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Ligue 1 | Gameweek 31
Apr 28, 2024 at 8pm UK
Stade Velodrome
Lens logo

2 - 1

Aubameyang (1'), Gueye (85')
Gueye (41'), Balerdi (63')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Said (77')
Danso (54'), Wahi (64')

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.

The final match of a bumper-to-bumper gameweek 31 in Ligue 1 will see Marseille taking on Lens at the Orange Velodrome on Sunday evening.

This is a crucial fixture in the race for continental football next season, with the visitors currently holding the final European spot while the hosts are just five points behind them.

Match preview

Marseille's Gael Lafont, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Faris Moumbagna celebrate winning the penalty shootout on April 18, 2024© Reuters

Marseille fans are on a rollercoaster ride this season, as they have seen their side make it to the last four in the Europa League but struggle to find results domestically, which has hurt their aspirations to qualify for a European competition next season through their performance in Ligue 1.

Les Phoceens played out a 2-2 draw against Nice in midweek, which extended their current winless run in the league to five matches, including back-to-back draws in their last two games following three consecutive defeats. That came directly after Jean-Louis Gasset became the first coach to win their first three matches with Marseille in all competitions since Otto Gloria in 1962 (five).

Gasset was brought in to replace Gennaro Gattuso on an interim basis in February and was tasked with stabilising the team following a six-match winless streak. However, reports suggest that owing to their current league position, the club could be lining up a move for Paulo Fonseca in the summer.

Despite playing the entire second half against Nice with 10 men, Marseille went 2-1 up thanks to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty but were pegged back by a Melvin Bard strike in the 72nd minute. Aubameyang is now up to 13 goals for the season, including eight in his last 10 in all competitions.

While Marseille have experienced their share of domestic challenges, they have maintained a solid record at the Orange Velodrome, losing only one of their 15 home games, which was against Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last month.

Lens' Massadio Haidara celebrates scoring a disallowed goal with teammates on February 15, 2024© Reuters

Meanwhile, Marseille holding Nice to a point was a big result for Lens, who saw the gap to Les Aiglons remain at just two points after they secured a 1-0 win over Clermont Foot on Saturday night at Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

Lens wasted no time in taking the lead, with veteran forward Florian Sotoca converting a penalty kick in the third minute. In the second half, Lens thought they had extended their lead with an insurance goal on two separate occasions, but both times, the goals were disallowed.

That result saw Franck Haise's men bring an end to a four-match winless run, which included three losses and a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to relegation candidates Le Havre at the start of the month.

The victory over Clermont would have been a massive and much-welcomed confidence boost for Lens, who are now aiming to avoid a third consecutive defeat on the road following 2-1 losses to Lille and Metz.

While a defeat here would not cause them to slip out of the top six, it could see the gap to seventh-placed Rennes reduced to a single point if the Red and Blacks beat Brest.

Marseille Ligue 1 form:

Lens Ligue 1 form:

Team News

Marseille's Quentin Merlin is stretchered off the pitch after sustaining an injury on April 11, 2024© Reuters

Faris Moumbagna was the player sent off against Nice last time out, making him the latest addition to an already lengthy list of absentees for Gasset.

Quentin Merlin is still recovering from an ankle injury, and Ismaila Sarr is facing at least two more weeks on the treatment table as he works his way back from a hamstring strain.

Chancel Mbemba has been ruled out for a month with a knee injury, while Bamo Meite and Valentin Rongier are likely to be sidelined for the remainder of the season with an ankle and knee injury respectively.

The visitors are also missing a few players for this match, with Jhoanner Chavez (thigh), Wesley Said (thigh) and Jimmy Cabot (ACL) all ruled out until next month due to injuries.

Sotoca leads the side with seven goals and five assists this season and will lead the line again here alongside Elye Wahi and David Costa, with Neil El Aynaoui likely operating as the furthest-forward midfielder.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Clauss, Balerdi, Garcia; Harit, Veretout, Kondogbia, Gueye; Henrique, Aubameyang, Correa

Lens possible starting lineup:
Samba; Aguilar, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Mendy, El Aynaoui, Machado; Sotoca, Wahi, Costa

SM words green background

We say: Marseille 2-2 Lens

This will be a very tricky fixture for the hosts to navigate. Not only are they facing a top-six side, but they are also just four days out from a crucial Europa League semi-final first-leg clash against Atalanta, and based on their recent performances, Gasset seems to have made the continental competition his side's primary focus, which could work in Lens' favour here. We feel this one will end level at the final whistle.

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

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