Soccer France Ligue 1 Prediction
AC Ajaccio vs Marseille - Match Preview
⚽ 3 June 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Ajaccio’s season ends with a whimper. The Corsicans, in their first campaign back in Ligue 1 since 2013/14, saw relegation confirmed on May 13th with a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of table-topping PSG. Despite the pressure being off Olivier Pantaloni’s men after that point, they were defeated by the same scoreline in their following match against Rennes, before losing 3-0 at second-placed Lens last Saturday.
Pantaloni admitted after that latest loss in northern France that his team “can’t wait for this to end” as a campaign that showed spells of promise, including a sensational 2-1 win at Marseille in October, has nosedived in the final few months, with their most recent victory coming against Troyes in late February. While injuries have no doubt hindered Ajaccio this term, ill-discipline has certainly played its part too, with the Bears picking up ten red cards in the league - more than any other side in the division.
Marseille, meanwhile, have been fighting in the upper echelons of the table and were just five points adrift of PSG in mid-February. Inconsistency has cost them in the home stretch, with three defeats in their last four matches seeing Igor Tudor’s side slip well behind Lens. That poor form means L’OM are now guaranteed to finish third, which does still mean they will play in the Champions League next season, albeit starting in the third qualifying round rather than the group stage.
Frustratingly though for the Phocaeans, Tudor’s future hangs in the balance as the Croatian reportedly mulls over a move to Juventus less than a year after arriving, meaning the nine-time Ligue 1 winners could be looking to make their fourth new permanent managerial appointment in the space of as many years. With Sead Kolašinac and leading marksman Alexis Sánchez set to move on this summer at the end of their contracts, and the deal of the currently suspended Dimitri Payet running out in June 2024, majority shareholder Frank McCourt could have a sizeable job on his hands financing adequate replacements ahead of the new season.
📋 Players to watch: Ajaccio striker Ben Hamed Touré will be hoping to earn his second straight Ligue 1 start after making his full debut last time out against Lens and drawing praise from Olivier Pantaloni. He could be facing Vitinha, who has struggled since his big-money move from Braga in January. After starting last week, the Marseille forward could make just his sixth start in France’s top flight, and with each of his last seven goalscoring appearances seeing his side on the day win, Marseille will hope he can find the target for them for just the third time this season.
⚡ Hot stat: Ajaccio has failed to score in their last six Ligue 1 matches - no team in the division has gone seven games without finding the back of the net since Toulouse in the 2019/20 campaign.
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