MX23RW : Tuesday, May 18 20:24:48| >> :120:27347:27347:
Apr 17, 2021 at 4pm UK at Stade Velodrome
Payet (53'), Lirola (56', 90+1')
Balerdi (39')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Moffi (19', 70')

Preview: Marseille vs. Lorient - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Ligue 1 clash between Marseille and Lorient, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two Ligue 1 teams in desperate need of three points for entirely different reasons prepare for battle at the Orange Velodrome on Saturday as European hopefuls Marseille take on relegation-threatened Lorient.

Jorge Sampaoli's side played out a thrilling 3-3 draw with Montpellier HSC last time out, while Lorient's momentum took a significant hit as they were thrashed 4-1 by fellow newly-promoted side Lens.

Match preview

Marseille manager Jorge Sampaoli pictured in March 2021© Reuters

With virtually the first and last kicks of the game at the Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier forwards Andy Delort and Gaetan Laborde exposed Marseille's defensive frailties in a pulsating six-goal encounter last Saturday, although a point did not exactly do much good for either side's European ambitions.

Delort struck first blood with just 28 seconds on the clock before Arkadiusz Milik and Pape Gueye turned the tie on its head before half time, and following further strikes from Laborde and Lucas Perrin, the former headed home deep into added time to prevent Sampaoli picking up back-to-back wins at Marseille.

However, with 10 points taken from the last 15 on offer in Ligue 1, Sampaoli has propelled Les Olympiens right back into the European conversation as they sit sixth in the table - three points behind Lens - with only six games left to play in the 2020-21 campaign, and Marseille's fixture list is certainly a welcome sight for the Orange Velodrome faithful.

Indeed, their remaining matches are all against teams beneath them in the rankings, and Marseille - who would struggle to envisage another season without continental football - welcome Lorient to the Orange Velodrome having won four and drawn one of their last five at home - scoring 10 goals along the way.

Les Olympiens have not managed to win four on the bounce at home since December 2019, but a convincing win over Lorient could go a long way in determining who will ply their trade in European competition next year, although their visitors' league position does not exactly tell the full story.

Lorient manager Christophe Pelissier pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Lorient and Lens have endured contrasting fortunes since being promoted together from the 2019-20 Ligue 2 campaign, and the gulf in class was evident last week as Lens stormed to a resounding 4-1 win over Christophe Pelissier's men at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Terem Moffi managed to end his barren run without scoring, but the 21-year-old's ninth goal of the season did little to lift Lorient's spirits as Gael Kakuta, Simon Banza, Arnaud Kalimuendo and Corentin Jean all struck for a coronavirus-hit Lens in a dominant display.

Pelissier's side have demonstrated a marked improvement since recovering from their own COVID-19 cluster back in January - with their loss to Lens representing just a third defeat in 13 Ligue 1 matches - but Les Merlus are still embroiled in a fight for survival as they sit 17th in the table with six games left to go.

There is little chance of Dijon usurping Lorient at this stage, but Nimes and Nantes sit just two and four points behind Pelissier's side respectively, and Lorient travel to the Orange Velodrome holding the unwanted record of the fewest wins away from home all season, with a solitary away triumph coming against Reims on October 17.

Since then, Les Merlus have lost six and drawn six on rival territory, and Marseille have chalked up three consecutive victories against their upcoming opponents, including a narrow 1-0 triumph earlier in the campaign.

Marseille Ligue 1 form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Marseille form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Lorient Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Lorient form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Marseille's Duje Caleta-Car pictured in January 2021© Reuters

Sampaoli will have to rethink his defensive strategy as Duje Caleta-Car has been slapped with a two-game ban following his red card against Montpellier, while Alvaro Gonzalez is suspended for an accumulation of bookings.

Perrin will certainly earn a spot in the defence after his goal last time out, and Boubacar Kamara could also be forced to deputise alongside Leonardo Balerdi in Sampaoli's back three, unless the Argentine switches to a four.

Michael Cuisance could earn a start in midfield if Kamara does feature further back, and Sampaoli has been boosted by the returns of Hiroki Sakai, Valentin Rongier and Yuto Nagatomo to training, but Jordan Amavi remains in the treatment room.

Lorient have most of their big-hitters fit and raring to go for their trip to Marseille, but Quentin Boisgard was ruled out of the Lens defeat with a muscular problem and his involvement here is still uncertain, despite his return to training.

Inter Milan loanee Andreaw Gravillon was absent from training in midweek for the birth of his child, but there is nothing to suggest that the 23-year-old will not participate this weekend.

Armand Lauriente will struggle to replicate his mesmerising 40-yard free kick against Nantes during the rest of his career, but his goal this weekend will simply be to earn a recall to the starting lineup over Enzo Le Fee.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Perrin, Balerdi, Kamara; Lirola, Gueye, Cuisance, Henrique; Thauvin, Milik, Payet

Lorient possible starting lineup:
Nardi; Chalobah, Gravillon, Laporte; Hergault, Abergel, Lemoine, Le Goff; Lauriente, Moffi, Wissa

SM words green background

We say: Marseille 3-1 Lorient

Searching for just their second away win of the campaign, Lorient are fighting an uphill battle to boost their survival hopes at the newly-fortified Orange Velodrome. A reshuffled Marseille defence is certainly cause for optimism for Moffi and co, but we cannot see Sampaoli's men letting up as they aim to keep their European dream alive - this should be a convincing win for Les Olympiens.

Top tip

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Marseille's Boubacar Kamara pictured in action in September 2017
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