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Ligue 1 | Gameweek 22
Feb 18, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stade Francis-Le Ble

1 - 0

Lees-Melou (88')
Lala (12'), Chardonnet (35'), Le Cardinal (90+6')
Mounie (60')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Balerdi (49')

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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Brest and Marseille, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Aiming to boost their Champions League hopes at the expense of their opponents' top-four chances, Brest host Marseille at the Stade Francis Le-Ble in Sunday's intriguing Ligue 1 battle.

Les Pirates' plateau continued with a 1-1 draw away to basement team Clermont last weekend, while the Olympiens most recently shared the spoils with Shakhtar Donetsk in the Europa League.

Match preview

Brest coach Eric Roy on February 4, 2024© Reuters

While Girona's La Liga title charge and Bayer Leverkusen's bid for Bundesliga glory have made the vast majority of European headlines this term, Brest have quietly been pulling up trees in Ligue 1, and a spot in the revamped 2024-25 Champions League remains in their own hands.

However, after prevailing in six straight fixtures from December 10 to January 20, Eric Roy's side have now gone without a single victory in their last four matches in all competitions, missing the chance to consolidate a podium position in the rankings as Clermont escaped with a point from a fiery affair last weekend.

Pierre Lees-Melou broke the deadlock not long into the second half before Grejohn Kyei replied for Clermont, but a fracas between Lanciers attacker Elbasan Rashani and Brest number one Marco Bizot - which saw both men sent off in the dying embers - was no doubt the major talking point of the match.

Brest's four-match winless sequence has also seen Roy's men dumped out of the Coupe de France by Paris Saint-Germain, but things are not as bad as they initially seem for Les Pirates, who have held the reigning champions and second-placed Nice to score draws and are on a 10-game unbeaten streak in the top flight.

Roy's surprise package are still clinging onto the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot in the Ligue 1 standings and head into Sunday's battle with a praiseworthy defensive record to protect; Les Pirates have kept four clean sheets in their last five Ligue 1 home games, conceding just one goal in the process.

Marseille coach Gennaro Gattuso on November 12, 2023© Reuters

Marseille could use a defensive masterclass from their upcoming hosts, as over their past two fixtures with Metz and Shakhtar in Ligue 1 and Europa League action, Les Olympiens have drawn blood three times only to be pegged back on each occasion.

Gennaro Gattuso's 10 men held out for a disappointing 1-1 draw with Metz in their last domestic affair, where Samuel Gigot earned himself a straight red just after the half-hour mark, before Thursday's Europa League knockout round playoff first leg with Shakhtar ended in a four-goal share of the spoils.

A frenetic second half saw Mykola Matvienko and Eguinaldo immediately cancel out strikes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Iliman Ndiaye, stretching Marseille's disheartening winless run in all tournaments to six games as they bid to make up ground to their continental-chasing rivals.

The eighth-placed Olympiens are currently running a serious risk of missing out on a ticket to Europe entirely for 2024-25 - they are five points worse off than Lens in sixth place - and only Lorient (six) have won fewer points on the road than Marseille's paltry tally of seven in the 2023-24 Ligue 1 season.

In fact, Lorient are the only team whom Marseille have beaten away from home this term, but Les Olympiens cruised past Brest 2-0 at the Orange Velodrome in August and have not lost to Les Pirates at the Stade Francis Le-Ble since 2012, when Didier Deschamps had control of the reins.

Brest Ligue 1 form:

Brest form (all competitions):

Marseille Ligue 1 form:

Marseille form (all competitions):

Team News

Brest's Lilian Brassier is shown a red card by referee Benoit Bastien on February 7, 2024© Reuters

Both Bizot and Rashani were slapped with a two-game ban for their set-to in last weekend's encounter, and the former's absence for Brest this weekend means that 24-year-old Gregoire Coudert will make his maiden Ligue 1 start for Les Pirates in between the posts.

Midfielder Mahdi Camara must serve a suspension of his own for an accumulation of bookings, opening the door for Jonas Martin to start in the engine room, but as two players stand in the naughty corner, Lilian Brassier - sent off in the cup loss to PSG - returns.

Julien Le Cardinal should make way for the returning Brassier at the Stade Francis Le-Ble, where Jordan Amavi (calf) should be the hosts' only injury absentee, but Martin Satriano is doubtful due to illness.

Speaking of suspended defenders, Marseille have lost Gigot to a one-game ban with another match suspended owing to his straight red card in the draw with Metz, but Chancel Mbemba's return from the Africa Cup of Nations means that Gattuso can breathe a slight sigh of relief.

Ismaila Sarr will also be back in contention after sitting out the clash with Shakhtar due to a European ban of his own, and Thursday's fixture also saw Geoffrey Kondogbia return to the base of the midfield after a couple of weeks on the sidelines.

Fellow midfielders Valentin Rongier (knee) and Jordan Veretout (unspecified) are still missing, though, as are Amir Murillo (muscle) and Bilal Nadir (ACL).

Brest possible starting lineup:
Coudert; Lala, Brassier, Chardonnet, Locko; Lees-Melou, Martin, Magnetti; Del Castillo, Mounie, Pereira Lage

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Clauss, Mbemba, Balerdi, Merlin; Ounahi, Kondogbia, Harit; Sarr, Aubameyang, Ndiaye

SM words green background

We say: Brest 1-1 Marseille

With Marseille only having to travel as far as Germany rather than Ukraine in midweek, Les Olympiens' Europa League fatigue will be nowhere near as restrictive as it could have been, but their away form in Ligue 1 has been nothing short of shocking.

Roy's men may have lost their winning touch in recent weeks and will rue the absence of first-choice stopper Bizot, but Les Pirates have been virtually impenetrable on their own patch this term and should be good enough for a point against Gattuso's charges, who may be lucky to escape with a draw.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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