Toulouse FC – Olympique de Marseille
– Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
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Marseille make the short journey west to Toulouse as Paris Saint-Germain’s closest pursuers this season, sitting five points off the champions’ Ligue 1 Uber Eats-setting pace.
But for a wobble against OGC Nice in Round 22, Marseille are unbeaten in the league since a 1-0 reverse against RC Lens in October.
Alexis took his season tally to nine with a brace in last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Clermont Foot 63, and has now scored four goals in his last five games in all competitions – which included the opener as OM dumped PSG out of the Coupe de France last Wednesday.
The former Arsenal, Manchester United and Inter Milan man is proving a popular figure at the Orange Vélodrome and Igor Tudor and Co. are understood to be keen to extend the Chilean’s contract beyond the end of the season.
Watch: Highlights of Marseille’s 2-0 win over Clermont
While Alexis has replaced Dimitri Payet’s leadership role in the final third to some extent, Valentin Rongier has been leading the team out with increasing frequency in recent weeks with the club captain starting more games from the bench than from the off this season.
“I still have a lot to learn but I’m immensely proud to wear the Marseille armband,” Rongier told beIN SPORTS. “I try to do what’s asked of me as best I can. I’m not the type to ignite others but the coach trusts me.
“But we have 11 captains on the field and we all try to push each other. If someone has something to say to me, I listen to it as I always have done in my career. I may have the armband but I’m still the same guy!”
A case for the defence
Igor Tudor has some defensive reshuffling to do with Samuel Gigot and Nuno Tavares missing with ankle and thigh injuries respectively. Rongier played in a back three against PSG and it remains to be seen if that was a one-off experiment. Amine Harit is out for the foreseeable with a sprained cruciate ligament.
Marseille thrashed Toulouse 6-1 when the teams met in December, but Philippe Montanier’s side have turned a corner since then, winning eight of their 10 games since the turn of the year, only losing to PSG at the start of the month.
Watch: Highlights of Toulouse’s 3-1 win over Rennes
Stade Rennais FC were swept aside 3-1 last Sunday, and only the offside flag and the
Rennes woodwork kept the score down to that.
Van den Boomen back?
“We’re creating a lot of chances at the moment,” said Tudor’s opposite number. “The players are progressing and gaining experience of playing in this league. The table’s frustrating, though. I feel like we’re stuck in 12th and it’ll take 10 years to play in the Champions League!
“Playing without Branco [van den Boomen] has been an important challenge because he’s our playmaker, but we showed that every player in the squad has a role to play, regardless of their status.”
Van den Boomen could return after a muscular strain kept him out of the Rennes game, while Oliver Zanden is available again after suspension. A ruptured cruciate ligament means English striker Rhys Healy will have to wait until next season to make his Ligue 1 Uber Eats debut.
Toulouse: Dupé; Desler, Rouault, Nicolaisen, Suazo; Dejaegere, Spierings, Van den Boomen; Aboukhlal, Dallinga, Chaïbi
Marseille: Lopez; Mbemba, Balerdi, Kolasinac; Under, Rongier, Veretout, Clauss; Guendouzi, Malinovskiyi; Alexis