Marseille's trip to Paris Saint-Germain ended with a historic Le Classique victory, but a fracas at the end spoiled what was a fantastic night for Andre Villas-Boas' men. Their fight for the 2020-21 Ligue 1 title continues against Saint-Etienne, with the visitors also coming into the game in fine form.
Florian Thauvin was the deciding factor in Le Classique as his fine finish from a Dimitri Payet set-piece on the half-hour mark gave l'OM a 1-0 lead. As Marseille hung on in the dying minutes, ugly scenes sparked at the very end - with five players sent off in total.
Following the game, Neymar, who was sent off for clipping Alvaro Gonzalez' head, alleged that the defender had made racist comments which set off a media storm that resulted in both clubs putting out statements defending their respective players.
In stark contrast, Saint-Etienne have had a positively serene start to the season, with their opening day 2-0 win over Lorient followed by the same scoreline against Strasbourg. Denis Bouanga continued his fine start to the season by scoring from the spot on the hour mark, with Mahdi Camara making sure of the points in the 82nd minute.
Both sides have begun the season with two wins from two, and will be hoping to keep their winning streaks going.
Marseille vs Saint-Etienne Head-to-Head
Marseille have had the edge in this fixture traditionally, with l'OM winning six of the last 10 games between the two, including an impressive 2-0 win away from home the last time the pair met in February. St-Etienne have earned only two wins against Marseille in the last 10, with there being two draws as well.
Marseille form guide: L-L-W-W-W
Saint-Etienne form guide: W-L-L-W-W
Marseille vs Saint-Etienne Team News
Andre-Villas Boas would no doubt have cherished the victory over Paris Saint-Germain in Le Classique, but the fracas at the end has left him with plenty of personnel issues. Dario Benedetto and Jordan Amavi are suspended for the game after their red cards against PSG, while Alvaro Gonzalez faces a lengthy ban following allegations of racism against Neymar that are being investigated by the league.
Youngster Leonardo Balerdi could replace Gonzalez alongside Duje Caleta-Car in defence while Yuto Nagatomo can fill in for Amavi in the left-back role. Valere Germain should replace Benedetto up-front but AVB may choose to reprise Maxime Lopez' role as a false nine.
Doubtful: Morgan Sanson, Bouna Sarr
Suspensions: Jordan Amavi, Dario Benedetto
Claude Puel celebrates his 600th game managing in Ligue 1 against Marseille, and the St-Etienne boss has a few headaches to deal with. Foremost of his problems will be convincing centre-back Wesley Fofana to stay, with the club having reportedly rejected a €25 million bid from Leicester City, after already having to deal with Loic Perrin retiring and William Saliba moving to Arsenal this summer.
The club have let another veteran leave, with Yann M'Vila moving to Olympiacos on a free transfer. On the injury front, Puel has Arnaud Nordin as an injury doubt, which may force a rejig of the front three. Miguel Trauco has recovered from the coronavirus but may lack match fitness to replace Yvann Macon at left-back.
Doubtful: Miguel Trauco, Arnaud Nordin
Marseille vs Saint-Etienne Predicted Lineups
Marseille predicted XI (4-3-3): Steve Mandanda (GK); Hiroki Sakai, Leonardo Balerdi, Duje Caleta-Car, Yuto Nagatomo; Valentin Rongier, Boubacar Kamara, Papa Gueye; Florian Thauvin, Maxime Lopez, Dimitri Payet
Saint-Etienne predicted XI (4-3-3): Jessy Moulin (GK); Mathieu Debuchy, Wesley Fofana, Timothee Kolodziejczak, Yvann Macon; Mahdi Camara, Yvan Neyou Noupa; Denis Bouanga, Adil Aouchiche, Charles Abi; Romain Hamouma
Marseille vs Saint-Etienne Prediction
If the history books are anything to go by, this ought to be a cakewalk for Marseille, as they have won 14 of their last 17 home games against the visitors. However, Saint-Etienne will be hoping that the media storm surrounding l'OM will distract from the their preparations. Romain Hamouma and Denis Bouanga are in fine form for the visitors and with Alvaro Gonzalez potentially out, they could capitalise.
Of course, with Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin on the pitch, Marseille have perennial goal threats which could lead to a high-scoring, if closely-fought encounter.
Prediction: Marseille 2-2 Saint-EtiennePublished 16 Sep 2020, 12:19 IST