Marseille vs Benfica Prediction: Aubameyang can inspire OM to opening goal

 | 16th April | 

4 mins read

After starting the Jean-Louis Gasset era with five consecutive victories, Olympique Marseille's fortunes have completely reversed and they now arrive into the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final with S.L. Benfica on Thursday (live on TNT Sports 5 - KO, 20:00) on the back of five-straight defeats.

One of those was in Lisbon last week, where Rafa Silva and Angel Di Maria fired the Portuguese giants into a 2-0 lead before a late consolation from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Read our Marseille vs Benfica prediction below as the hosts seek to escape their recent rut and fire themselves into the final four of the competition at the Stade Velodrome.

Marseille vs Benfica Betting Tips

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score first @ 7/2
  • Over 52.5 booking points @ 5/4

Team News

Marseille's injury list includes Jonathan Clauss, Pedro Ruiz, Valentin Rongier and Jean Onana, leaving Gasset with few options as evidenced in the fact he named only eight substitutes - rather than 11 - in the reverse fixture.

Former Sheffield United forward Iliman Ndiaye was restricted to a substitute appearance in the first leg but could be promoted to the starting XI if Gasset is looking for more ingenuity up front.

The hosts were given the weekend off to focus on their efforts in Europe, which should mean their players are well-rested ahead of Thursday's tie.

Benfica appear to have a fully-fit squad and can welcome Nicolas Otamendi and Fredrik Aursnes back into the fold after the defensive duo were suspended for Sunday's 3-0 win over Moreirense in the Primeira Liga.

Match Odds

Marseille have been installed as slight favourites on Thursday, with odds of 7/5 for them to win inside 90 minutes giving the French side an implied win probability of 41.7%. Benfica are offered slightly higher odds of 7/4, giving them an implied win probability of 36.4%.

The draw (90 mins) can be backed at 13/5 and it's 8/13 for both teams to score again. Over 2.5 goals can be found at 8/11 and it's 15/2 for OM to reverse last week's 2-1 scoreline in their favour.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score first @ 7/2

The importance of Aubameyang to this Marseille side simply cannot be understated. The former Arsenal forward has scored 25 goals in all competitions this season and 10 of them have come in the Europa League, a competition which he is now the all-time top scorer in.

He's played an integral role all season, but OM have been relying on him more than ever recently. Aubameyang has scored six of his club's last nine goals, with one of the other three an own goal and another struck by Clauss, who will be absent on Thursday.

The 34-year-old found the net against Benfica last week, and I'm backing him to repeat that feat in France. What's more, I think he can strike first to level up the tie on aggregate.

Aubameyang has scored the first goal of the game on six occasions this term, the latest of which came in a 2-0 win over Nantes on March 10.

Marseille are very strong at the Velodrome with only runaway Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain managing to beat them on their own patch all season.

Benfica, meanwhile, have gone behind in three of their last five away games, and five of their last nine.

Over 52.5 booking points @ 5/4

Last week's first leg saw just a single yellow card - incurring 10 booking points - produced by the referee, but it wasn't a completely friendly affair with 18 fouls conceded - 10 by Benfica and eight by Marseille.

I expect the second leg to be very different with so much at stake for both sides.

There were 80 booking points in the second leg of Marseille's Europa League play-off tie with Villarreal in Spain last month, with OM responsible for five of the eight yellow cards given.

Half (3/6) of Benfica's Champions League group games earlier this season saw 60+ booking points awarded, and their Europa League play-off tie with Toulouse saw plenty of cards across the two games.

There were 95 booking points in the first leg and 40 in the return fixture in France, while their last away outing, at Sporting Lisbon on April 6, saw 105.

Check out the rest of our Football Betting Tips here.

Share Article

(Visited 62 times, 1 visits today)