Julien Laurens's Ligue 1 Betting: Marseille To Return To Top Of The Pile

Marseille 1.35 Draw 5.00 Reims 8.50

Good news for Marseille! They are back at home this weekend.

Last Saturday, the former Ligue 1 leaders dropped two more points away from home. They could only draw 1-1 at Rennes and were even lucky to come home with a point. They have won away since October the 4th! On the other hand, their home form is really impressive with 11 consecutive wins in the league now.

They are not always playing well at the Vélodrome and have yet to face the best teams in the league there (Lyon, PSG, Monaco) but they always find a way, even if it is not pretty. The support of the fans has been key and will be again on Friday evening against Reims. L’OM missed a big opportunity last weekend to go top of the table but they can put pressure on PSG and Lyon who only play on Saturday and Sunday.

They will have to win though and, as their manager Marcelo Bielsa admitted on Wednesday, they are not at their best anymore. They actually are the shadow of the team that impressed in the first half of the season and was top of the table at Christmas. Marseille will still be without Nicolas Nkoulou, their best defender and André Ayew while Mario Lemina is suspended after his red card against Rennes.


But Bielsa was delighted with the debut of Lucas Ocampos, his January signing, who scored the equaliser last weekend a few minutes after coming on as a sub. He should start the game on Friday and bring his pace and his skills. His relationship with André-Pierre Gignac on the pitch looks already very interesting.

Marseille are big favourites against Reims but they will be careful as they have not been able to beat their opponents in their last two visits at the Vélodrome after a draw in 2012-2013 (0-0) and a shocking defeat last season (3-2).

However, Reims are in big troubles. They have won any of their last six games, losing five and drawing one. They are still 13th in the table but only six points clear of the relegation zone. Jean-Luc Vasseur, their manager, is under massive pressure as his team has only scored four goals in those last six games and conceded eleven!

Even with their good record at Marseille, even just getting a point will be a big task for Reims on Friday evening. They have lost confidence and their team spirit has been damaged by the pressure surrounding the manager ad the recent bad results. I think they will lose again and Marseille will go back to the top of the table, at least for 24 hours.

Best bet: Marseille to win both halves at 3.10

Score prediction: Marseille 3-0 Reims at 9.00