FC Metz is set to face Olympique Marseille on the second weekend of the Ligue 1 season, Friday the 18th of August.
The match is scheduled to start at 20:00 BST at Stade Saint-Symphorien.
FC Metz’s Rocky Return
The return to the French top-flight football was not smooth sailing for FC Metz. In their opening match, the Lorraine-based side went down 5-1 to Rennes.
After spending a season in Ligue 2 due to their relegation in the 2021/2022 season, FC Metz secured a promotion by clinching the 2nd position, just behind Le Harve.
Their match against Rennes started promisingly.
Under the guidance of Laszlo Boloni, Metz responded quickly after going down to a Kalimuendo goal, with Youssef Maziz scoring an equalizer.
Unfortunately, the momentum couldn’t be maintained, as the newly-promoted side conceded four more goals, placing them at the bottom of the table on goal difference.
The team’s performance might get a boost as the new signings, including Benjamin Tetteh, Jean N’Guessan, Simon Elisor, and Maxime Colin, find their rhythm.
Boloni’s men would be hoping to tighten their defense and leverage the good chemistry between Maziz and Mikautadze in the attack.
A glimmer of hope for FC Metz is the potential return of captain Matthieu Udol, who missed the opener due to illness.
Predicted FC Metz XI: Oukidja; Kouao, Cande, Traore, Colin; N’Doram, Jean-Jacques, Maziz, Sabaly; Mikautadze, Tetteh.
Olympique Marseille’s Mixed Start
Marcelino’s tenure at Marseille started on a shaky note with a 1-0 defeat to Panathinaikos in the Champions League 3rd round qualifying.
The domestic league, however, brought some relief. The Stade Velodrome witnessed Marseille’s victory against Reims, powered by Azzedine Ounahi and Vitinha.
But the initial setback in the Champions League cost them dearly.
Despite winning the return leg 2-1, Marseille couldn’t progress due to their previous loss, and a subsequent penalty shootout defeat confirmed their exit from the competition.
The consolation for Marcelino and fans was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s striking form.
The team’s recent Champions League game saw them playing 120 minutes, which could impact their fitness levels.
But with new signings blending in and players like Jordan Veretout impressing in the midfield, the side looks promising.
Marcelino, however, will be without Papa Gueye, who is serving a suspension.
Predicted Olympique Marseille XI: Lopez; Lodi, Mbemba, Gigot, Clauss; Ounahi, Rongier, Veretout, Sarr; Aubameyang, Ndiaye.
Both teams have had their challenges at the season’s onset.
While FC Metz will aim to solidify their defense and capitalize on Marseille’s possible fatigue, Marseille, on the other hand, will be eager to bounce back from their European exit. On paper, Marseille looks strong, especially with Aubameyang leading the attack.
FC Metz is hopeful of springing a surprise against their esteemed opponents.
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