Troyes v Marseille – Stade de l’Aube at 16:00 Live at BT Sport
It’s been a frustrating time for Marseille fans. Having led Lyon by five points with eight games to play, OM now trail their Olympico rivals on goal difference only three games later.
A last-gasp home loss to Lyon before the international break angered head coach Rudi Garcia and a 3-1 victory away at Dijon failed to convince the majority of supporters. However, last weekend’s 0-0 draw when welcoming Montpellier has threatened to derail what’s been a largely positive campaign.
The stakes were high here coming into the contest. Lyon had already snatched third place earlier in the day and Marseille was missing several key players, including top scorer Florian Thauvin, goalkeeper Steve Mandanda and defensive duo Adil Rami and Jorge Rolando.
A stubborn Montpellier had already played out goalless draws with PSG, Lyon, and Monaco this season and the resilient outfit succeeded in stifling OM, who came closest to scoring when Morgan Sanson brought the ball down beautifully in the area and drilled in a low shot that rebounded off the upright.
Konstantinos Mitroglou came off the bench and almost made the breakthrough midway through the second-half but in truth, Marseille was devoid of creativity and ideas. Dimitri Payet – a key contributor for OM in 2018 – had a quiet evening as Garcia’s group were unable to seal a vital three-pointer.
Marseille can bounce back
Fortunately, Thauvin is due to return to the fold for Sunday afternoon’s trip to Troyes. Although Europa League involvement could hamper Marseille’s preparation time, I’m fully expecting the team to bounce back here and the 1.83 available on OM overcoming a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle appeals.
Exclude the top-four and the visitors boast a wonderful W17-D7-L1 return – the solitary defeat came at fifth-placed Rennes. OM have W9-D4-L0 on their travels in that same sample, with six victories achieved by two goals or more as they netted at least twice on nine occasions.
The battle for survival at the bottom of Ligue 1 is no clearer with Metz, Lille, Troyes, and Toulouse all losing last week. For ESTAC, a thumping 4-0 reverse at Guingamp is bound to have shaken confidence in the camp and a tough run-in could see Jean-Louis Garcia’s men entrenched in the bottom three.
Starting the weekend occupying the relegation play-off position, Troyes’ recent results leave a lot to be desired. The newly-promoted outfit has now picked up just two points from a possible 21 on offer whilst also losing 16 of their last 23 Ligue 1 matches.
ESTAC have relied upon their home performances to keep them afloat (W6-D3-L7) however, a W1-D1-L6 return when welcoming top-half teams suggests the hosts will be out-classed here. Troyes was silenced in six of those eight matches against the league’s elite and a similar scenario has plenty of potential here.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Marseille -0.75 at 1.820