St Etienne – Marseille – Sunday 20:00 GMT
Marseille travel to St Etienne on Sunday evening in the big game of the weekend in Ligue 1. These are the two most successful clubs in France and their encounters are always a big battle.
Marseille are having one of those difficult season. They are only 13th in the table and after three wins in a row in all competitions, they lost at home against Nice two weeks ago, producing a poor performance. Prior to their three successive victories, they had not won in seven matches. They have been very average overall and far too inconsistent. You never know what kind of Marseille team will turn up.
They have a poor record away at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium too, with their last win there back in 2009. But since then, they have also lost just once, with the other five games all draws. So they will hope for at least another point and will rely on Michy Batshuayi once again. The Belgian is their top scorer with eight goals and has been their best player along with Lassana Diarra.
Diarra has been affected by the Paris attacks, where he lost his cousin. He is a big doubt for the game after l’OM gave him a few days off after the international break. But Marseille struggle in the league when he is not playing. They will have to defend better too with only three clean sheets in their last 14 games in all competitions. It is a huge game for Marseille, who would get closer to the bottom three come Sunday night if they lose.
It is a big game for St Etienne too. They were humiliated by Lyon in the Rhone derby two weeks ago. Their fans were very disappointed after that defeat and they will want the players to redeem themselves against their second biggest rivals. But St Etienne have struggled in the big games this season, losing against Lyon, PSG and Lazio. They are without their striker Robert Beric, out for the season after picking up an injury against Lyon, and they could struggle to score goals. I think, once again, the game will finish in a draw.
The odds are quite even and slightly in favour of St Etienne with a home win at 2.45. The draw is at 3.40 and a Marseille away win is at 2.85.
Michy Batshuayi is favourite to score first at xxx but my best tip is a draw and both teams to score at 4.70.
Score prediction: St Etienne 1 Marseille 1 at 7.50