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Oct 21, 2021 at 5.45pm UK

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Preview: Lazio vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Lazio vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Lazio and Marseille, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two of Europe's brightest attacking forces will lock horns at the Stadio Olimpico in the Europa League on Thursday, as Lazio play host to Marseille in Group E.

The hosts earned their first win of the tournament over Lokomotiv Moscow on matchday two, whereas Jorge Sampaoli's side drew 0-0 with Galatasaray.

Match preview

The embarrassing nature of their defeat to Galatasaray - which came via Thomas Strakosha's disastrous own goal - certainly soured the mood around the Stadio Olimpico, but Maurizio Sarri's men have since recovered from that September blip and got off the mark in routine fashion against Lokomotiv.

Toma Basic and Patric both netted in the opening 45 minutes to kill the game off before the half-time whistle blew, and while Lazio would enter the international break on the back of a humbling defeat to Bologna, the visit of champions Inter Milan proved to be a joyous affair in Serie A at the weekend.

Despite falling behind to Ivan Perisic's penalty and ending the game with 10 men following Luiz Felipe's sending off, Ciro Immobile, Felipe Anderson and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic would all make the net ripple to propel Lazio to a morale-boosting win - their third from four matches across all competitions.

However, the Italian powerhouses are already fighting an uphill battle to take first place in Group E, with the second-placed Biancocelesti one point behind group leaders Galatasaray, and Marseille will leapfrog their upcoming hosts with all three points on Thursday.

Lazio have not had things all their own way this term, but the hosts should take plenty of confidence from their 12-game unbeaten run on home soil - a hot streak which includes 10 wins - and Marseille have been nullified away from home more often than not in recent weeks.

As impressive as their goalscoring exploits in Ligue 1 have been this term, Marseille have struggled to replicate such prolific performances on the international stage, netting just one goal over 180 minutes against Lokomotiv and Galatasaray.

Despite boasting 65% possession and firing 11 shots on goal to Galatasaray's six, there was no way through for Les Olympiens on matchday two, although the drab action on the field was overshadowed by further incidences of fan violence between the two fired-up sets of supporters.

Marseille fans have already been involved in several incidents of such nature this term, but the players did the talking on the pitch in Ligue 1 at the weekend during a 4-1 thrashing of Lorient, as Matteo Guendouzi (2), Boubacar Kamara and Arkadiusz Milik all struck in a resounding success.

Victory over Les Merlus ended a four-game winless run across all competitions for Marseille, but Sampaoli's side must now seek to reverse an underwhelming spell of form on the road which has seen them draw two and lose one of their last three away from home - netting a solitary goal in the process.

Futhermore, Marseille suffered a pair of 3-1 and 2-1 defeats against Lazio when the sides last faced off in the 2018-19 Europa League group stage, and Les Olympiens' only victory in this fixture came in the semi-finals of the Intertoto Cup back in 2005.

Lazio Europa League form:
  • L
  • W

Lazio form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Marseille Europa League form:
  • D
  • D

Marseille form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • W

Team News

Lazio's star striker Immobile was forced off after 41 minutes in the win over Lokomotiv but has since recovered to spearhead the attack, leaving Sarri with a fully-fit squad from which to pick from here.

Felipe's red card in domestic action means nothing for Europe, but a well-rested Francesco Acerbi will also be back in the fold after serving a league ban of his own in the win over Inter.

Strakosha should earn another chance in goal after starting in the win over Lokomotiv, while Luis Alberto and Manuel Lazzari can also feel confident about their chances of returning to the first XI.

Marseille can also boast a near-empty treatment room ahead of this clash, with Amine Harit's groin problem the only concern for Sampaoli, who will welcome Cengiz Under back from a domestic suspension.

As always, the visiting coach has bountiful options for change in the midfield areas, and Gerson will be hoping to earn a recall after being an unused substitute against Lorient, following his late return from international duty with Brazil.

Alvaro Gonzalez and William Saliba both picked up bookings following a late scuffle in the clash with Galatasaray, but both centre-backs could reprise their roles here alongside Luan Peres.

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Strakosha; Lazzari, Felipe, Acerbi, Hysaj; Alberto, Leiva, Milinkovic-Savic; Pedro, Immobile, Anderson

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Saliba, Gonzalez, Peres; Lirola, Kamara, Guendouzi; Under, Payet, De la Fuente; Milik

We say: Lazio 3-2 Marseille

Goals are surely there to be had between these two European powerhouses, although it has been a struggle for Marseille to translate their domestic firepower into continental results.

The Biancocelesti's remarkable home record cannot be ignored either, and we expect Sarri's side to just about edge an entertaining affair as Les Olympiens' European woes continue.

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