Sports Mole previews Saturday’s pre-season clash between Marseille and Norwich City, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Marseilles to assume norwich city in a pre-season friendly at the Stade Parsemain on Saturday.
The French side are hoping for a strong summer before competing in the Champions League once again this season, while Norwich aim to bounce back from the Premier League at the first attempt.
After finishing a distant fifth in the 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign, things finally looked up again for Marseille having secured a strong runners-up position last season.
However, the former head of Chile jorge sampaoli he decided to leave the club earlier this month, reportedly disappointed by the lack of transfer activity ahead of his return to Champions League football.
Former Juventus defender Igor Tudorwho guided Hellas Verona to a respectable ninth place in Serie A last season, has succeeded the 2015 Copa América winner at Les Olympiens.
On the face of it, investment seems healthy at the club given that they have already spent around £40m this summer. However, only the 19-year-old defender isaak toure truly represents fresh blood, with Matthew Guendouzi, bass, Paul Lopez Y Arkadiusz Milik all turning their successful loan spells from last season into permanent deals.
Boubacar Kamara Y steve boss both left the club on free transfers, meaning more income will surely be required if Marseille is to close the gap with Paris Saint-Germain and compete for the Ligue 1 title.
In reality, however, simply cementing a Champions League qualifying position would be far from a disaster in Tudor’s first season in charge.
Two upcoming friendlies against Norwich and Middlesbrough, potential Championship contenders, should provide an early indication of the southern French side’s current form, before they face even tougher tests against Real Betis and AC Milan before of his campaign in Ligue 1. against Reims on August 7.
One can only imagine what Sampaoli would have done with Norwich’s transfer window had he been in dean smithCarrow Road shoes.
The only Canarian incorporation so far this summer has been the incorporation of the Newcastle United midfielder Isaac Hayden on a season-long loan, with the 27-year-old potentially offering fighting qualities that were largely absent on the pitch last season, culminating in another meek relegation from the Premier League.
However, Norwich have been in exactly this position many times in recent years. Indeed, from their previous three relegations since the 2013-14 campaign, the East Anglian side twice recovered to the English top flight at the first attempt, and on the other occasion rose in their third championship season.
There is no doubt that Smith has the quality and experience at his disposal to navigate an equally successful season this time around. Todd Cantwell Y Onel Hernandezwho were part of the old boss Daniel FarkeBoth campaigns in which he won the championship they returned from loan spells at Bournemouth and Middlesbrough respectively and have already made a notable impression in pre-season.
A strong financial base has also allowed Norwich to turn down offers for their talismanic striker. Teemu Pukkywho is a championship-level guaranteed goal machine even at 32, while there is hope for players like Milot Rashika, Joshua Sargent Y Christos Tzolis improve after the difficult first seasons in England.
Saturday’s trip to France should provide the ultimate challenge ahead of domestic friendlies against Cambridge United, Celtic and Hibernian, but all indications are that Norwich will be ready to go when they take on Cardiff City in their first Championship match on 30 July.
Marseille pre-season form:
Norwich City pre-season form:
Bamba Dieng will wait for approval before Cedric Bakambu in attack after scoring a superb second-half hat-trick in a 4-1 friendly win against Marignane Gignac on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old, who scored seven league goals last season, looked like a real wire after entering the fray, and Under particularly enjoyed passing balls from behind for the speedy striker to latch onto.
leonardo balerdi is likely to miss most of pre-season due to the shoulder injury he suffered in March, which means Tudor’s compatriot Duje Caleta-Car should associate luan peres and new signing Touré in a three-man defence.
Meanwhile, Norwich were dealt a major blow when new signing Hayden was forced to undergo a “minor operation” on the knee injury that has kept him out of action since December 2021.
Smith admitted he doesn’t expect to see the midfielder back in action “before the first part of the season” after his first week of training caused swelling in the area.
Republic of Ireland striker adam idah He is also unlikely to feature before the start of the new season due to a serious knee injury he sustained in February earlier this year.
Smith could opt to name the same XI that dispatched local King’s Lynn out of the league 2-0 in a friendly on Tuesday, with Pukki and Tzolis on the scoresheet at The Walks.
Possible Marseille starting line-up:
Lopez; Touré, Caleta-Car, Peres; Rongier, Guendouzi, Gueye, Kolasinac; Payet, Bass; dieng
Possible Norwich City starting line-up:
krul; Aarons, Omobamidele, Hanley, Giannoulis; Sorensen, McLean; Hernandez, Sinani, Tzolis; Pukki
We say: Marseille 2-1 Norwich City
We expect to see a close affair in France on Saturday, with Norwich buoyed by being a little further along in terms of their pre-season preparations.
However, Marseille’s superior quality should prove revealing in the end, with Tudor able to call on a variety of options from the bench should the game go against his side at any stage in the process.
For data analysis of the most probable results, scores and more for this match, click here.