By Tim Stannard
Marseille plunges into crisis mode as Andre Villas-Boas both resigns and is sacked on the same morning
Today, dear Barcelona fans, it is time to take a moment of solace despite the fact that another league title looks lost and the top striker, Luis Suarez, was given away to a rival - pretty much for free - who may go on to win LaLiga using his goals.
Forget for a second, that the club's all-time greatest player, Lionel Messi, is being driven out for free over the summer, probably to a Champions League rival, this time.
It could be worse.
You could be a Marseille fan.
In fact, some Marseille supporters might actually be in hiding at the moment having caused the cancellation of last weekend's Ligue 1 match against Rennes after storming the training ground and throwing flares in the direction of players and members of staff - reportedly injuring defender Alvaro Gonzalez in the process.
That protest was sparked by increasingly deteriorating form in Ligue 1 which saw just one win in eight and three losses in a row including two at home against Nimes and Lens.
The week worsened when the already disgruntled coach, Andre Villas-Boas, announced in a press conference on Tuesday that he had offered his resignation to the board after the club signed a player, Olivier Ntcham, that he had said 'no' to, on transfer deadline day.
"I do not want money, I just want to leave," sighed the Portuguese coach. Marseille obliged soon after with a notice of immediate suspension. "This decision has become unavoidable given the recent and repetitive actions and attitudes," fumed a statement.
Marseille reserve team coach Philippe Anziani & Head of the Youth Academy Nasser Larguet will manage the 1st team vs Lens tomorrow.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) February 2, 2021
Maurizio Sarri has now been tipped as the ideal soothing character to take over a fractured locker room, failing form, and appease notoriously irate fans who still can't go to games. Oh, and deal with an economic background at the club where there is no money from gate revenue and where the league's domestic TV deal has collapsed.
See? Could be a lot worse.
Marseille are forced back into action today on beIN CONNECT 8 and their troubles will very much be in focus against Lens from 3PM ET.
PSG 'focusing on Ligue 1' and good news about Neymar?
Actually. Things might get even worse for Marseille as Le Classique against PSG is just around the corner on Sunday to really pin the side down on the mat.
However, PSG are going to have to find a bit of football form first today in a home Ligue 1 encounter against Nimes, a side who are rock bottom of the table. Considering PSG lost to a relegation-threatened Lorient in the final minute last weekend, a victory is by no means a given.
PSG vs. Nimes is live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET and is proceeded by the current league leaders, the mighty Lille, hoping for a vintage performance against Bordeaux at 1PM ET.
Second-placed Lyon are relishing the chance to go top against Dijon, lest there be a Lille wane today. That match gets underway on beIN CONNECT 7 at 3PM ET.
Joao Felix tests positive for COVID-19
Over in Spain and Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid might be making it look very easy at top of the standings with a ten-point lead over Barcelona and Real Madrid with a match in hand. But there have certainly been some hurdles thrown in the way of the Rojiblancos' path to glory and immortality.
Another was put up on Wednesday with the club announcing that Joao Felix has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be self-isolating at home. Mario Hermoso and Yannick Carrasco are also out of action for the same reason. Felix is set to miss Atletico's next league encounter against Celta Vigo on Monday.
In better news, Zinedine Zidane is back with Real Madrid after recovering from his own bout of COVID-19. Real Madrid's next match is live on beIN SPORTS from 10:05AM ET on Saturday against bottom of the table Huesca - news from the club's Twitter site that prompted the response "don't lose ffs," from one enthusiastic fan.
Barcelona are charging forward in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday at Granada with Ronald Koeman still insisting to our Jamie Easton that he is enjoying the experience of coaching at the Camp Nou despite all the evidence suggesting that he really shouldn't be.
The Sports Burst live show will dip into all the hoopla at 12PM ET on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page.