Marseille will be bidding to continue their positive start to the 2022-23 Ligue 1 season when they welcome Nantes to the Stade Velodrome on Saturday night.
The home side have picked up four points from their first two matches of the campaign to sit second in the table, while Nantes are 13th, drawing their opening two fixtures against Angers and Lille.
Marseille have now finished second in two of the last three Ligue 1 seasons, including last term, ending the campaign 15 points behind the champions Paris Saint-Germain and two ahead of third-place Monaco to secure a spot in the group stage of this season’s Champions League.
Igor Tudor‘s side have been incredibly active during the summer transfer market, with Pau Lopez, Matteo Guendouzi, Jordan Veretout, Cengiz Under, Jonathan Clauss, Alexis Sanchez and Nuno Tavares among those to arrive, and it will be fascinating to see how the players knit together this term.
Marseille started their 2022-23 Ligue 1 season with an impressive 4-1 victory over Reims on August 7, but they were held to a 1-1 draw by Brest last time out.
A total of four points has left them in second spot in the table behind PSG, with the champions the only side in France’s top flight to win their opening two games of the campaign.
Les Phoceens did a league double over Nantes last season, including a 3-2 success in the home fixture, while they have not lost to this weekend’s opponents in France’s top flight since February 2020.
Nantes, meanwhile, have had a relatively low-key start to the new Ligue 1 season, drawing their opening two games against Angers and Lille to claim two points, which has left them in 13th spot in the table.
La Maison Jaune will play in the Europa League this season, having won the 2021-22 Coupe de France, recording a 1-0 victory over Nice in the final at the start of May.
Nantes finished ninth in Ligue 1 last term, meanwhile, so it was a successful campaign for the club, particularly as they were 18th in the table in 2020-21, having to beat Toulouse in the relegation playoffs to ensure that they would remain as a top-flight outfit.
Head coach Antoine Kombouare will need to manage his squad in the first half of the campaign due to the extra commitment of European football, but it has been a quiet transfer window for the club.
Indeed, there have only been three signings thus far, with Moussa Sissoko arriving from Watford, while Mostafa Mohamed and Evann Guessand have made the move to the French outfit on loan.
Marseille will again be missing goalkeeper Pau Lopez due to a groin problem, but the home side are otherwise in strong shape heading into Saturday’s contest.
Head coach Tudor is likely to make changes from the side that took to the field for the first whistle against Brest last time out, with new signing Alexis Sanchez potentially coming in from the start.
Dimitri Payet is also expected to feature in the XI, but there is uncertainty surrounding Arkadiusz Milik‘s position, with the striker currently being linked with a move away from the club.
As for Nantes, new signing Sissoko remains on the sidelines, and the hamstring issue is expected to keep the experienced midfielder out until the early stages of September.
Head coach Kombouare will have been pleased with his team’s performance against Lille last time out, so it would not be a surprise to see the same XI take to the field for a second successive match.
Moses Simon was on the scoresheet against Lille and should retain his spot in the final third of the field, but Fabio is pushing to be involved from the first whistle, having featured for the final 30 minutes against Paulo Fonseca‘s side.
Marseille possible starting lineup:
Blanco; Mbemba, Gigot, Balerdi; Clauss, Rongier, Guendouzi, Tavares; Sanchez, Milik, Payet
Nantes possible starting lineup:
Lafont; Castelletto, Girotto, Pallois; Coco, Blas, Moutoussamy, Chirivella, Merlin; Mohamed, Simon