Marseille continue preparations for the 2021/22 Ligue 1 season when they take on Servette in a friendly on Thursday at 8pm (UK time).
It was a helter-skelter 2020/21 for Marseille, who unceremoniously parted with Andre Villas-Boas midway through the campaign, before drafting in former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli in February, with the Argentine subsequently guiding Les Phoceens to fifth and Europa League qualification.
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Scoreline prediction: Marseille 3-0 Servette
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Marseille vs Servette build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
After a blistering start to 2020/21, the wheels stared to come off and Villas-Boas eventually walked halfway through the season, paving the way for Sampaoli to come in and get Marseille over the line, with the club sealing European football for next campaign. The ex-Argentina head coach has a monumental job on his hands to re-establish Marseille in the upper echelons of French football, but early signs in the transfer market, including the acquisition of 2019 Copa Libertadores maestro Gerson, have prompted excitement at the Stade Velodrome.
A third-placed finish in the Swiss Super League has qualified Servette, who finished just below Basel and Young Boys, for the inaugural Europa Conference League, where they face Molde in a two-legged tie for progression to the third qualifying round next week. This friendly against Marseille, therefore, will be the perfect warm-up for Alain Geiger’s men ahead of that crunch clash against the Norwegian outfit.
- Marseille (vs Metz): Mandanda; Gonzalez, Balerdi, Caleta-Car; Gueye, Kamara, Lirola, Amavi; Payet, Milik, Benedetto.
- Servette (vs FC St. Gallen): Kiassumbua*; Diallo, Rouiller, Severin, Clichy; Cespedes, Valls, Cognat; Stevanovic, Schalk, Kyei.
New recruit Matteo Guendouzi is currently nursing a metatarsal fracture and is not expected back until the end of the month for Marseille, while fans will be excited to see summer signings Gerson and Konrad de la Fuente in action. For Servette, goalkeeper Joel Kiassumbua has since left the club from their final match of last season against St. Gallen.
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Player to watch: Gerson (Marseille)
New signing Gerson was given a run out in the club’s friendly against third tier Sete 34 at the weekend, with Sampaoli’s men triumphing 2-1 in the kick about. The 24-year-old could prove one of the signings of the summer across Europe if he can translate his Flamengo form to Ligue 1. An indispensable cog in Jorge Jesus’ 2019 Copa Libertadores-winning Flamengo, Gerson was the vital artery of the Rio de Janeiro club, the very heartbeat of their midfield, offering a competent synthesis of technical verve and a high-octane energy. Those traits will serve him well in the hustle and bustle of European football, having previously failed to pull up any trees during a short spell at Roma between 2016 and 2019, despite a relatively fruitful loan spell at Fiorentina. The Brazilian will no doubt harbour ambitions of returning back across the Atlantic and proving his worth on the continent he upped sticks from two years ago.