Metz-Marseille: no time to relaxfri 03 feb at 06:30
Rudi Garcia's team has no time to breathe. Less than 72 hours after the final whistle brought the Marseille-Lyon match to an end, the Olympians will kick off the 23rd day of league play Friday night at Metz. Consequently, given their qualification for the French Cup* round of 16, team staff prioritized their players' recuperation. There were cold baths and hot meals all around at the Velodrome, then lightened work loads and physical treatment on Wednesday and Thursday for the tenured players. No strategizing or technical work to put forward but, instead, a program designed to recover as quickly as possible all the energy left on the field for the intense 120 minutes played against Lyon. And they'll have to do just that if they're to pose a challenge to a Metz team low in the rankings that fights for its spot in League 1 with every match, and which will benefit from double the preparation time. Another troubling note: the absence of Patrice Evra, victim of a hyperextension of the tibial hamstring of the left thigh against Lyon and likely to miss 10 to 15 days, adding to the team's growing list of injuries: Diarra, Hubocan, Diary, and Kamara.
Despite all this, the players generally prefer their matches to come one after the other, more so than training, and one always recovers best after such a sweet victory. Also, with the winter transfer market closed, Rudi Garcia has at his disposal more options for building his lineup. If Morgan Sanson, the first of the winter recruits integrates slowly into the team, the multi-talented Gregory Septic could fight for his first minutes of playing time in an Olympian uniform tonight. Dimitri Payet, short of rhythm, "doesn't have 90 minutes left in his legs," as his coach indicated, but he should be able to play again in Lorraine. We could also see the return of Henri Bedimo in the lineup for the first time since November 4th of last year. Solutions exist for the problem of matches in quick succession and players in need of rest and recovery. To help fight against the lactic acid, Marseille can also count on the support of a group of away fans bound to crack 1000 in total at Saint-Symphorien. If the Olympians had no time to savor their performance against Lyon, they should use it to help them advance and keep up their moment, first against Montpellier before finishing their winter marathon with the reception of Guingamp followed by an away match with Nantes.
"Marseille takes on AS Monaco in the French Cup round of 16 on Wednesday March 1st, 2017," three days after their home match against PSG in league play.