A hard-fought victory over Bastia ensured Marseille remained in the second place and OM can now virtually secure their place in the Champions League group stages with three points against Toulouse. Le Tefece ended a dismal run of results by beating in-form Lille at home and they hope to claim another major scalp at Stade Velodrome.
Club’s faithful fans were forced to put up with years of underachievement and disappointing showings at Stade Velodrome, but it appears the team have finally managed to return to the right track. While nobody was too disappointed to see Didier Deschamps leave in the summer after he had led the team to a 10th-place finish in Ligue 1, not everybody thought Elie Baup was the right choice for Marseille bench. The experienced coach, nonetheless, quickly proved the doubters wrong and managed to create a homogenous unit at Stade Velodrome, something that had appeared virtually impossible just a year ago. His biggest achievement up to date is patching up the leaky defence, which is now one of the best in the top flight. While Marseille attackers haven’t exactly been scoring goals for fun of late, some memorable defensive showings and just two conceded goals in last nine league matches enabled OM to make the second place in the standings their own. Having scored just 40 goals in 35 matches, the hosts might struggle to break hard-working Toulouse, but their back line is expected to continue the rich vein of form.
Andre Ayew is back to the side after missing the Bastia game through suspension, but Rod Fanni and Benoit Cheyrou are out injured.
Impressive showing against Lille
Unlike their next opponents, Toulouse have mostly been overachieving under long-serving manager Alain Casanova, in spite of the club selling the key players season after season. However, it looks as though the club are on a downtrend at the moment, which looks likely to continue as the likes of Etienne Capoue, Aymen Abdennour, Franck Tabanou and Cheikh M’Bengue prepare for summer exit. All the transfer talk seems to have had a negative effect on the squad, as le Tefece haven’t been as solid at the back as they had been over the last few years, although the fact they are safely tucked away in mid table is hardly a cause for concern. Following several under-par showings, Toulouse produced a totally uncharacteristic performance against Lille, winning the match 4-2, but the reality is they only adapted to their opponents’ attack-minded style of play. With Marseille likely to play with a lot of caution, Toulouse should revert to their trademark defensive approach, especially as one point from Stade Velodrome would certainly be considered a good result.
Cheikh M’Bengue is closing in on his return from injury, but Pavle Ninkov, Olivier Blondel and Jonathan Zebina remain sidelined.
With Marseille incredibly tight at the back and Toulouse not too interested in the attacking phase, chances should be few and far between at Stade Velodrome. The hosts may be the favourites here, but they could face all sorts of problems in trying to unlock the opposition, especially seeing that their attackers are not exactly firing on all cylinders.
Top pick: Under 2.5 goals 1.78 (7/9) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 1: Under 1.5 goals 3.25 (9/4) @ BetFred
Alternative pick 2: Toulouse not to score 2.20 (6/5) @ William Hill
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