Sep 17, 2020 at 8pm UK
St EtienneSaint-Etienne

Sakai (30'), Sanson (45+1')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Hamouma (6'), Bouanga (75')
Macon (21'), Gourna-Douath (85')

Preview: Marseille vs. Saint-Etienne - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Marseille vs. Saint-Etienne - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:414358: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Ligue 1 clash between Marseille and Saint-Etienne, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two sides looking to maintain their 100% start to the Ligue 1 season will face off on Thursday evening as Marseille play host to Saint-Etienne at the Orange Velodrome.

Marseille have triumphed over Brest and Paris Saint-Germain in the early stages of the season, while Saint-Etienne have recorded back-to-back 2-0 victories against Lorient and Strasbourg.

Match preview

Marseille's first Classique victory over PSG since 2011 was marred by ugly scenes at the end of the game, with five players seeing red following a mass brawl.

Florian Thauvin's first-half goal paved the way for a Marseille victory, but Andre Villas-Boas soon witnessed two of his players in Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto receive their marching orders, while PSG trio Neymar, Layvin Kurzawa and Leandro Paredes were also made to take the walk of shame.

Neymar has since accused Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez of making a racist comment towards him, and the 30-year-old could be facing a lengthy ban if found guilty, but Marseille ultimately held on for the win at the Parc des Princes.

Les Olympiens overcame Brest in the opening weekend and now occupy fifth spot - only one point below Lille, Monaco and Rennes - all of whom have played a game more.

With PSG sure to bounce back from their dismal start to the campaign as more of their stars recover from coronavirus, Villas-Boas knows that his side cannot afford any early slip-ups if the challengers are to end PSG's reign of dominance in the French football scene.

Marseille are now gearing up for their return to the Orange Velodrome - a ground where they only suffered defeat twice season - but Villas-Boas's side only managed to win one of their last four on familiar territory during the 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign.

Meanwhile, Saint-Etienne followed up their comfortable 2-0 victory over Lorient with another win by the same scoreline against Strasbourg last time out.

Denis Bouanga and Mahdi Camara both found the back of the net for Claude Puel's side, who will now look to end a seven-game losing streak away from home in the French top flight.

Saint-Etienne have not picked up a point on their travels since November and only won four away matches throughout the curtailed 2019-20 campaign, but the early signs are promising for Puel's men as they prepare for a testing midweek fixture.

However, Marseille have taken the spoils without shipping a goal in the last three meetings between the two clubs, and Saint-Etienne have only prevailed twice in their last 26 matches with Les Olympiens in all competitions.

With Rennes, Monaco and Lille not in action until the weekend, Saint-Etienne just need a point on Thursday to go top of the table owing to their superior goal difference.

Marseille Ligue 1 form: WW

Saint-Etienne Ligue 1 form: WW

Team News

Marseille will be without Amavi and Benedetto owing to their red cards in Le Classique, while Bouna Sarr and Morgan Sanson are both facing a race to be fit after missing out the weekend victory.

Valere Germain could be handed the chance to impress up top in Benedetto's absence, while veteran defender Yuto Nagamoto is in contention to start on the left-hand side of defence.

While it remains to be seen what action - if any - will be taken against Gonzalez amid allegations of racism, Leonardo Balerdi could replace the Spaniard in the heart of the Marseille defence.

Meanwhile, Saint-Etienne left-back Miguel Trauco has fully recovered from coronavirus, but the Peru international had to make do with a spot in the reserve team last weekend.

Fellow defender Wesley Fofana is the subject of reported interest from Leicester City, but Puel's side are understood to have rejected a bid of £25m from the Foxes for the 19-year-old.

Arnaud Nordin was forced off in the 51st minute of the victory against Strasbourg and is not expected to play a part in this one.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Mandanda; Sakai, Caleta-Car, Balerdi, Nagamoto; Kamara, Strootman, Rongier; Thauvin, Germain, Payet

Saint-Etienne possible starting lineup:
Moulin; Debuchy, Fofana, Kolodziejczak, Macon; Neyou, Camara; Abi, Aouchiche, Bouanga; Hamouma

We say: Marseille 2-1 Saint-Etienne

Both clubs have enjoyed strong starts to the new campaigns and fans should be in for an entertaining spectacle in midweek. However, Saint-Etienne's recent record against Marseille is nothing short of abysmal, and while Puel's side are sure to put up a decent fight, we expect Marseille to prevail in a closely-fought encounter.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting that at least one team will not score (BTTS - no) 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.BTTS No:data

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Ligue 1 Table
1Paris Saint-GermainPSG1191124101428
13Montpellier HSCMontpellier113441819-113
20Saint-EtienneSt Etienne110561125-145
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