Julien Laurens's Ligue 1 Betting: Rennes To Hold Marseille In Close Encounter

Rennes 3.15 Draw 3.25 Marseille 2.30

Marseille are holding on! After a tough start on 2015 with three defeats in four games in all competitions, they managed to beat Evian last weekend at home thanks to a Gignac penalty.

Bielsa and his players really needed those three points whatever the performance they put on. They didn’t play well but they won. So they are still in touch with Lyon and PSG: level on points with the Champions and just two points behind the leaders.

If they win at Rennes on Saturday afternoon, they will go top of the table and will put pressure on Lyon and PSG who play each other on Sunday evening.

This weekend could be very positive for l’OM, especially if Lyon and PSG draw. They have their new signing Lucas Ocampos available. He is on loan from Monaco and is a player that Marcelo Bielsa really wanted and tried to get last summer too. He will be involved on Saturday if the little problem with his contract (Monaco have loaned too many players in France) is resolved.

They are still without André Ayew, who is still at the Africa Cup of Nations. Nicolas Nkoulou is back from the ACN but Bielsa revealed on Thursday that he is not fit enough to start at the back. Roma is out too and the manager will have to find the right balance, once again, especially in midfield.

However, even if Rennes are going through a bad patch lately, Marseille will have to play better on Saturday than they did in the last four weeks, especially considering their bad record away from home. Indeed, Marseille have not won away from home since early October! They have lost five games and drew one in all competitions!

They are really struggling away from the Velodrome. And this will be a tricky game despite them doing well usually at Rennes. They have lost there in six years in the league but were beaten there in the League Cup earlier this season. They want their revenge.

But Rennes also have to win. They have not won any of their last six games in all competitions but they did play well at PSG last weekend, despite the defeat (1-0). The return of Paul-George Ntep, their best player, is a massive boost. He did well at the Parc des Princes on the back of six weeks out because of injury.

He will be even fitter on Saturday against Marseille. He loves playing big games like that and Rennes will rely on him. The game is sold out and the atmosphere will be great. I think Rennes will make it really hard for Marseille and will get a point.

Best bet: Marseille to lead at half time 1-0 at 2.95

Score prediction: Rennes 1-1 Marseille at 6.50