Marseille welcomes Brest to the Orange Velodrome for their Ligue 1 matchup on Saturday in an effort to secure a fourth straight home victory and maintain their chances of qualifying automatically for the Champions League.
The hosts are assured of placing at least third in the league standings, which guarantees their participation in the UEFA Champions League qualifications the following year. With just two games remaining in the league, they may not be able to catch Lens, who are currently in second place, by five points.
The previous week, they lost 2-1 on the road against Lille, which was their second loss in three games. Jonathan Clauss had given them the advantage in the 29th minute, but goals from Jonathan David and Jonathan Bamba in the second half allowed them to come back and win.
Recently, Brest's performance has improved, and most recently, they achieved their second consecutive victory. Franck Honorat and Steve Mounie scored goals to give them a 2-1 victory against Clermont Foot at home.Get Your Sign-Up Bonus!
When Marseille travelled to Lille last Saturday, Les Olympiens had a fantastic opportunity to put pressure on Les Sang et Or because fellow Champions League contenders Lens weren't playing until the following day. A Jonathan Clauss goal put Les Olympiens ahead of Les Sang et Or with 29 minutes remaining. However, Lille has strengthened the Stade Pierre-Mauroy's defences this season, and Marseille's slim lead was quickly erased by a Jonathan David penalty and a Jonathan Bamba header in the second half, handing Tudor's team their second straight-away loss after their similar defeat at Lens earlier this month. The next day, Franck Haise's team took advantage of Marseille's error by defeating Lorient, gaining a five-point advantage over the third-place Olympiens, whose chances of a straight entry into the Champions League group stages will be destroyed without a victory on Saturday.
Even if Tudor's team triumphs, they will be relegated to third place and a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds if Lens defeat already-relegated Ajaccio at home. This will be a bitter disappointment for a team that once gave champions-elect Paris Saint-Germain a run for their money. While Marseille's chances of finishing in the top two have all but vanished due to struggles on the road, the home team has put together a five-game winning streak at the Orange Velodrome. However, Tudor's team has only managed two clean sheets there this season.
Dimitri Payet will miss this weekend's game due to his three-match suspension for slapping Lens coach Yannick Cahuzac earlier this month. Les Olympiens have contested the charge, but they will be without the 36-year-old this weekend. Along with Amine Harit (knee) and Azzedine Ounahi (toe), Tudor also lost centre defender Samuel Gigot to injury last weekend when he suffered a kick to the head from Carlos Baleba. Concussion procedures may put the 29-year-old out of this match.
Sead Kolasinac should be used in the hosts' back three if Gigot is truly out, allowing either Issa Kabore or the exiled Nuno Tavares to enter on the left side. Tavares was reportedly left out of the squad for the match against Lille due to worries over his attitude.
Marseille's possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Mbemba, Balerdi, Kolasinac; Clauss, Veretout, Rongier, Kabore; Malinovskyi, Under; Sanchez
Under Eric Roy, Brest has been a force to be reckoned with at home and last weekend's narrow victory against Clermont prompted a survival party in front of the home crowd. Clermont has been one of the unexpected success stories of the Ligue 1 season of 2022–23. Neto Borges' goal in the 43rd minute appeared to give Clermont a 1-0 lead before the interval, but Pirates winger Franck Honorat quickly countered, and Steve Mounie sealed the victory shortly after the restart.
Brest has successfully avoided relegation and can now enjoy a leisurely stroll to the finish line in 14th place thanks to Montpellier HSC's victory over 17th-placed Nantes. Roy's team still has a chance to finish the season higher than 14th if they win back-to-back games against Marseille and Rennes, though that scenario may be unlikely.
Brest, who are in excellent form right now, have only lost one of their last nine Ligue 1 games, but Roy's team has struggled on the road this season with just three victories. They are winless in their last four games played on opposing teams' fields.
Brest did manage to shock Les Olympiens with victory at the Orange Velodrome in December 2021, but that was their only victory in their previous eight encounters with Saturday's hosts, who have not failed to score against their Breton counterparts since 2011. Brest did manage to hold Marseille to a draw at the Stade Francis Le-Ble earlier this season.
In terms of Brest's injury, veteran striker Loic Remy may or may not be given the go-ahead to return before the season is out, and Noah Fadiga, who is still sidelined with a hip problem. However, due to the calibre of Saturday's opponents, a full-strength XI should be used from the start. The visiting head coach has a full roster to choose from and may provide minutes to any unpopular players with safety guaranteed.
Brest possible starting lineup:
Defenders: Lala, Chardonnet, Brassier, Duverne
Midfielders: Lees-Melou, Belkebla, Honorat, Del Castillo, Le Douaron
Expert Betting Tips
Marseille have lost twice in their past four games, albeit both of those losses occurred on the road, thus they have recently been a little uneven. They have performed better at home, going three games without losing. They have defeated the visitors at home 12 times out of their last 15 games, therefore they will want to maintain home advantage.
Six of Brest's ten victories this season have come since March, a testament to their recent strong play. They have won three of their past four games, but since October, they have only had one victory away from home in Ligue 1.
A loss for the hosts appears improbable given their history versus the guests at the site on Saturday. A win with a slim goal margin is expected for the home team because the visitors now appear to be in strong form.
We anticipate a home win with potential scorelie of 2-1.