Brighton vs Marseille prediction, odds, betting tips and best bets for Europa League group-stage match

Three-time UEFA Europa League runners-up Marseille meet Brighton & Hove Albion in a decider for top spot as part of the final round of games in Group B on Thursday.

The visitors to the Amex Stadium need a draw to finish first and secure an automatic place in the round of 16. Victory for the Premier League club would allow them to leapfrog their opponents, with whoever finishes top having the luxury of skipping a two-legged playoff in February to reach the knockout stage.

With both clubs already facing busy schedules, Seagulls manager Roberto De Zerbi and counterpart Gennaro Gattuso will be keen to avoid two extra fixtures in two months’ time.

MORE: When are the Euro 2024 playoffs?

Brighton have emphatically found their feet in the competition since losing their first ever European game at home to AEK Athens, recovering from 2-0 behind to draw 2-2 at Marseille in their subsequent match and winning all three of their Europa League fixtures since then, beating Ajax twice and gaining revenge over AEK on November 30.

OM have also been on a three-match winning run, beating AEK twice and winning a thriller 4-3 at home to Ajax last time out, when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 93rd-minute penalty put them top of the group and made their task easier for the finale.

Marseille are aiming to improve their record at English teams. Their only win in their 14 European games in England was a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in October 2007, and they have lost their last three — at Arsenal in 2013, Manchester City in 2020 and Tottenham in 2022 — without scoring. They have, however, drawn four of those games, and repeating that result would be enough this time.

Brighton vs Marseille match facts

  • Date: Thursday, December 14, 2023
  • Kickoff Time: 8 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET)
  • Location: Amex Stadium (Brighton, England)
  • Last meeting: Marseille 2-2 Brighton (October 5, 2023)

Brighton vs Marseille prediction, odds

  • Full-time result: Draw (+350)
  • Score prediction: Marseille 2-2 Brighton (+1000)

Brighton are comfortably odds-on to beat opponents who have been in mixed form since former Valencia, Napoli and AC Milan boss Gattuso was appointed on September 28, his first home match in charge coming in the form of that entertaining draw when these teams first met.

OM scored twice in two minutes to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes as Brighton initially looked overwhelmed by the reliably intimidating Stade Velodrome atmosphere, leading De Zerbi to conclude afterwards that they were still adapting to the competition and had not played at more than 30% of their potential.

Marseille’s struggle to beat an underwhelming Ajax side who were reduced to 10 men for more than 30 minutes does not bode well for their chances of containing hosts who have been far more impressive in the group, and they may need a markedly improved performance to earn at least a point.

The good news for Marseille is that their injury situation is far kinder than Brighton’s long list of absentees, who include on-loan Ansu Fati — a prolific presence in their European campaign — all-action full-back Pervis Estupinan, seasoned striker Danny Welbeck and flamboyant forward Julio Enciso.

Marseille are on a three-match winning run in Ligue 1 and have already matched their best ever goals haul in a European group stage, with the 14 they have scored in five matches only matched by their 1992/93 Champions League season, when they won the most prestigious competition on the continent.

Expect more goals here. Brighton’s run of three Europa League games without conceding is uncharacteristic for a team who are always a strong bet in the both teams to score market, and the teams they have faced have accumulated an expected goals (xG) total of 2.5 in those matches.

  BHA
win
Draw OM
win
Both teams
to score Y / N
Over / Under
2.5 goals
DraftKings -155 +350 +360 -180, +140 -200, +150

Brighton vs Marseille best bet

  • Pick: Lewis Dunk anytime scorer
  • Odds: +900 (DraftKings)

Brighton’s backline should have produced more goals than it has this season within a system that frequently allows every player to venture forward, but fullback Jack Hinshelwood’s headed winner against Brentford in the Premier League last Wednesday was a rare example of a defender scoring for Albion.

Lewis Dunk is excellent in the air, has been known to test goalkeepers from freekicks and had a splendid first-time strike contentiously ruled out for offside in the draw at Everton in November, so it is surprising that the captain is longer odds to score than the likes of fellow centre-back Jan Paul van Hecke, veteran James Milner and newcomer Hinshelwood.

Typically, Dunk had the most final third entries of any Brighton player in their 1-1 home draw with Burnley on Saturday, and he was also one of four players to have at least three touches in the opposition box when they edged past AEK Athens 1-0 on Matchday 5.

It is worth keeping an eye on team news because Dunk was withdrawn shortly before the end against the Clarets as a precaution. For an alternative option, Simon Adingra is +650 to score the first or last goal or +210 to score anytime (DraftKings), which is not bad considering he has four in the Premier League and one in the Europa League this season.

Although his xG total was negligible, no Brighton player bettered livewire Adingra’s five touches inside the penalty area and two shots at AEK.

The only player to exceed Adingra’s xG of 0.57 in their first match against Marseille was Joao Pedro, who scored a late penalty. No attacking player had more shots or efforts from inside the box than Adingra on that occasion, and only Kaoru Mitoma had more touches inside the Marseille penalty area.

Manager Roberto De Zerbi’s team selections are consistently unpredictable but Adingra has been ever-present in Brighton’s last three Europa League games. The 21-year-old has risen impressively to the challenge of helping De Zerbi cope with his succession of injury absentees.

Kaoru Mitoma odds: Back Japan star to score anytime

It feels like a matter of time before Mitoma ends his ongoing wait of more than two months for a goal involvement in the Europa League, and he is likely to start after recovering from a recent injury absence which has hindered his usual status as a near-certainty in Brighton’s starting lineups

Mitoma had a quiet game by his standards during his 68 minutes on the pitch at AEK, but that was of a piece with a Brighton performance that was more contained than usual, spending most of their time holding off and meeting the physical test posed by opponents desperate to stay in touch with the qualification places.

In hindsight, it was inevitable that the all-action Japan winger would need a break at some point during Brighton’s gruelling schedule. The man who scored 10 times and set up eight goals in 2022/23 has still averaged almost a goal involvement every other game in the Premier League and Europa League this season.

MORE: Kaoru Mitoma can break the mould for Japanese football

The 26-year-old may feel he has unfinished business against Marseille. In France, Mitoma’s unfortunate slip allowed Marseille to begin the move that led to the opening goal as part of an error-strewn early period from a set of players relatively inexperienced at European level.

He recovered from that early setback to set up Pascal Gross’ goal, putting Brighton on their way to a point which looks retrospectively vital as part of a group-stage campaign in which Mitoma has played for all but 25 minutes.

It is again worth keeping up to speed with team news from De Zerbi after Mitoma only came on as a halftime substitute in the game against Burnley, setting up Adingra’s equaliser.

He has every chance of opening his Europa League account against opponents whose xG was half of Brighton’s 2.62 total in their first encounter. Should he not start, odds of +600 for him to score last may appeal more (DraftKings).

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