Marseille’s start of the season was somewhat hesitant (drew at Bastia and lost at home against Montpellier) but their game improved significantly, players picked up form and achieved maximum potential just before the international break and now Marseille fully deserve to be Ligue1 leaders.
The international break was welcomed as tiredness could be seen in their last game away at Caen (won 2-1). The winning goal came only in extra time and players had some problems in staying focused for the entire game.
Offensive players Gignac and Payet are the heart and soul of Marseille and they have the best start of the season in their careers so far. Midfielder Ayew was injured for a couple of rounds but recovered and is more active than ever. On the flank even the cameras have problems in keeping up with the speed of winger Thauvin. Thanks to his speed and talent incursions inside the penalty box are now Marseille’s specialty.
At Marseille the emphasis is on the offensive phase and even fullbacks and defensive midfielder Mendy adventure upfront quite often. This explains why Marseille concede around 1 goal per game.
Toulouse had a decent run just before the international break. Last round away at St Etienne they took advantage of opponents’ offensive problems and didn’t really had to make much efforts in order to reject incoming actions. Although only 1 goal was scored (Toulouse won 1-0) they continued to threat with actions created mostly down the flanks. In-fact Toulouse never fully retreat in defense. Maybe because of their 3-5-2 system which implies a somewhat attacking mentality.
Forward Braithwaite returned after injury and played for about 20 minutes. He was invisible but hopefully picked up some playing appetite in this international break.
There is no doubt the key battles will be carried on the flanks. Toulouse rely a lot on actions created by wingers due to their 3-5-2 system and could take advantage of the spaces left open by Marseille’s fullbacks. On the other hand Marseille can open up every defense in Ligue1, especially a defense in three and on home ground. Over 2.75 goals at 2.17
UPDATE: Toulouse welcome back defender Yago after injury.
Marseille: S.Mandanda, Samba – B.Dja Djedje, Doria, Fanni, Ben.Mendy, J.Morel, Nkoulou, Sparagna – Alessandrini, Barrada, Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Thauvin – A.Ayew, Batshuayi, Gignac, Payet
Toulouse: Vidal, Boucher – Grigore, Yago, Ninkov, I.Sylla, Spano, Akpa Akpro, Veskovac, Moubandjé – Aguilar, Sirieix, Trejo, Regattin, T.Doumbia – Pesic, Ben Yedder, Braithwaite