PREVIEW | Marseille v Lens: Two of the chasing pack meet at the Vélodrome

Two of Ligue 1’s chasing pack will meet on Saturday evening in what could be a decisive clash near the top of the table as an in-form Lens side face Marseille at the Stade Vélodrome. Igor Tudor is hoping that last week’s loss in Le Classique against PSG doesn’t hang over his squad; and that a largely positive performance can serve as momentum coming into this fixture. For Lens, it’s all about continuing to win and extending a decent run of form which sees them with seven wins and three draws in 11 games.

Marseille’s double win over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League created an air of European excitement around the club – but they were brought down to Earth by Ajaccio and then Paris Saint-Germain in quick succession in Ligue 1. This pattern of results is what makes Marseille – Lens such an interesting prospect: which OM will turn up on the day?

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This is also a clash between, arguably, two of the most entertaining sides in Ligue 1 this season. Under Franck Haise Lens have masterfully navigated the loss of key players such as Cheick Doucouré and indeed Marseille’s own wing-back Jonathan Clauss – and they have carried on being as expansive as ever, but are now finding the results and consistency to challenge for those podium places in Ligue 1. The swash-buckling passing style of Lens meets the bullish high-intensity pressing of Igor Tudor’s OM side. One thing is certain, the game won’t be short of personality.

Marseille will be without centre-back Eric Bailly after suffering a thigh injury against PSG at the Parc des Princes last week. In a similar vein, Samuel Gigot will also miss the match – serving the first of his two match suspension for his red card against the Parisian side. However, Sead Kolasinac will return to Tudor’s squad after spending most of October on the sidelines after sustaining an injury against Angers in September.

Meanwhile, for Lens Jimmy Cabot is expected to undergo surgery and looks to be out for the rest of the season – Przemysław Frankowski should be starting in his place. Johnathan Gradit returned to training, but won’t return until Lens’ match against Toulouse.

OM predicted lineup v Lens:

Lopez – Balerdi, Kaboré, Mbemba, – Clauss, Guendouzi, Rongier, Veretout, Tavares – Sánchez, Harit.

Lens predicted lineup v Marseille:

Samba – Danso, Medina, Haïdara – Frankowski, Abdul Samed, Fofana, Machado, – Sotoca, Da Costa.

George Boxall – GFFN