France Ligue 1 – Marseille v Lille Preview (18/12/16)

Marseille preview

  • It feels like OM are back on the rise again. After a steady start, new coach Rudi Garcia has overseen an improvement in results. The hosts have only lost 2 of their 8 ligue games since he took charge.
  • Unlike last season, Marseille have been much better at home this term, winning 5 and drawing 3 games. Nobody has beaten them at Le Stade Velodrome yet. Even more remarkably, OM have only conceded a single goal in front of their own fans!
  • Squad condition is very good right now. Only left back Henri Bedimo is a significant absentee. Key midfielder Lass Diarra returns to the matchday group, but might have to be content with a place on the bench. Striker Bafetimbi Gomis is rated doubtful.
  • OM suffered embarrassment in the midweek Coupe de la Ligue, getting knocked out by Ligue 2 side Sochaux on Tuesday night. They could be extra motivated to respond from that disappointing outcome.

Lille preview

  • Interim coach Patrick Collot is unbeaten in his four games in charge. Lille have won their last three consecutive fixtures and looked much improved. Suddenly now, they are in the lower reaches of midtable and looking upwards.
  • The squad had been healthier recently but now they have all sorts of injury problems again. The main issues are in midfield and attack. The likes of De Preville and Obbadi are ruled out, whilst others might be playing hurt.
  • LOSC will probably have to rely on defence here and Collet has overseen back to back clean sheets in away games. They’ll have to dig in again if they are to obtain anything here and tactics are likely to be quite negative.

Conclusion & betting analysis

  • Marseille are favourites on a -0.25 handicap around the 1.85 mark, and this seems about fair. They’ve been strong at home this season, unbeaten and difficult to penetrate. However, Lille are no mugs and been in good form recently.
  • I expect OM to dominate possession and create most of the chances. Lille will be on the back foot a lot, hoping to soak up pressure. Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama has been in great form recently so watch out for him making a string of saves.
  • I think a tight OM win or a low scoring draw is the most likely outcome. Marseille don’t always find it easy to penetrate opponents and they will be tested hard by a stout Lille backline. If Gomis misses out then they’ll also lack a strong physical presence upfront.
  • The over/under line is set at 2.0 and this also feels about right. I’d say this match has a better chance of ending under, but both teams have been scoring some goals recently.
  • Overall, I’m not going to get involved here. I just don’t see an obvious standout bet. Gun to my head, I’d back Marseille -0.25 and under 2. But I’m not at all confident and this affair is probably best left alone.

Prediction: 0-0

Recommended bet: None