RC Lens – Olympique Marseille: Tensions Bubble In The Fight For Europe (2-1)
RC Lens and Olympique Marseille collided in a game that would likely define who would finish the season with automatic qualification to the Champions League. It was a tense and fiery affair with the referee having to break up simmering fights as two of the best defenses in the league went head to head.
Tactical analysis and match report by Nick Hartland.
It was clear to both teams that as this fixture approached it had the potential to be season-defining as second-placed Olympique Marseille arrived at RC Lens in third. Only a point separated the two teams but that point was the difference between finishing automatically into the Champions League and having to go into what could be a difficult play-off.
Franck Haise set his Lens side up in his usual 3-4-2-1 formation with Brice Samba in goal behind Facundo Medina, Kevin Danso, and Jonathan Gradit. Deiver Machado and Przemysław Frankowski played as wing-backs whilst Jean Onana joined Seko Fofana in midfield. Angelo Fulgini and Florian Sotoca operated behind Loïs Openda as the number nine.
Marseille manager Igor Tudor favours an identical formation to Lens and there were no surprises in his selection. Pau López started in goal with a backline of Sead Kolašinac, Samuel Gigot, and Chancel Mbemba. Patrolling the flanks were Nuno Tavares and Jonathan Clauss with Jordan Veretout and Valentin Rongier as a double pivot. Upfront, Ruslan Malinovskyi and Cengiz Ünder supported Alexis Sánchez up front.
Marseille and Lens had two of the best defenses in the league coming into the weekend, and it was clear from the outset that this was going . . .