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Back Bielsa’s bulldozing boys to better St-Etienne as well

After drawing and losing their opening two Ligue 1 games of the season under new uniquely brilliant boss Marcelo Bielsa, Marseille won their next five and now find themselves top of the table, with a game in hand.

L’OM (odds-on favourites for victory at 8/11), though, now face arguably their toughest test so far this term against Massif Central side St-Etienne, who sit just two points behind in sixth place.

The Greens can propel themselves to the summit of the league with their third away victory (3/1) of the campaign, if Bordeaux don’t claim maximum points in their earlier game against Rennes.

Marseille go into this battle having won eight out of the last nine Ligue 1 home games against St-Etienne, however, and their form suggests that they can increase their lead at the top. In those last five victories, Bielsa’s boys have amassed an impressive 16 goals, conceding just one, and they are 2/1 to beat their next opponents to nil as well, and 11/8 top just get a clean sheet.

Half of these two side’s last six meetings have ended in draws, though, so take enticing odds of 12/5 if you fancy that outcome once more.

El Loco (the madman), as Bielsa is fondly nicknamed, has managed to inspire his side to scoring three or more times this term in five of their opening seven league games, including in each of their last four fixtures. Marseille are 10/3 chances to get three goals or better again.

They can largely thank French forward Andre-Pierre Gignac for those high scorelines. The 17-capped striker has relished playing at the top of Bielsa’s famous 3-3-3-1 formation, and has netted eight from seven Ligue 1 appearances. Gignac is 4/1 to be on target first, and 5/1 to bag a brace or better.

Andre Ayew (who got the sole goal in a 1-0 victory over St-Etienne in 2012), Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin have all scored twice this term for L’OM. They are 7/4, 15/8 and 15/8 respectively to net again anytime.

For the away team, meanwhile, they were hoping to look to their Ligue 1 leading marksman this season Ola Toivonen, but the Swede is unavailable. Instead, they can turn to Norwich City flop Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who got his second goal in two seasons last time out against Bordeaux. The Dutch striker is 7/4 to double his tally for the term.