Our football match prediction:
Olympique Marseille will be looking to kick off their French Cup campaign in style when they host Valenciennes at their Stade Velodrome. OM have been producing fine performances in the French top flight this season and they are still in the race for a place in the Champions League. Rudi Garcia’s men will be playing on three fronts in 2018 and, no doubt, the former Roma coach wants to win everything with the Stade Velodrome outfit. Marseille are on a four-game winning run at home in the French top flight and they are seen as hot favourites to win Sunday’s football game against Valenciennes. Les Atheniens, on the other hand, experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 5-1 loss to Reims in their last away game in Ligue 2 and that is yet another reason why we predict the hosts will make it to the French Cup last 32.
Highlighted Player (Payet):
Dimitri Payet was born in Saint-Pierre, Reunion on 29 March 1987, but he joined Le Havre’s famous youth academy in 1999 and has since enjoyed a meteoric rise. The attacking midfielder started his professional career at Nantes, but top French clubs soon started casting admiring glances his way and he went on to represent Saint Etienne, Lille and Marseille, becoming one of Ligue 1’s leading footballers. However, it was the move to West Ham that placed Payet on the map as the Frenchman enjoyed a brilliant start to his career in England, making the PFA Player of the Year Shortlist. Some excellent performances in the Premier League persuaded France coach Didier Deschamps to reinstate Payet into his starting line-up and the midfielder paid the coach back with some scintillating displays on international stage. Excellent with the ball at his feet and very dangerous from set pieces, Payet quickly established himself as one of Europe’s top midfielders, with the likes of Barcelona, Arsenal and other top clubs now after his signature.
Highlighted Team (Olympique Marseille):
Olympique de Marseille are considered one of the best French football clubs. Les Olympiens won their ninth Ligue 1 title in 2010, but winning of the 1992/1993 Champions League trophy is seen as the club’s biggest success. Marseille defeated Italian giants Milan in the title game, with Basile Boli scoring the winner (1-0) in the Olympiastadion showdown. It has to be noted, though, that the Stade Velodrome outfit were banned from defending the title in the 1993/1994 season after being involved in a match-fixing scandal. To make things even worse for the fans, the club suffered enforced relegation to the Ligue 2. Olympique de Marseille participated in the Europa League final on two occasions (1998/1999, 2003/2004), but they were beaten by Parma and Valencia respectively in the title games. OM’s home ground Stade Velodrome was opened on June 13, 1997 and the capacity of the stadium is 67.394. The likes of Franck Ribery, Didier Deschamps, Didier Drogba, Laurent Blanc, Fabien Barthez, Samir Nasri, Fabrizio Ravanelli and Djibril Cisse all played for Marseille in the past.