Up next for AS Monaco following their frustrating 2-1 loss to Lille OSC last weekend is Olympique de Marseille.

While Andre Villas-Boas’ team severely underperformed in Europe on their way to finishing bottom of their Champions League group, their domestic form has been exceptional. Having won five in a row and unbeaten in eight, Marseille currently occupy fourth on the table, one spot above Monaco. The fact they’re only four points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and have two games in hand shows how brilliantly they’re going in Ligue 1 action.

Possessing some super attacking weapons like Dimitri Payet, Florian Thauvin, Michael Cuisance, Dario Benedetto and Valere Germain, Monaco’s backline and keeper Vito Mannone will need to be on top of their game to nullify Marseille’s multifaceted frontline. In terms of their midfield, Marseille have found great balance with Boubacar Kamara, Valentin Rongier and Morgan Sanson, who offer energy, running power and sound technical skills.

Defensively, Steve Mandanda’s experience is crucial in goal, as ahead of him players such as Duje Caleta-Car, Jordan Amavi (expected to miss), Hiroki Sakai, Alvaro Gonzalez and Leonardo Balerdi have also been integral towards Marseille having the joint best defensive record in Ligue 1.

Conceding only nine goals so far, Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland will need to be firing to breach their adversaries’ rearguard. With Cesc Fabregas, Gelson Martins, Sofiane Diop and Pietro Pellegri, who scored a lovely goal last weekend, Les Monegasques certainly have some extra weaponry that amplifies their threat.

Desperate to get back on the winners list themselves after their outstanding four game winning run was ended by Lille, Niko Kovac believes his team is up for the challenge. “I’m not going to tell you that I’m going to Marseille to play for a draw. We want to win this match. They did play on Wednesday, but hopefully we will finally be able to play as well away as at home,” he stated.

With Kovac set to name an unchanged lineup for the clash, it’s all to play for at the Orange Velodrome between two of Ligue 1’s premier outfits on Saturday, with the winner set to solidify their position in the Champions League qualification race.