Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 15/8
December is usually a hectic time for most clubs across the top five European Leagues, including Ligue 1 where round 14 will be played over the weekend. On Saturday, Olympique Marseille will play host to AS Monaco at the Stade Velodrome for what should be an interesting contest.
It’s been a rather successful campaign for Andre Villas-Boas’s team so far. At the moment they occupy the place number four in the French top flight, but with two games in hand on almost every other team in the league. They have 24 points to their name – only four less than Paris Saint-Germain who lead the pack once more. That obviously means Marseille could have been ahead of the defending champions at this point, had their two games in hand been played and had they won both.
It’s a very different story in the Champions League. Marseille were drawn in Group C with Manchester City, FC Porto and Olympiacos, and they only managed to book three points through a win over the Greek side at the Velodrome. They lost all of the remaining matches, finishing in last place and ending their European adventure.
Nonetheless, Marseille’s form is very encouraging at the moment, and their record in the last six matches in all competitions reads four wins and two defeats.
Defender Jordan Amavi missed the clash with Manchester City midweek through a muscular problem and he is a huge doubt for the Monaco visit as well, which means Yuto Nagatomo is likely to play on the left defensive flank once more. Attacking midfielder Dmitri Payet is absent through suspension due to an accumulation of bookings.
The rest of the squad should be available for selection, but Villas-Boas himself won’t be in the dugout after getting sent off in the win away to Nimes last week.
Like Marseille, Monaco haven’t done to badly in the league so far. They were very close to the top until last week, when they lost some ground on the teams around them through a narrow defeat away to second-place Lille. Niko Kovac’s team now sit in fifth place, directly below Marseille with one point less in the bag, but they don’t have the luxury of two (or even one) games in hand.
Nonetheless, the top-end of the table looks very tight at the moment, and the season in France promises to be an exciting one right until the end.
Monaco have exactly the same record as Marseille when it comes to their last six matches – four wins and two losses, the only difference being that all of those were Ligue 1 games.
Goalkeeper Benjamin Lacomte is still recovering from a broken hand and probably won’t be in action before the year ends. It means Vito Mannone is set to deputize once again.
Midfielder Aleksandr Golovin is back in training after a long absence through a hamstring problem, but this match is very likely to come far too soon for the 24-year-old Russia international as he strives to rebuild his fitness. Fullback Djibril Sidibe is in a similar situation at the moment – more likely to be back for next week than for this clash.
One would have thought that the absence of a player like Payet would be serious problem for Marseille, but the former West Ham man has already missed three games this season, one due to testing positive to Covid-19 and two through red card suspension – and Marseille won them all.
It should be an interesting contest, but Marseille are likely to prove the better side, given their great domestic form and probable desire to prove a point after leaving the Champions League so soon.
Verdict: Home win
Best odds: 15/8
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!