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Oct 31, 2021 at 7.45pm UK

Khaoui (53')
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Preview: Clermont vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Clermont vs. Marseille - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Ligue 1 clash between Clermont and Marseille, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two sides struggling for consistency in recent weeks will lock horns on Sunday evening in Ligue 1, as Clermont play host to Marseille.

The hosts fell to a 2-1 defeat against Nantes last time out, while Les Olympiens played out a 1-1 draw in their rearranged fixture with Nice.

Match preview

Despite turning heads at the start of the season with eight points from their opening four games, Clermont have since struggled to keep pace with the big boys in Ligue 1, which seems unfair to say given that they downed champions Lille as recently as October 16.

However, Pascal Gastien's men could not replicate that performance on matchday 11 as they lost 2-1 away to Nantes, with Sebastien Corchia and Ludovic Blas striking either side of Mohamed Bayo's equaliser - already his sixth Ligue 1 goal of the season - but that strike paled into insignificance on the day.

Bayo's goals have helped keep Clermont afloat in the top flight, though, as Gastien's side sit 14th in the table with 13 points taken from a possible 33, and seven points separate Les Lanciers from the automatic relegation playoff spots as things stand.

It is now just one win in their last nine Ligue 1 outings for Clermont, but Monaco are the only side to get one over Gastien's crop at the Stade Gabriel-Montpied so far this term, with Lille, Troyes, Metz and Brest all trying and failing to do so.

Les Lanciers are also yet to draw a blank at home since earning promotion to the big time, but amid off-the-field issues regarding top scorer Bayo, Marseille will hope to return to their own goalscoring ways of old this weekend.

After the despicable scenes at the Allianz Riviera back in August, Nice and Marseille renewed hostilities behind closed doors in Troyes on Wednesday night, and Les Olympiens would fall behind after just six minutes thanks to Amine Gouiri's opener.

However, Jorge Sampaoli's main man Dimitri Payet was on hand to finish off a sweeping attacking move - helped by Arkadiusz Milik's expert dummy from Gerson's pass - as the former West Ham United man rifled home to ensure a share of the spoils.

Marseille are still a far cry from the force that they were in the early weeks, though - with Europa League fatigue surely playing a key role in their downturn in fortunes - but they are clinging onto fourth spot amid pressure from Rennes, Angers, Nantes and Monaco.

Sampaoli has now overseen just one win from his side's last eight games in all competitions - during which time Marseille have failed to score on five occasions - and worryingly, only three of their last 18 away games in the top flight have seen them come out on the winning side.

Incredibly, Clermont and Marseille will be locking horns for just the second time in history this weekend, with the first meeting back in the 2016-17 Coupe de la Ligue seeing Les Olympiens prevail 2-1 thanks to goals from Zinedine Machach and Alfred Gomis.

Clermont Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Marseille Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D

Marseille form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • D

Team News

Clermont striker Bayo was recently released from police custody after being involved in a drink-driving incident which resulted in a hit-and-run - with the 23-year-old issuing a grovelling apology on social media - but he is now back in training.

However, Gastien has affirmed that there will be consequences for Bayo's actions and he is not guaranteed to line up this weekend, while he will reportedly appear before magistrates on June 22 of next year.

Meanwhile, midfielder Johan Gastien will sit out the next two games owing to his red card against Nantes, so Oriol Busquets is poised to return to the engine room.

Marseille boss Sampaoli has no injury or suspension concerns whatsoever to deal with, but rotation will surely be on the cards for the visitors and their stellar squad depth.

Alvaro Gonzalez earned a rare start in defence against Nice but could now make way for the returning Luan Peres, while Boubacar Kamara is also in line to earn a recall to the engine room.

Amine Harit and Pol Lirola were unable to face Nice due to ineligibility but will make their returns to the squad here, with the latter expected to displace Luis Henrique on the right.

Clermont possible starting lineup:
Desmas; Zedadka, Ogier, Hountondji, N'Simba; Busquets, Abdul Samed; Dossou, Berthomier, Rashani; Hamel

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Saliba, Caleta-Car, Peres; Lirola, Kamara, Guendouzi, Gerson; Under, Payet; Milik

We say: Clermont 0-2 Marseille

The potential absence of Bayo would be a bitter blow to Clermont's attacking prowess - with Gastien having an unenviable decision to make there - and Marseille have demonstrated a more resilient nature in recent games.

There will be some jellied legs in Sampaoli's ranks given their hectic week, but with bountiful options for change, we still expect Marseille to pull through and claim a much-needed three points.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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