Marseille vs Villarreal Predictions

Marseille vs Villarreal predictions ahead of this clash in the Europa League. Marseille face Villarreal in their first-ever competitive match during the Europa League last-16 on Thursday. Read on for all our free predictions and betting tips.


Europa League | Round of 16 | 1st Leg | Mar 7, 2024 at 8pm UK at Stade Velodrome

Marseille vs Villarreal Predictions

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A Strategic Showcase: The Marseille-Villarreal Duel

Key Stats

– Marseille have notched up twelve goals in just three games under Gasset.

– Villarreal have scored eight times in their last two outings, demonstrating their offensive capability.

– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stands as the all-time leading goalscorer in the UEFA Cup/Europa League, with 31 goals.

As Marseille prepares to host Villarreal at the Stade Velodrome in a much-anticipated Europa League last-16 clash, the tactical prowess of Jean-Louis Gasset and Marcelino will be under the spotlight. Both teams, boasting a rich blend of tactical acumen and on-field talent, promise an enthralling encounter, with the first leg potentially setting the tone for the remainder of the tie.

Tactical Dynamics and Key Battles

Under Gasset, Marseille have undergone a resurgence, adopting an aggressive, forward-thinking approach that has seen them amass twelve goals in just three outings. This newfound vigour places emphasis on the midfield dynamism and the attacking prowess of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose goal-scoring record speaks volumes. The likely midfield battle between Marseille’s creativity, spearheaded by Amine Harit, and Villarreal’s resilience, orchestrated by Dani Parejo, could well dictate the flow and tempo of the game.


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Villarreal’s strategy under Marcelino has also evolved, leaning towards a balanced setup that prioritises defensive solidity coupled with rapid transitions to attack. The Yellow Submarine’s capability to exploit spaces and their recent high-scoring games indicate a team that, despite their league struggles, cannot be underestimated on the European stage.

Areas for Improvement and Tactical Adjustments

Marseille’s defensive vulnerabilities, highlighted by their Europa League journey where they’ve consistently conceded, suggest a need for tighter defensive coordination and perhaps a more cautious approach when out of possession. Gasset’s side would benefit from reinforcing their backline, particularly against a Villarreal team capable of punishing any defensive lapses.

Conversely, Villarreal’s underwhelming league performance underscores a need for consistency. Marcelino’s men have demonstrated their scoring ability but must find a balance that doesn’t compromise their defensive duties. Enhanced focus on maintaining possession and exploiting Marseille’s occasional defensive disorganisation could be key.

Managerial Duel: Gasset vs Marcelino

Gasset’s impact at Marseille has been profound, instilling confidence and a winning mentality. However, his tactical flexibility will be tested against a seasoned campaigner in Marcelino, whose European pedigree with Villarreal is notable. This managerial duel, pitting Gasset’s attacking philosophy against Marcelino’s tactical discipline, promises to be as intriguing as the action on the pitch.

Criticism, however, falls on Marcelino’s shoulders for Villarreal’s domestic inconsistency. While his European success is commendable, translating this form into league performances remains a challenge. His ability to guide Villarreal through the Europa League, amidst a lacklustre domestic campaign, will be under scrutiny.

Expected Lineups and Key Players

Marseille’s Expected Lineup: Pau Lopez; Mbemba, Meite, Balerdi; Clauss, Harit, Kondogbia, Ounahi, Merlin; Moumbagna, Aubameyang.

Villarreal’s Expected Lineup: Reina; Kiko Femenia, Mosquera, Jorge Cuenca, Alberto Moreno; Akhomach, Parejo, Capoue, Baena; Sorloth, Gerard Moreno.

Marseille’s setup, bolstered by Aubameyang’s striking instincts and Harit’s playmaking skills, suggests a team ready to exploit any defensive frailties. Villarreal, meanwhile, will rely on Gerard Moreno’s precision in front of goal and Parejo’s midfield mastery to orchestrate their attacking plays.

Predictions and Rationales

1. Match Outcome: Both Teams to Score

Given both teams’ recent form, with Marseille’s offensive resurgence under Gasset and Villarreal’s knack for finding the back of the net, a Both Teams to Score scenario seems highly plausible. Marseille, despite their scoring prowess, have shown defensive vulnerabilities, while Villarreal’s attacking flair, coupled with occasional defensive lapses, suggests that both teams are capable of scoring.

2. Correct Score Prediction: Marseille 2-1 Villarreal

A 2-1 victory for Marseille takes into account their formidable form under Gasset and their impressive goal tally in recent matches. Villarreal’s attacking threat, particularly from players like Gerard Moreno, acknowledges their ability to score. However, Marseille’s home advantage and current momentum hint at a narrow victory.

3. Goalscorer Prediction: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Score Anytime

Aubameyang, with his record-breaking Europa League tally, is a prime candidate to score. His recent form and crucial role in Marseille’s attacking setup, combined with Villarreal’s defensive challenges, make him the likeliest to find the net.

4. First Half Result: Draw

Considering both teams’ tendency to start cautiously in high-stakes European fixtures, a level scoreline at half-time is anticipated. Marseille’s and Villarreal’s strategic approaches, focusing on not conceding early while probing for openings, support a tentative opening half.

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John Pentin
Born and raised in London, John has always been in love with sport. He started successfully his own blog back in 2006, while writing for football in several newspaper. John has also worked with several betting operators as sports trader and has joined since the start in 2013. John is now head of the content team at