Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash between Metz and Marseille, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Following their elimination in Nice in the Coupe de France this week (4-1), Marseilles return to Ligue 1 on Sunday, looking to maintain their slender one-point advantage over Les Aiglons for second place against Metz at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.
Grenats failed to win for the third time in their last four matches last weekend, drawing 0-0 at Troyes, while OM came back from an early 2 deficit -0 at home against Angers in their previous national match, winning 5-2.
The fourth meeting of the year for Frederic Antonetti and his side were an all too familiar feeling as Metz failed to find the back of the net for the ninth time in the top flight this season.
In their three games of 2022 in which they were sent off, the Lorraine club struggled to produce a ton of quality chances or test opposition goalkeepers, firing a shot or less on target in each. of these matches.
Metz have won just one home win this campaign, although it was perhaps their most convincing performance, beating Lorient 4-1 in December, scoring more goals than in any game in Ligue 1 so far in 2021-22.
This weekend Metz can do something they haven’t been able to do at home all this campaign, earn a point against a side currently in the top half of the table, lose all five matches so far, score twice and cash in 12 times. on this section.
Facing Marseille was no easy task for Les Graoullys, who have lost 56 of their 108 games played against them in the top flight, suffering more defeats against OM than any other Ligue 1 side.
They are currently 18th and positioned to face a relegation playoff largely due to a lack of quality in the final third.
There have also been inconsistencies in their backs, conceding at least one goal in five of their previous seven matches and allowing multiple strikes in four of those matches.
Marseille had a lucky rebound in their Coupe de France quarter-final on Wednesday when Bard of Melvin scored an own goal to put them ahead after three minutes, but it was all downhill from there to Jorge Sampaoli and his team.
Their normally stingy defensive setup was on display in this encounter, as they struggled to cover spaces and were too slow to return in transition, an area Nice exploited on several occasions.
This side have been particularly vulnerable to away blocking, conceding six goals in their last two matches in all competitions after posting a clean sheet in each of their first two road games this year.
The Olympians aren’t usually a unit that scores a ton of goals, so seeing their attacking explosion last Friday must have been music to their Argentine coach’s ears, as this club found the back of the net five times for the first time. time. in a Ligue 1 match since May 2019.
When they have the ball, it’s hard to dispossess them, as these players are able to move it quickly, displaying incredible patience, while trying to force teams to chase them before they find an opening.
The rest of February will be busy for them as they have less than a week to rest before each of their final five matches, so Sampaoli will have tough decisions to make on who to play and who to sit out.
Form Metz Ligue 1:
Metz form (all competitions):
Form of Marseille Ligue 1:
Marseille form (all competitions):
Pope Matar Sarr should be back for this match after Senegal won their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title last week, Sofiane Alakouch treats a knee problem, Nicolas de Preville has a calf problem, Fabien Centonze has an injured thigh and Kevin N’Doram walked out with a broken foot.
Matthew Udol and Manual Cabin won’t feature for the remainder of this campaign, having suffered an ACL and leg injury respectively.
Despite a red card from jemerson in the 56th minute, the Grenats still managed to hold Marseille without a goal in their previous national meeting while Alexandre Oukidja made four saves for the shutout.
polish striker Arkadiusz Milik notched a hat-trick against Angers last week as the man on loan from Napoli now has four for Marseille domestically, the same amount as Gersonwho also scored in this meeting, while Cengiz Under for the seventh time this season.
We could see Pope Gueye and Bamba Dieng back in training on Sunday after both celebrated Senegal’s victory at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Matteo Guendouzi has been involved in at least one goal in his last three league games with the Olympians (one goal, two assists).
Dimitri Payetwho leads the team in goals (eight), is tied for first in the French top flight in assists with nine, alongside Kylian Mbappe and Jonathan Clauss.
Possible starting line-up for Metz:
Oukidja; Candé, Amadou, Kouyate, Bronn, Delaine; Boulaya, Traoré, Maïga, Matar Sarr; Mafouta
Starting training possible in Marseille:
Lopez; Lirola, Balerdi, Saliba, Peres; Guendouzi, Gerson; Payet, Rongier, Under; milik
We say: Metz 0-2 Marseille
Expect to see Marseille in a bad mood after their Coupe de France exit, and it seems unlikely that they will have too much trouble slowing down the league’s fourth worst-performing side, and a side that lacked a finisher clinical. season.