Ligue 1 returns in 2024 with a clash between two of the most in-form sides, as Marseille host Strasbourg at the Orange Vélodrome.
Gennaro Gattuso’s men have gone unbeaten in six consecutive league matches (4 wins, 2 draws), which has helped them secure a European spot at Christmas. However, with six points adrift of the top three, the Olympians will be aiming for the podium.
A superb home form should underpin any attempt to reach the Champions League qualifying places, as Marseille are unbeaten on their own patch since May (9 wins, 3 draws), while they have only been beaten once in their last 14 Ligue 1 home matches (9 wins, 4 draws).
The fact that they have conceded just two goals at home in Ligue 1, which is one of the best records in the league, has been a major factor in their success. Add to that the fact that the Olympians have not lost a home fixture against Strasbourg in the top flight since 1997 (10 wins, 5 draws since), and it is understandable why they are the favorites.
However, Strasbourg will have a lot to say about that, as they have won three consecutive league matches by a score of 2-1, which has helped them move clear of the relegation battle. The Racing can now win four consecutive league matches for the first time since December 2018 – January 2019, while Patrick Vieira’s men have the chance to move to within a point of their hosts with a win on Friday night.
Having drawn the last three meetings with Marseille (3 draws), Strasbourg fans can be confident in their ability to take at least a point. However, their confidence could be tested when they play away, as Le Racing have not won in their last four away league matches before beating Lorient in their last away trip (2 draws, 2 losses). In addition, they have scored just six goals in their eight away Ligue 1 matches this season, which is a fairly low figure.
Players to watch: Marseille full-back Jonathan Clauss has been involved in four goals in eight personal clashes (1 goal, 3 assists), including the equaliser in the first leg of this season’s match. Strasbourg youngster Junior Mwanga has caught the eye in the build-up to the winter break by being decisive in two consecutive matches (1 goal, 1 assist).
Stat: Marseille have scored 18 of their 25 Ligue 1 goals this season before half-time, while Strasbourg have scored 14 of their 18 goals after half-time!
Prediction: Marseille to win 2-1