Olympique de Marseille are aiming to return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats when they play host to in-form FC Lorient at the Orange Vélodrome on Sunday night. It is the start of a huge week for Jorge Sampaoli’s side.
Olympique de Marseille - FC Lorient Sunday at 20:45 CET (1845 GMT)
Marseille enjoyed an excellent start to the season and looked a good bet to emerge at least as the best of the rest behind Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table. However, Sampaoli’s men then stumbled to back-to-back defeats just before the international break, a dramatic 3-2 defeat at home to RC Lens being followed by a 2-0 loss away to reigning champions LOSC.
OM have now lost as many times in their last two outings as in their first 17 Ligue 1 Uber Eats matches since Sampaoli was appointed as coach in March, and they came into Round 10 in fifth place in the table, four points behind Lens in second and already 10 points adrift of leaders PSG.
Marseille do still have a game in hand to come against Nice later this month and their record at home has been excellent - the loss to Lens is their only defeat in their last 13 matches at the Vélodrome. A win here would set them up perfectly for the week ahead, with a trip to Italy to play Lazio in the Europa League on Thursday and then a home meeting with PSG in the Classique.
Highlights of Marseille's defeat at Lille
There is good news on the selection front for OM heading into such a period, with Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik finally back from the knee injury that saw him miss Euro 2020. Meanwhile Pau López can be expected to continue in goal ahead of Steve Mandanda, as the multiple new close-season recruits continue to settle in to their new surroundings.
“It is almost a new squad. There are not many of us who were here even two years ago,” Dimitri Payet told sports daily L’Equipe. “The new players have had to settle in quickly and that is a risk. There will be tricky times ahead. We will need to be strong but for the moment things are going well. Training is good fun, which is a good sign.”
Watch: Lorient draw with Clermont
Lorient are not to be underestimated as they travel to the Mediterranean coast. The Brittany side are level on points with Marseille, albeit having played an extra game. A 1-1 draw with Clermont Foot 63 in their last outing means they are unbeaten in six matches since their solitary defeat so far this season, a 3-1 loss at Montpellier Hérault SC in August.
It is their best run of form in the top flight since spring 2014. Lorient have been hoping striker Terem Moffi can shake off a collarbone problem in time to play, while Fabien Lemoine is suspended. Marseille are without Cengiz Ünder, suspended after his red card against Lille.
What they’re saying
Jorge Sampaoli (Marseille coach): "There is always an obligation in football to get results, to win every match. But for me, to say you are obliged to win at all costs is a bit defeatist. Obligation is sort of oppression, it creates stress and added difficulties. The most important thing is to consolidate the idea we are trying to inculcate. We have started something new with lots of new players. We are playing Lorient, who are good away from home and have done well against the best sides in Ligue 1. For me, fatigue is more of a mental thing than physical. You can lose that feeling of freshness when you start hearing all the time that you are obliged to win.”
Marseille: To follow
Lorient: To follow