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Preview: Marseille vs. Lorient - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Two sides in the top seven of Ligue 1 meet on Sunday evening as Marseille welcome Lorient to the Orange Velodrome.

The home side slipped to fifth after a disappointing loss before the international break, while the visitors are looking to extend their six-game unbeaten run.

Match preview

A run of four wins from their first five games left Marseille looking like potential challengers to Paris Saint-Germain, but a draw and two losses in their last three has suddenly seen them 10 points back and outside of the top four.

Jorge Sampaoli's side will have gone into their most recent game against reigning champions Lille with eyes on their Champions League spot for next year, but instead found themselves on the receiving end of a defeat and a red card.

Jonathan David maintained his red-hot scoring streak as he bagged both goals in a 2-0 win, the second coming in stoppage time after Cengiz Under had been dismissed for a second bookable offence.

Failing to score against a side who came into the match having conceded in all of their previous nine games will have been particularly troubling for Sampaoli, and he has now seen his side draw a blank in three of their last four games in all competitions.

That will need to change quickly or their dreams of playing in Europe's premier continental competition will have evaporated by Christmas.

Lorient have begun the campaign in fine form thanks to a run of results that has seen them lose only one of their nine league games, and they currently find themselves on a run of six games without a defeat.

They are developing a reputation as draw specialists - with more than half of their matches ending in a stalemate - and that was the case once again last time out against Ligue 1 newcomers Clermont.

Christophe Pelissier's side fell behind to a Mohamed Bayo goal in the 15th minute, before equalising through Julien Laporte early in the second half and were then once again unable to find a winner, but for a side who finished 16th last year, this campaign is certainly going to plan.

A significant factor in Lorient's success this season has been their solid defence, which has only conceded ten goals so far - a significant improvement on their first year back in the top division last season when they let in 68, which was the highest by any non-relegated side.

They will need to rely on that defence on Sunday against a team which has beaten them in their last four encounters.

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

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

Lorient Ligue 1 form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D

Team News

Marseille's Under will be suspended after his red card in the game against Lille, with Luis Henrique coming in on the left-hand side as Sampaoli looks likely to shuffle the pack somewhat.

The Argentine will reportedly switch from a 4-2-3-1 formation to a 3-4-2-1, with Alvaro Gonzalez joining Luan Peres and William Saliba to form the back three.

Gerson is unavailable after his late return from international duty with Brazil, and Dimitri Payet is also a doubt, so Bamba Dieng and Amine Harit could be handed starts in attack.

Lorient also have to deal with a suspension in the shape of Fabien Lemoine, with fellow midfielder Laurent Abergel set to take his place.

Jeremy Morel and Adrian Grbic look likely to remain out with a thigh injury and a sprained ankle respectively.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Saliba, Gonzalez, Peres; Lirola, Kamara, Gueye, Henrique; Harit, Guendouzi; Dieng

Lorient possible starting lineup:
Nardi; Mendes, Laporte, Jenz; Silva, Le Fee, Abergel, Monconduit, Le Goff; Moffi, Lauriente

We say: Marseille 1-0 Lorient

Marseille will certainly miss Payet if he is unavailable, but perhaps a change in the attacking third will do the hosts good after their recent struggles in front of goal. We are backing them to find the net once and for that to be enough to return to winning ways.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 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.Under 3.5:data

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