Preview: Metz vs. Marseille

Preview: Metz vs. Marseille

Following their elimination to Nice at the Coupe de France this week (4-1), Marseille return to Ligue 1 action on Sunday, looking to maintain their slender one-point advantage over Les Aiglons for second place when they face Metz at Stade Saint-Symphorien.

Les Grenats failed to win for the third time in their last four games last weekend, drawing 0-0 at Troyes, while OM came back from an early 2-0 deficit at home to Angers in their previous domestic fixture, winning 5-2.

The fourth encounter of the year for Frederic Antonetti and his side was an all too familiar feeling as Metz failed to find the back of the net for a ninth time in the top flight this season.

In their three games of 2022 in which they were shut out, the Lorraine based club struggled to produce a ton of quality chances or test opposing goalkeepers, firing one shot or fewer on target in each of those matches.

Metz have only come away with one victory at home in this campaign, although it was perhaps their most convincing performance, defeating Lorient 4-1 in December, scoring more goals than in any Ligue 1 fixture so far in 2021-22.

This weekend, Metz can do something that they have been unable to do at home throughout this campaign – earn a point against a team currently in the top half of the table, losing all five of those fixtures to date, scoring twice and conceding 12 times over that stretch.

Facing Marseille has proven to be no easy task for Les Graoullys, losing 56 of their 108 games played against them in the top flight, suffering more losses versus OM than any other Ligue 1 outfit.

They are sitting in 18th at the moment and positioned to have to face a relegation playoff largely due to a shortage of quality in the final third.

There have been inconsistencies on their back end as well though, conceding at least a goal in five of their previous seven fixtures and allowing multiple strikes in four of those games.

Marseille had a fortunate bounce go their way in their French Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, when Melvin Bard scored an own-goal to give them the lead after three minutes, but it was all downhill from there for Jorge Sampaoli and his team.

Their normally stingy defensive setup was exposed in that encounter, as they struggled to cover the spaces and were too slow coming back in transition, an area that Nice exploited multiple times.

This team have been particularly vulnerable to the counter away from home, conceding six goals in their last two matches in all competitions after posting a clean sheet in each of their first two road games this year.

Les Olympiens are generally not a unit that score a ton of goals, so to see their offensive outburst last Friday must have been music to the ears of their Argentine coach, as this club found the back of the net on five occasions for the first time in a Ligue 1 match since May 2019.

When they have the ball, it is hard to dispossess them, as these players are able to move it around quickly, showing incredible patience, while trying to force teams to chase them before finding an opening.

The rest of February will be a busy one for them as they have less than a week to rest before each of their final five matches, so Sampaoli will have some difficult decisions to make on who to play and who to sit.

Metz Ligue 1 form:
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Metz form (all competitions):
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Marseille Ligue 1 form:
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Marseille form (all competitions):
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We say: Metz 0-2 Marseille
Expect to see Marseille in a foul mood following their elimination at the Coupe de France, and it seems unlikely that they will have too much trouble slowing down the fourth-lowest scoring team in the league, and a side who have lacked a clinical finisher all season.

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