PARIS - With Lyon hit by injuries, Rod Fanni's arrival is a welcome boost for Marseille when both teams clash at the Stade Velodrome for the Ligue 1 'Olympico' on Sunday.
Third-placed Olympique Lyon, unbeaten in their last 10 league games, will be without several key players while Olympique Marseille, fifth, have found a replacement for Cesar Azpilicueta, who was ruled out for the rest of the season through injury.
French international Fanni joined on a two-and-a-half-year deal in midweek and is expected to start Sunday's clash as the OM defence will be without the suspended Stephane Mbia and Souleymane Diawara.
"Psychologically, these last weeks have been tiring, but I feel ready and fully fit to play against Lyon," right-back Fanni told sports daily L'Equipe's website on Thursday.
Marseille have been stuttering, taking only one point from their last two games and are two points behind Lyon but four off leaders Lille.
"We haven't won in our last two games and everybody are talking about a crisis at OM. This is not true," Argentine Lucho Gonzalez told L'Equipe.
Marseille could be without striker Brandao, while Lyon will Miss centre-backs Cris and Pape Diakhate, playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, defender Anthony Reveillere and holding midfielder Jeremy Toulalan.
Last year's meeting between the two sides had ended in a spectacular 5-5 draw.
Leaders Lille, who have 31 points from 17 games, take on mid-table Nancy on Sunday hoping to rediscover their attacking touch following a scrapy 1-0 win at bottom club Arles-Avignon last weekend.
Second-placed Paris Saint-Germain, flying high with the in-form Nene on the left wing, take on struggling Monaco on Saturday and go top, at least provisionally, if they prevail at their Parc des Princes.
Coach Antoine Kombouare may decide to rest centre back Mamadou Sakho because of groin pains after the French international missed PSG's final Europa League group game on Wednesday.
Fourth-placed Stade Rennes, who lost Fanni to Marseille, are at home against Valenciennes on Saturday, looking forward to the winter break after a surprising run.comments