Dimitri Payet, Marseille
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Payet back for Marseille's game against Rennes

Publish on 15/09/2021 at 20:52

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Dimitri Payet missed last Saturday's 2-0 win over AS Monaco through suspension but should be back to lead Olympique de Marseille out against Stade Rennais FC this Sunday.

 Olympique de Marseille - Stade Rennais FC 

 

- Kick-off: 17:00 GMT

 

>> LIVE SCORING, STATS AND COMMENTARY

 

Marseille have hit the ground running this season - undefeated across their opening four Ligue 1 Uber Eats games - and Payet has been a large part of the reason why, plundering a team-high three goals and one assist for a goal involvement every 90 minutes he has played.

 

Payet and Alvaro Gonzalez were suspended for their part in the crowd trouble which saw OM's clash with OGC Nice rescheduled to 27 October, so neither played last weekend. With Payet missing and Arkadiusz Milik still nursing a knee injury, 21-year-old Bamba Dieng was tasked with leading the line and shone brightly in so doing.

 

Flying high

 

The youngster hit both posts before bagging each of the goals in the 2-0 win which sent Jorge Sampaoli's men up to third in the table with a game in hand over first-place Paris Saint-Germain and their nearest challengers Angers SCO.

 

Watch: Highlights of Marseille's 2-0 win at Monaco

 

 

"I think our system throws those who watch us and the teams who play against us," midfielder Valentin Rongier explained. "We managed to change and adapt our system according to our opponents. The principles of what we've being doing since the start of the season remain consistent, though."

 

Accordingly, Sampaoli might be tempted to find a way to squeeze both Payet and Dieng into his starting line-up. Payet had recently been repurposed as a central striker, but most of his career has seen him play deeper, and a return to such a role shouldn't be out of the question with Dieng's electric pace to keep Rennes on the back foot.

 

Neck and neck?

 

Rennes begin the day eight places and five points worse off than their visitors, but there has been precious little to separate the sides of late, with just two points between them last season and their overall balance across their last five meetings reading two wins for Marseille, one for Rennes and two draws with an aggregate score of 5-4 in OM's favour.

 

Recent weeks have been less kind to Bruno Génésio's side, though. Fifth as recently as Round 3, back-to-back 2-0 losses to Angers SCO and Stade de Reims have seen them plummet, and the coach has admitted to feeling the heat.

 

Watch: Highlights of Reims' 2-0 loss to Rennes

 

 

"We didn't play as a team, and when we don't play as a team, the coach is largely to blame," said the 55-year-old tactician, who has recently lost Eduardo Camavinga to Real Madrid and Jérémy Doku to injury. "It's up to us to find solutions together and for me to make the right decisions.

 

'Worried'

 

"This could mean some players being benched, but at the moment, there aren't many solutions, especially in defence. On the bench on Sunday, seven of the nine players were from the training centre and were under 21 years old. If I wasn't worried, I'd be unconscious."

 

As well as Doku, Martin Terrier went off with a knee injury at the weekend while Jérémy Gelin and Dogan Alemdar remain longer-term absentees.

 

Possible line-ups

 

Marseille: Lopez; Balerdi, Saliba, Peres; Rongier, Guendouzi, Kamara, Gerson; Ünder, Harit, De La Fuente

 

Rennes: Gomis; Traoré, Badé, Aguerd, Meling; Santamaria; Laborde, Bourigeaud, Tait, Sulemana; Guirassy