this one going to penalties. Either way, it’s exciting that French football is back and that it is being exposed to the world (with the match being telecast in 52 countries), sadly albeit not Australia.

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3 Responses

  1. Fairly happy with what I saw from PSG. Defense a little worrysome, however. Wish we could do better with penalties.

  2. I think this season is going to be very attractive and competitive

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