France Ligue 1 – Marseille v Toulouse Preview (14/8/16)

OM-TFC

Marseille preview

OM had a nightmare last season and their summer hasn’t been much better. Forced into selling a lot of their best players, the squad seems a shadow of what it once was. The club is mismanaged from head to toe and new coach is Franck Passi, who was caretaker for a large part of last season. They still have the odd good player like Cabella, Thauvin plus a couple of others. But you feel like their squad is mostly made up of recent flops who are desperate to get their careers back on track. The mood around the whole club isn’t great and realistically expectations can't be too high this season. Just looking at the makeup of their potential XI here doesn’t inspire me with much confidence. It’s ok compared to some teams in Ligue 1 but they look like a midtable sort of outfit. Passi has a big job on his hands, especially as they were so poor at Le STade Velodrome last season. The crowd often get on their backs quickly if things don’t start well.

Toulouse preview

TFC achieved the impossible last season. They looked completely dead and buried but somehow managed a miraculous escape. Coach Pascal Dupraz deserves a lot of credit and praise for this accolade. This is typical Dupraz and he has the ability to inspire a team for a short periods of time. Over the course of a whole season then he will naturally struggle a bit more. Tactically, Dupraz isn't great but he keeps things simple (which can be a good thing) and he’s one of the best motivational managers in French football. Toulouse should be able to carry plenty of momentum into this season, although have lost leading scorer Wissam Ben Yedder. Dupraz has added to his squad in all areas and this should help freshen up things. There’s enough ability in this Toulouse side to consolidate a midtable berth this year in my opinion.

Conclusion & betting analysis

This is a good chance for Toulouse to start the season well. Marseille are a shadow of what they once were and their record at Le Stade Velodrome has been awful in recent times. You'd imagine TFC will still have plenty of momentum carrying over from their miraculous survival and Dupraz will have them suitably prepared for the opening day. The bookies aren’t stupid though and it looks like they aren't going to make the same mistake as last year by overrating Marseille. The hosts are on a -0.25 handicap here which is fair enough. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Toulouse won this match and I was tempted to have a half unit stake on them @ 4.20. But it’s the opening day of the season, there are a lot of question marks and who really knows how OM will play. They were involved in a ridiculous number of 1-1 draws last season so I’ll predict the same again.

Prediction: 1-1
Recommended bet: None

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