Date: August 29, 2014
Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Kick-off time: 7.30 pm BST
Marseille will look to build on the first victory of their Ligue Un campaign when they entertain Nice on Friday night.
Marseille’s form: W-L-D
The nine time French champions had a slow start to the season, with a 3-3 draw at Bastia followed by a 2-0 home defeat against Montpellier. However, the enigmatic Marcelo Bielsa finally enjoyed a competitive win as Marseille boss when his side won 1-0 at Guingamp last weekend.
It will take time for Bielsa’s ideas to bear fruit, but the former Argentina and Chile manager is noted as one of the game’s great managers and Marseille fans will be hoping that he can help them improve on last season’s sixth place finish.
Nice’s form: L-D-W
Nice finished one place and two points above the relegation zone last term, which was a major fall from their fourth place finish the previous season. Manager Claude Puel has vast experience in the French league, however, and will be reasonably encouraged by his side’s start to the season.
A 3-1 defeat against Bordeaux was their latest outing, but given that Willy Sagnol’s men are sweeping all ahead of them at the moment, Puel will be keener to point to a good 3-2 win against Toulouse in their opener which was followed by a creditable goalless draw at Lorient.
Key Players/Team News
André-Pierre Gignac was their top scorer last season, and has already registered three times this campaign – two in the draw at Bastia and the winner against Guingamp. He will once again be expected to be lead the line for Marseille.
Marseille have lost French international Mathieu Valbuena to Dynamo Moscow but still have goals from midfield with Dimitri Payet and Andre Ayew.
Nice have lost arguably their best player, keeper David Ospina, to Arsenal and it is expected that they will struggle further without him. However, they will be hoping that French striker Alexy Bosetti and Argentine marksman Darío Cvitanich continue their current goal-scoring form, with two each already this season.
It is hard to see Nice getting anything against what could well be a resurgent Marseille. Back the former European champions to win at 1.53 with Ladbrokes. Gignac is at evens to continue his goal-scoring form and given his recent record and those odds, he’s worth putting your money on.