The 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign gets underway this weekend as Marseille host Saint-Etienne. The Olympians finished as runners-up as the season was curtailed while Claude Puel’s troops staved off the drop at the expense of Amiens and Toulouse. The hosts only lost four of their 28 matches under former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas.
Where and when: Stade Velodrome, Marseille – 21 August, kick-off 18:00
Where you can see Marseille vs. Saint-Etienne: BT Sport ESPN
Last time: Dimitri Payet and Nemanja Radonjić struck for the Olympians during the February encounter.
Marseille v Saint-Etienne Predictions and Preview
Marseille have not been particularly active in the transfer market but did bring in Pape Gueye from Watford. The Montreuil native is joined by a returning Kostas Mitroglou who spent the last 12 months at Galatasaray and PSV and the Greek hitman will provide healthy competition for Dario Benedetto.
Villas-Boas will hope talisman Payet can lead the side to another Champions League finish. The playmaker turned out for Friday’s opponents for four seasons from 2007 but the 33-year-old is set to see out his career with the 2010 league champions.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
|Marseille to win 2-0||6/1||Offer|
|Draw and both teams to score||21/5||Offer|
|Thauvin to score first||16/5||Offer|
Payet has enjoyed a colourful career and was a huge hit with West Ham United, contributing nine goals and seven assists in his maiden term at the club. His fine form coincided with a starting role with the national team and Payet was arguably Les Bleus’ best player at Euro 2016.
Payet is 9/2 to open proceedings and is closing in on a half-century of strikes for the Olympians. Frontman Benedetto is 10/3 in the same market and will be supported by the Marseille number 10, Thauvin and Valere Germain. The home squad is 8/13 to get off to the perfect start.
Travelling party Saint-Etienne will be without William Saliba after the Frenchman linked up with Arsenal. The defender penned his contract with the Gunners in July 2019 but temporarily stayed with Les Verts as they battled the drop.
Puel brought in some much-needed additions with Adil Aouchiche the pick of the bunch. Saint-Etienne beat off competition from Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Leicester City for the highly-rated youngster and Aouchiche will benefit from regular game time.
One to watch for Marseille: Bar an ill-fated few months at Fulham and recent spells in Turkey and the Netherlands, Mitroglu has been prolific everywhere he has been. The hitman is back in the fold and is 11/2 to score last.
One to watch for Saint-Etienne: Denis Bouanga hit double figures from a wide area and the Gabon ace is admired by Real Betis, Valencia and Everton. The winger is 7/1 to break the deadlock.
Long shot: Marseille have been in the goals in pre-season and Villas-Boas will want to hit the ground running with PSG and Lyon still in continental action. The Olympians are particularly strong on home soil and a 4-1 success, inspired by Payet, is 45/1.