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Dec 9, 2021 at 8pm UK
LokomotivLokomotiv Moscow
Milik (35')
Gueye (18'), Rongier (63')
Rongier (80')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Kamano (24'), Maradishvili (26'), Smolov (56'), Tiknizyan (87')

Preview: Marseille vs. Lokomotiv Moscow - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Marseille vs. Lokomotiv Moscow - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Marseille and Lokomotiv Moscow, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With only a spot in the Europa Conference League on the line, Marseille and Lokomotiv Moscow prepare for battle in Europa League Group E on Thursday night.

Jorge Sampaoli's side are currently third in the section with four points to their name, while their Russian counterparts are two points worse off heading into the final matchday.

Match preview

After starting the 2021-22 season with so much promise and several exciting new arrivals in tow, Marseille just have not been able to juggle Ligue 1 and Europa League commitments and will not get a shot at glory in Europe's secondary competition this time around.

Les Olympiens are still winless in Group E - drawing each of their first four before being humbled 4-2 by Galatasaray on the penultimate matchday - and the consolation prize of a Conference League spot is all that is on offer for Marseille now.

Sampaoli's men failed to convince in 1-0 wins over Troyes and Nantes before falling to a 2-1 defeat to Brest at the weekend in Ligue 1, and a paltry tally of four wins from their last 15 in all tournaments is truly abysmal for a side of Les Olympiens' calibre.

This week's hosts have also won just two of their last eight at the Orange Velodrome and have now failed to win in five Europa League homes games since April 2018, but holding Lazio and Galatasaray to draws on their own turf does set them up well for the visit of the group's basement boys.

With no wins to boast from five games and only two goals scored in the Europa League so far, Lokomotiv Moscow were never seriously expected to challenge for a top-two finish and were taught a footballing lesson by Lazio on matchday five.

After a goalless first half, Ciro Immobile netted a pair of penalties before Pedro put the cherry on the icing on the cake with three minutes left to play, and things have hardly been plain sailing for Markus Gisdol's men in league action either.

Indeed, a 1-0 home defeat to Ural Yekaterinburg - which saw Lokomotiv play most of the second half with 10 men - represented their fourth defeat in a row across all tournaments, as well as their third successive loss in the Russian top flight as the pressure already weighs heavier on Gisdol's shoulders.

The 52-year-old - who has not been helped by a plethora of injuries - has only taken charge of 10 games for Lokomotiv Moscow, but the new manager bounce has now firmly worn off, as the Russian outfit head into Thursday's game winless in six in all competitions and boasting a measly two wins from their last 15.

Cengiz Under and Tino Anjorin were both on target in a 1-1 draw between the two sides back in September, and another stalemate in this fixture cannot be written off, with neither Marseille nor Lokomotiv looking confident of winning a football game at present.

Marseille Europa League form:
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

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

Lokomotiv Moscow Europa League form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Lokomotiv Moscow form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Marseille can boast a clean bill of health heading into Thursday's game, with Dimitri Payet and Valentin Rongier back from bans served in the Galatasaray defeat.

The former West Ham United man continues to shine amid his side's inconsistent form and ought to support Arkadiusz Milik up top, and Sampaoli will certainly ponder changes from the side that went down at home to Brest.

Cengiz Under, Pol Lirola and Duje Caleta-Car are all among those who could be rotated into the side, even though the latter scored an own goal in the 4-2 defeat to Galatasaray.

As for Lokomotiv, Dmitri Barinov will sit this one out for an accumulation of yellow cards, but Tin Jedvaj's sending off at the weekend will not render him unavailable here.

The visitors are dealing with something of an injury crisis at present, with Alexis Beka Beka coming off with a knock at the weekend, joining Tino Anjorin, Anton Miranchuk, Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Stanislav Magkeev, Guilherme and the COVID-positive Dmitri Zhivoglyadov on the sidelines.

Maksim Petrov and Konstantin Maradishvili should benefit from their side's absences in the middle, but creative hubs are few and far between in this Lokomotiv side.

Marseille possible starting lineup:
Lopez; Saliba, Caleta-Car, Peres; Lirola, Kamara, Gueye, De la Fuente; Under, Payet; Milik

Lokomotiv Moscow possible starting lineup:
Khudyakov; Nenakhov, Pablo, Jedvaj, Rybus; Kerk, Petrov, Maradishvili, Kamano; Smolov, Lisakovich

We say: Marseille 2-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Facing an injury-hit Lokomotiv side lacking any real midfield presence represents the perfect opportunity for Marseille and Sampaoli to get back on track - even if a top-two finish is now out of the question.

Gidsol's side are low on numbers, low on confidence and will simply be waiting for the final whistle to blow in Group E, so we can only back Les Olympiens to claim a confidence-boosting win.

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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