Brighton host in-form French guests Marseille as they battle at the Amex Stadium for a hassle-free passage to the last 16 of the Europa League.
Although both teams have qualified for the Europa League playoffs, a win for either side here will mean they bypass the round of 32 and effectively save themselves the time and travel of two matches.
In a world where managers, players, and pundits alike are more frequently criticising the relentless football schedule, it will pay to not have the inconvenience of extra European fixtures in February.
A draw for the home side won’t be enough though. Currently sitting one point behind Marseille, a three-pointer will be the only way to seal the top spot in the group.
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Brighton v Marseille
UEFA Europa League League Group Stage
20:00 TNT Sports 1
(Maximum 10 matches)
OCT 2023 EUROPA LEAGUE Marseille 2-2 Brighton
Brighton’s European campaign this year has surely satisfied Seagull ultras. A 2-0 double over Ajax and a win in Athens means they have solidified themselves as a consistent yardstick in the Europa League despite Tony Bloom’s understandable min-maxing approach to transfers and finance.
With the benefit of an extra day of rest over the opposition tonight and keen interest in responding to Saturday’s disappointing home draw with relegation-battling Burnley, I’m expecting a reasonably strong lineup.
They currently sit 8th in the Premier League, seven points off a spot in the Top 4 which won’t be necessary if they go the full distance in Europe this season, although Liverpool will have something to say about that.
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Marseille resides in 6th position in Ligue One, 13 points off hot favourites PSG.
Manager Gennaro Gattuso arrives in the South Coast after four consecutive wins in all competitions and he’ll be keen to see journeyman Aubameyang score for a fifth consecutive match. He’ll be the main attacking option for the away side, provided with service from the likes of once-Villian Jordan Veretout and former Watford star Ismalia Sarr.
Marseille matches have contained a total of 23 goals across 5 games in their group stage operation so far, and there’s no reason why they’ll suddenly display a quiet and tactically sound performance tonight.
In their previous fixture, Brighton had more than double the expected goals (xG) of the home side and fought back in the second half from a two-goal deficit. There were a plethora of opportunities for both sides with a total of nine shots on target and the match also became fiery at the end with six bookings in the final ten minutes so expect drama.
Joint top scorers so far of the Europa League Joao Pedro and Aubameyang will face off and I’m expecting goalscoring fireworks. Combined with the aforementioned statistics of Marseille’s goals record this campaign and capability of Brighton, is why I’m backing Brighton to win and both teams to score with starsports.bet.
BACK Brighton to win and both teams to score 2pts at 19/10 (⭐
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PROFIT/LOSS (DEC 2023): LOSS -7.02 points