OUR man in France is Julien Laurens and he's looking at Caen v Marseille.
Julien is a London-based sports correspondent for Le Parisien and a veritable French football expert. He writes in French and English for a number of esteemed publications and is a regular on BT Sport as well as contributing to Unibet.
Caen v Marseille (Fri 7.45pm)
Marseille, who are third, a point behind Lyon, can get back to second place with a win and overtake Lyon who face Paris SG on Sunday evening at home.
A Marseille win would certainly put a lot of pressure on Lyon and Monaco in the race for second. Rudi Garcia and his players have been outstanding lately. They have won their last three Ligue 1 games and they were efficient at home against Strasbourg (2-0) even if the goals came late.
Garcia’s coaching made the difference in midweek with the entrance of Payet and Njie proving key in the game with a goal each. Marseille already have 44 points which is a fantastic tally after just 21 games. They are looking at adding three more. Garcia is without Jordan Amavi, his only left back so right back Sakai will switch sides once again.
Morgan Sanson is also out. The midfielder injured his knee on Wednesday but it is not serious and he will be back for the next game. Marseille will still field a very strong team. Payet will come back in the starting eleven. Florian Thauvin didn’t score in midweek but he will still be Marseille’s main threat. L’OM have an excellent record away at Caen in Ligue 1. They haven’t lost there since 1997 and have won each of their last five visits!
The home side is having a good season. They are currently 10th in the table. They are not scoring much but not conceding many goals either. Their 4-4-2 formation is well drilled and solid although the two strikers Santini and Rodelin are the only ones scoring goals.
Nevertheless, the team is confident they can’t cause problems to Marseille, especially at home with the support of the fans. But I think Marseille will win tonight.