Marseille vs Atalanta: Preview and Prediction

Marseille and Atalanta will face each other for the first time, and the occasion is in France for the UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg.

Marseille fans will want their clubs to bring home a massive piece of silverware in the form of the Europa League trophy, although Atalanta are a major obstacle. The Ligue 1 outfit have struggled this season in many ways, including making three managerial appointments, although their latest recruit, Jean-Louis Gasset, seems to have steadied the ship.

The Ligue 1 giants got to the Europa League semi-finals in tiring circumstances, as they entered the second leg of their quarter-final clash with Benfica on the back of five straight defeats. It took a header from substitute Faris Moumbagna to equalise in that game and take the game to extra time. In the end, Marseille prevailed through the penalty shootout and now find themselves in their biggest game of the season.

They are also boosted after a weekend win over Lens, which was also their first in six Ligue 1 games. Marseille have a rich tradition in European competitions and will aim to reach the final of this season’s Europa League. However, since winning the UEFA Champions League back in 1993, Les Phoceens have lost each of the last three finals they have managed to reach since.

Over to the visiting side, and Atalanta will come into this clash as favourites to take an advantage back to Italy. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side shocked the world with a 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield in their quarter-final first leg. They did lose the return clash, with Cody Gakpo’s solitary goal earning the Reds an away win but only to lose on aggregate.

Gasperini will be confident entering into this clash, particularly looking at Marseille’s form. Since that win over Liverpool at Anfield, Atalanta have stitched a six-game unbeaten run that included victory over Fiorentina to reach the Coppa Italia final, where they will face Juventus.

In the league, they are also eager to catch fourth-placed Bologna with five more games to play, although they look destined to qualify for the Europa League once again. Gasperini hopes for a place in the Champions League next season, which could be achieved by winning the Europa League this time, as they will have to overcome Marseille through two legs.

Team News & Tactics


Jean-Louis Gasset has a lengthy list of injured players, and for the game against Atalanta, he may have to add defender Samuel Gigot to the list, with the centre-back set to miss this class with a one-game suspension.

Marseille are already missing centre-back Chancel Mbemba, while Quentin Merlin and Ismaila Sarr are also sidelined ahead of this crucial stage of their season. Bamo Meite and Valentin Rongier are out for the season, while the others are still in contention for the late run-in.

Gasset will still rely on a few of the competition’s top performers this season, with Amine Harit and Jonathan Clauss the top assist makers. The Europa League’s top scorer this season and of all time, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, will also play a part in this side’s attacking setup, and Marseille will hope the trio will give them a chance to advance.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Lopez; Murillo, Gueye, Balerdi; Clauss, Harit, Veretout, Kondogbia, Garcia; Aubameyang, Moumbagna


Gian Piero Gasperini will once again rely on his key performers from the previous rounds and some recent good results in domestic competition to get an advantage in this first-leg clash. Atalanta will miss Isak Hein through suspension, while Emil Holm and Rafael Toloi are out with injuries.

Gasperini will have Giorgio Scalvini return to the side after recovering from a recent hamstring issue, as he could take Sead Kolasinac’s place in that back three. Marten de Roon and Berat Djimstiti will complete the back three, with Mario Pasalic and Ederson forming the midfield partnership.

On the wide areas, Davide Zappacosta and Matteo Ruggeri will be preferred in the wing-back roles. Ademola Lookman will likely come into the attacking setup, with Teun Koopmeiners and Gianluca Scamacca set to play their remaining roles in the forward line.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Musso; Djimsiti, De Roon, Scalvini; Zappacosta, Pasalic, Ederson, Ruggeri; Lookman, Koopmeiners; Scamacca

Key Stats

  • This is the first time Marseille and Atalanta ever meet in a competitive game.
  • Marseille lost in their last 3 finals of a European competition and even suffered defeat at the semi-final stage of the Conference League two years prior.
  • Marseille have won their last five games at home in UEFA competitions.
  • Atalanta has reached the semis of a European competition only for the second time.
  • Atalanta are on a run of six unbeaten games in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang

Embed from Getty Images

Many have saluted the Gabonese striker for his revival since joining Marseille, and he has shown a tremendous turnaround in his form after three bad years on the trot. This term, Aubameyang has scored 27 times and laid down 11 assists for his teammates in all competitions, and remains the Europa League’s current and all-time scorer.

The former Arsenal captain has ten goals to his name in the competition and will undoubtedly want to improve on that tally, at least in the two semifinal legs with Atalanta. With Marseille missing some key attackers like Ismaila Sarr for this first-leg clash, the manager will view Aubameyang as his leading man in the attack, as the Gabonese will hope to deliver.


Marseille 1-2 Atalanta

Atalanta showed an unusual resolve in the first leg at Anfield with a 3-0 away win, which was a bit surprising considering how leaky their defence usually is. Yet, they have found a newfound resilience at the back and will be boosted by the return of Scalvini, which will undoubtedly make a big difference when taking on Marseille.

Marseille might have a home advantage. But their recent wretched form has other things to say. The home side will have the players to put on a fight, but Atalanta’s overall quality could see them take an advantage back to Bergamo for the return leg.

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