Marseille v Dijon – Stade Vélodrome at 20:00 Live at BT Sports

Since Marcelo Bielsa departed Marseille at the start of the 2015/16 season, Les Phoceens have been on a downward spiral. But fresh financial injection at the turn of 2017 enabled the club to reboot and the results were impressive.

Former Roma head coach Rudi Garcia was brought in and guided L’OM to a fifth-placed finish and a return to European football. If we only looked at results achieved under Garcia’s reign, Marseille was the fourth best side in Ligue 1 and further improvement is expected following an impressive transfer window.

The arrivals of Adil Rami, Luiz Gustavo and ex-Monaco striker Valere Germain add brawn, ballast and experience to the ranks whilst skipper Dimitri Payet should excel with a full pre-season under his belt in the French Riviera. Clinton N’Jie, Florian Thauvin, and Steve Mandanda are also back in situ.

Off the pitch too, the club is in much calmer waters with Jacques-Henri Eyraud the club’s new president and Andoni Zubizarreta providing a much more professional look to the club in a director of a football role. The mood has certainly changed around the Stade Velodrome and Marseille looks ready for battle.

Marseille should start well

First up for Les Phoceens is Dijon on Sunday night and a routine home victory looks the most likely result. With Marseille -1 available to support on the Asian Handicap line at 1.75, I’m certainly keen to invest my faith in L’OM.

Garcia’s group managed a +20 goal difference in their home league outings last season with only the top-two – Monaco and PSG – departing with maximum points. Take out the top-six and Marseille managed 12 wins from 14 fixtures, 10 of which arrived alongside a clean sheet whilst seven of their last eight came by a margin of two goals or more.

The hosts racked up 44 goals in their final 23 rounds of action and their scintillating attack should prove far too strong for relegation candidates Dijon.

Dijon to battle relegation

The visitors needed four points from their final two games to ensure survival by a one-point margin in their first season back in the top flight. No Ligue 1 side recorded fewer wins (8), the Mustards kept a solitary clean sheet on their travels and returned just one away triumph all term – against relegated Lorient.

Top goalscorer and assist-maker Lois Diony has moved on, as has key attacker Pierre Lees-Melou and Benjamin Jeannot arrives having failed to score in 17 Ligue 1 appearances last season. It’s not been the most inspiring transfer window for Dijon who seems set for another battle against the drop.

The guests took one point from a possible 21 when traveling to the top-seven last term, leaking 18 goals. On 11 occasions the Mustards shipped two or more goals on their travels so Marseille should have few problems in front of goal.

Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Marseille -1 at 1.75

By @MarkOHaire

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