William Saliba, Jonathan Bamba, Marseille, Lille

Marseille and Lille set for European six-pointer

Publish on 13/01/2022 at 09:48


Olympique de Marseille welcome champions LOSC to the Orange Vélodrome on Sunday with an eight-point advantage on their visitors, but with both teams in fine form.

Olympique de Marseille - LOSC


- kick-off: 19:45 GMT




Marseille have won three of their last five Ligue 1 Uber Eats games, most recently beating Girondins de Bordeaux last Friday to shake a 44-year hex their wine country rivals had held over them.


Monkey off their back


Cengiz Under got the only goal in OM's 1-0 victory at the Matmut Atlantique to give his side their first away win over les Girondins since 1977. It was a three-point haul which left Jorge Sampaoli's men level with OGC Nice as Paris Saint-Germain's closest pursuers on 36 points.


Nice may be unlikely to slip up against FC Nantes on Friday, but Marseille will still have a game in hand over les Aiglons, even after they have played Lille in Sunday's late kick-off.


Watch: Highlights of Marseille's long-awaited 1-0 win at Bordeaux

With Pape Gueye and Bamba Dieng on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Senegal, the COVID-enforced absences of Gerson and Arkadiusz Milik might feel particularly ill-timed, but Sampaoli would perhaps have been unlikely to tinker with last weekend's winning formula anyway.


"We were the better side, but we sometimes lacked a cutting edge," he said of the Bordeaux game. "But we have to keep working and find consistency. It was our aim to control the game through our wide men. We're trying to put a game culture in place."


Peres position


Although OM have been linked with a move for Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac, Luan Peres - a centre-back by trade - should continue to line up on the left-hand side of defence. A foot injury means Valentin Rongier's hard running will also be missing from midfield, meanwhile.


LOSC ended last season as champions for the first time in 10 years, finishing 23 points ahead of Marseille, and although this season has thus far been less kind under Jocelyn Gourvennec, les Dogues have turned a corner of late, putting together a seven-game undefeated run in the league.


Watch: Highlights of Lille's recent 3-2 win at Bordeaux

Their last outing in the French top-flight was also a victory over Bordeaux in late December, but they will be looking to bounce back from a penalty shoot-out loss to RC Lens in the Coupe de France last Tuesday.


"I'm very disappointed not to have qualified," said Gourvennec, who helped Marseille to the UEFA Cup final as a midfielder in 1999. "I still wonder how we can play that game, have the upper hand, and not go through.


'We can conquer'


"But overall I was a team able to conquer; a well-balanced side with fight who showed a lot of good things."


USMNT forward Timothy Weah remains sidelined with a muscular strain, but Lille are otherwise at full-strength on Sunday, with Jonathans Ikoné and Bamba set to man the wide areas with Jonathan David - reportedly attracting interest from Arsenal - and Burak Yilmaz set to lead the line.


Possible teams


Marseille: Lopez; Lirola, Saliba, Caleta-Car, Peres; Guendouzi, Kamara, De La Fuente; Under, Payet, Henrique


Lille: Grbic; Djalo, Fonte, Botman, Reinildo; Ikoné, André, Sanches, Bamba; David, Yilmaz