Date: Sunday, September 1
Time: 8:00pm BST/3:00pm EDT
Stream: BT Sport 1 (UK)
Television: Univision Deportes and repeats at 5:15pm on beIN Sport
The top-of-the-table clash pits Marseille, currently on top of La Championnat with nine points, against Monaco, who are second with seven.
The teams from Southern France are in stark contrast with each other. Promoted to Ligue 1 this season, moneyed Monaco have radically overhauled their squad in recent months, while Marseille have had to make do with a much smaller transfer budget.
Owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, Monaco spent more than £140 million on notable names such James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho from FC Porto, Geoffrey Kondogbia from Sevilla (as reported on Friday at FIFA.com) and Atletico Madrid's £52 million man, Radamel Falcao.
Marseille's budget is a little more limited. Les Phoceens brought in five players over the summer, with expenditure totaling a comparatively modest £22.8 million.
Financially the two clubs may be worlds apart but on the pitch, there are some similarities to note.
Each team have been strong going forward, with six goals apiece so far. Tight at the back, defensively the two sides look good, each conceding one goal. In chances created, they are almost on a par, with Marseille creating 32 chances to Monaco's 30.
Both have had a strong start to their Ligue 1 season, where they are currently stealing the spotlight away from another moneyed club—title holders Paris Saint-Germain.
Marseille are the only club with maximum points from their first three games. Elie Baup's team won 3-1 at Guingamp, 2-0 at home to Evian and 1-0 away to Valenciennes.
Star player Andre-Pierre Gignac has scored three in three and has just been called up by Didier Deschamps for France's World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Belarus.
Dimitri Payet, bought over the summer from Lille, has also scored three goals for Marseille. As last season's top assist-maker in Ligue 1, Mathieu Valbuena will also be key for the home side.
Monaco dropped points for the first time last weekend in a behind-closed-doors fixture against Toulouse, where the game was tied 0-0.
Coached by Claudio Ranieri, Monaco are all about attacking football. They have won two and drawn one, beating Bordeaux 2-0 away thanks to goals from Emmanuel Riviere and debutant Falcao, and Montpellier 4-1 at home.
Riviere is currently Ligue 1's top scorer with four goals, though Falcao will be the one to watch for the visitors. The Colombian has already scored two for his new club and is linking up with former Porto teammates Rodriguez and Moutinho.
The trio won the Europa League, Portuguese Liga and Portuguese Cup together in 2010/11 under then-coach Andre Villas-Boas and should make for a deadly attacking force again in France.
Ranieri told the club's official website on Friday:
Marseille is a good team, they play in the Champions League, it will be for us a real test. I want to see how my players are against this kind of team. Moutinho should play, we'll see tomorrow how it feels during the last training... I think with Moutinho, Falcao has more balls because they have automation... What matters to me is to play and win as a team. Hopefully this will be the case on Sunday.
The teams last met in Ligue One in the 2010/11 campaign when the spoils were even in a 2-2 and 0-0 draw. The same season, Marseille defeated Monaco 2-1 in the French League Cup.
The hosts have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven home matches in Ligue 1 and have won five of their last six home games.
Monaco may be the favourites for many but it's worth remembering that Baup's well-organized side finished second in Ligue 1 last season.
A Marseille win could see them establishing themselves as genuine title contenders against the riches of Monaco and PSG.
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