For the first time in nearly a decade, Ajaccio will pay a visit to the Stade Velodrome for a Ligue 1 encounter against Marseille on Saturday.
Les Olympiens are coming off a 4-1 victory versus Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday, while L’ours lost their seventh match of the domestic campaign last weekend, 3-1 at home to Clermont.
Their midweek encounter began about as poorly as anyone could have imagined, but what followed was a fantastic reaction from the home side, as Marseille claimed their first victory of the 2022-23 Champions League, thanks in large part to some poor goalkeeping.
Those four goals scored by Les Olympiens were more than this team had tallied in their previous 10 matches in that competition combined as they claimed their first points of the tournament.
Finding the back of the net has not been a problem for them domestically this season as Igor Tudor’s men are tied for second in goals scored (19) alongside Lorient, with only Paris Saint-Germain tallying more (25).
Currently enjoying their best start to a Ligue 1 campaign in over 30 years, Marseille are only the second team in the competition’s history to have racked up as many as 23 points from their opening nine games without being top of the table, following in the footsteps of Reims in 1953-54.
Les Phoceens drew their previous league fixture at the Velodrome 1-1 versus Rennes, and should they fail to claim three points this weekend, it would be the first time they have not won back-to-back home games domestically since March.
While they have lost two of their previous four home meetings against newly promoted Ligue 1 sides, Marseille are unbeaten against the team from Corsica at the Stade Velodrome since the 2004-05 campaign.
The home woes continued for Ajaccio last Saturday as they have yet to triumph at Stade Francois-Coty in the French top flight this season.
While they equalised with fewer than 20 minutes remaining, L’ours lost their focus late in the match, conceding twice from the 89th minute onward, meaning that four of the last six goals scored against them have now come in the second half.
Manager Olivier Pantaloni got the reaction he was looking for last weekend, but his players have started their matches poorly all season, conceding first in each of their seven Ligue 1 defeats in 2022-23.
They have just four points after nine matches, scoring a mere five goals along the way, their lowest tallies ever to this point of a Ligue 1 campaign.
Their only victory of the season came away from home in mid-September when a second-half goal enabled them to triumph 1-0 over Brest.
Three of their four defeats on the road in this season’s competition have been by a single goal, with Ajaccio conceding a second-half winner in one of those outings.
Marseille Ligue 1 form:
Marseille form (all competitions):
Ajaccio Ligue 1 form:
We say: Marseille 2-0 Ajaccio
Marseille have the joint-best defensive unit in Ligue 1, conceding just five goals, which is as many as Ajaccio have scored this season, so we do not anticipate the home team will be threatened much in this outing.
In the attack, Les Olympiens have many quality forwards who can do some damage – their last eight goals scored in all competitions have come from different individuals – and AJA do not have anywhere near that kind of scoring depth on their roster.