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Sep 26, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
Payet (33', 45+2' pen.)
Guendouzi (7'), Gueye (6')
FT(HT: 2-2)
Sotoca (9' pen.), Frankowski (27'), Said (71')
Said (90+2')

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

:Headline: Preview: Marseille vs. Lens - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Marseille and Lens, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Marseille and Lens will both endeavour to return to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a mouthwatering showdown at the Orange Velodrome on Sunday evening.

Jorge Sampaoli's side were held to a goalless stalemate by Angers in midweek, while Lens fell to their first defeat of the season against Strasbourg.

Match preview

Sampaoli's Marseille failing to find the back of the net is truly a rare sight indeed, but Les Olympiens were shut out for the first time this season at the Stade Raymond Kopa, as fellow early high-flyers Angers stood firm to claim a point on home soil.

Teenage attacker Luis Henrique spurned a golden one-on-one opportunity to win the tie for Marseille in that midweek encounter, and Sampaoli's side have lost further ground on perfect Paris Saint-Germain but remain second in the table on 14 points.

Marseille were renowned for their prolific attacking capabilities as well as defensive deficiencies in the early knockings of the campaign, but Sampaoli has worked to shore up his side's defence to great effect, with the hosts now boasting three clean sheets on the spin in Ligue 1.

Les Olympiens' remarkable squad depth will also come to fore over the next few weeks, with the visit of Lens representing another challenging encounter in a sequence also comprising Galatasaray, Lille, Lorient, Lazio, PSG and Nice before the end of October.

A tally of five goals conceded represents the second-fewest in the division behind Nice, and Marseille have also notched up seven goals in their three home games so far this season, as well as an 11-game unbeaten run at the Orange Velodrome since defeat to PSG in February.

Lens have certainly proved that they were no one-season wonder in the 2020-21 campaign, but only four days after downing champions Lille 1-0, Franck Haise's side were brought crashing back down to earth with a 1-0 defeat to an improving Strasbourg outfit.

After Kevin Danso saw red on the 50-minute mark, Ludovic Ajorque unsurprisingly netted the game's only goal with a close-range header, but Lens inexplicably failed to grab an equaliser when Florian Sotoca's effort hit both posts before Facundo Medina's close-range follow-up was kept out by Matz Sels.

Despite suffering their first loss of the campaign, Lens remain firmly in the mix with the European-chasing pack once again as they sit fourth in the embryonic rankings - level with third-placed Angers and fifth-placed Lorient on 12 points - so Haise's side could finish the weekend in second if results go their way.

Marseille may be a force to be reckoned with on home soil, but Lens have taken seven points from their three away games so far this season - a run which includes a 2-0 win at Monaco and 1-1 draw at Rennes - so the onus is on Haise's side to prove that Wednesday's loss was simply a minor blip.

Lens did manage to record a 1-0 victory in this fixture last season thanks to a winner from now-Famalicao forward Simon Banza, but the most recent encounter in February ended 2-2, and another goal-fest between the two early pace-setters could very well be on the cards.

Marseille Ligue 1 form:
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

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

Lens Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

Marseille lynchpin Boubacar Kamara had to come off against Angers after a previous thigh problem flared up again, but the 21-year-old is confident that the issue is "less severe" this time around.

However, Sampaoli will take no risks while he has a plethora of midfield options on the bench, and it would not be surprising to see both Pape Gueye and Matteo Guendouzi recalled alongside William Saliba and Cengiz Under.

Arkadiusz Milik and Dimitri Payet are thought to have outside chances of returning for the clash with Lens, while defender Alvaro Gonzalez is back from a two-match suspension.

Lens defender Danso takes his place on the naughty step following his sending off against Strasbourg, so Christopher Wooh could come into an otherwise settled backline.

Corentin Jean and Gael Kakuta ultimately did not make the cut in midweek, but both men could feature here, and Massadio Haidara may now be deemed ready for action following a disrupted start to the season.

Sotoca and Arnaud Kalimuendo will both be eyeing recalls to the final third, with Wesley Said's spot in the side most at risk.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Saliba, Balerdi, Peres; Lirola, Guendouzi, Gueye, De la Fuente; Under, Gerson; Dieng

Lens possible starting lineup:
Leca; Medina, Wooh, Gradit; Clauss, Doucoure, Fofana, Frankowski; Kakuta; Sotoca, Ganago

We say: Marseille 2-1 Lens

A clash between two sides who simply love to attack has all the makings of an enthralling affair, and both managers will be desperate to see their sides bounce back from midweek disappointments.

Sampaoli's side are under far more pressure to keep their momentum going lest they risk any more confidence hits over this crucial period, and we expect Les Olympiens to pull through, but it is sure to be close.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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