Preview: Nice vs. Marseille

Preview: Nice vs. Marseille

Fresh from a thrilling comeback victory over Lyon at the weekend, Nice seek to continue their resurgence under Christophe Galtier in Wednesday’s rescheduled clash with Marseille at the Stade de l’Aube in Troyes.

While Les Aiglons came from 2-0 down to beat Lyon 3-2 last time out, Jorge Sampaoli’s side played out a relatively uneventful 0-0 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in Le Classique

After returning from the international break only to be sunk by newly-promoted Troyes, things appeared to be going from bad to worse for Nice, who found themselves 2-0 down against Lyon heading into the final 10 minutes following strikes from Karl Toko Ekambi and Houssem Aouar.

However, Youcef Atal’s thunderbolt and Andy Delort’s penalty restored parity for Nice against Peter Bosz’s side – who has Tino Kadewere sent off in between those two finishes – and 20-year-old substitute Evann Guessand proceeded to net the winner two minutes into second-half injury time for the overjoyed Aiglons.

Galtier’s reaction on the touchline said it all, as Nice returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 in dramatic fashion to rise back up to third in the rankings – two points behind Lens and nine behind Paris Saint-Germain, both of whom have played a game more.

Utilising the 4-4-2 from last season’s triumphant campaign with Lille to great effect, Galtier has already witnessed his side chalk up 20 league goals this term, while seven conceded at the other end represents the best defensive record in the top flight.

However, Nice have now failed to keep a clean sheet in three Ligue 1 matches – telltale signs of their defensive solidity waning, perhaps – but on the other hand, Marseille appear to have lost their attacking bite from the early stages of the new season.

From a fan running onto the pitch to stop Lionel Messi in transition to a red card and some nail-biting last-ditch defending, Le Classique had everything but goals, as Marseille and 10-man PSG shook hands on a point at the Orange Velodrome.

Konrad de la Fuente spurned a magnificent opportunity to win the day for Marseille at the back stick, but Les Olympiens also had to rely on a magnificent last-man tackle from William Saliba to prevent Kylian Mbappe from racing away and netting for PSG, who had Achraf Hakimi sent off in the 57th minute.

Sampaoli’s youthful Marseille would pride themselves on free-flowing attacking performances during the summer months, but they have now failed to score in four of their last five across all tournaments and find themselves fourth in the table – one point below Nice – as a result.

Furthermore, a tally of one win from seven games in all competitions – including one from their last five in Ligue 1 – is indicative of that of a side who are truly feeling the European fatigue, and Sampaoli would do well to utilise his remarkable squad depth in the coming weeks.

Les Olympiens are also winless in four on the road – failing to score in each of their last three in that dismal streak – but the scheduled meeting between these two sides in August descended into chaos as clashes involving fans, players and backroom staff saw the game abandoned with Les Aiglons leading 1-0 at the time.

The most recent uninterrupted clash between the two sides saw Nice storm to a 3-0 win on home turf back in February having lost their last seven to Marseille before that – a run stretching back to 2016.

Nice Ligue 1 form:
Marseille Ligue 1 form:
Marseille form (all competitions):

We say: Nice 2-0 Marseille
Nice are well and truly benefitting from the absence of European football on the pitch this season, whereas Marseille’s Europa League travails now appear to be taking their toll on Sampaoli’s weary crop.

A barren run of scoreless games is not a recipe for success before making the trip to the league’s best defence, and we expect a fired-up Nice to march to all three points in relatively comfortable fashion.

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