Draws leave Marseille under pressure

PARIS - Two straight 2-2 draws have left Olympique Marseille coach Didier Deschamps pulling his hair out and his locks could get greyer or thinner still when last term's French runners-up host in-form Saint-Etienne this Sunday.

His midfield has been hit by Edouard Cisse having his contract terminated amid media speculation of a move to Auxerre while Lucho Gonzalez is being linked with Arsenal.

Their early season form has been utterly eclectic, brilliant at times but awful at others, as both Sochaux and Auxerre secured unexpected points.

Saint-Etienne, who could have struggled having let top player Dimitri Payet join champions Lille, have by contrast found a strong backbone which has helped Les Verts join Toulouse, Montpellier and Caen on a maximum six points from two matches.

"It won't be easy for OM on Sunday because Saint-Etienne are coming as leaders and will play without any fear. It's more tricky for Marseille because they are under pressure to get a win," former France and Marseille defender turned pundit Manuel Amoros was quoted as saying on www.om.net.

The 2010 champions have at least been boosted by striker Andre-Pierre Gignac's return to full training after injury and the knowledge that other Ligue 1 big guns Lille, Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyon have also had shaky starts to the season.

Speculation linking Qatari-backed PSG with former Chelsea and AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti continues to bubble away in the media after Antoine Kombouare led the nouveau riche side to a loss and a draw so far.

Record PSG and French signing Javier Pastore could make his league debut at home to Valenciennes on Sunday.

Lille travel to surprise strong starters Caen on Saturday and Lyon are also away at Stade Brest having beaten Rubin Kazan 3-1 in their Champions League play-off first leg at the Stade Gerland on Tuesday.