Olympique Marseille – LOSC Lille: Resolute Ten-Man Lille Hold Marseille To A Draw (1-1)

Defending Ligue 1 champions Lille travelled to face Marseille in the headline clash of the weekend in French football. An early red card heavily shaped this match, as Sampaoli’s possession-based approach tried to breach Lille’s two banks of four, with mixed results.

Tactical analysis and match report by Neel Shelat.

Last week had been unpleasant for Marseille to put it mildly. Reports had emerged suggesting they would face a two-window transfer ban for their involvement in the muddled Pape Gueye transfer deal, whilst the player would face a four-month ban from competitive action. 

Their recent form was unideal too, as a draw and defeat in their last five league matches had left them fourteen points off league-leaders Paris Saint-Germain, although they had played two fewer matches. Marseille’ main concern must be qualifying for the Champions League, and although they are on course for that right now, any further slip-ups could start to prove costly.

A dismal start to the season had left Lille just one point clear of the relegation zone at the end of the sixth round of fixtures, but they had recovered admirably since. Heading into this match, they were unbeaten for over two and a half months and could close the gap to Marseille to just five points with a win over them.

Marseille maintained the back four system that they have used frequently of late, as they lined up in a 4-3-3, with Pau Lopez in goal behind a defense of Pol Lirola, William Saliba, Duje Ćaleta-Car and Luan Peres. Mattéo Guendouzi and Gerson were on either side of . . .

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