Week 10 brings around the game between Toulouse FC and Olympique de Marseille. Both teams start the game with no new injury concerns after the international break and will look to make an immediate impact with positive results that could dictate the rest of their respective seasons.
Toulouse, have made an impressive start and sit in fourth place on goal difference, and aim to continue with this form that could see them challenge for a place in the Europa League competition at the end of this season. Marseille on the other hand would undoubtedly like to forget about results from fixtures from before the international break, having picked up only one win, a 2-0 victory against newly promoted Evian TG, and currently sit in thirteenth place on 8 points, 9 points behind Toulouse.
This season’s form guide will not make the best of reading for OM fans with Toulouse having won 3 of their last 5 games and having lost only once at home this season, a 3-1 reverse against table topping PSG. If we bend the statistics to sound a little more positive, however, we can say that Marseille have only lost once in their last 6 games in all competitions picking up 3 wins (Olympiakos, Evian TG and Dortmund) and 2 draws (Valenciannes and Brest), they have also not lost in their last 5 visits to the Stade Municipal and won 1-0 in the last visit, so it’s not all doom and gloom for Marseille.
Having met with the clubs owners during the week to discuss the poor start to the season, Didier Deschamps will look for an immediate response from his players and although there are no new injury concerns with all of Marseilles international stars returning unscathed, previous indiscipline demonstrated by the players sees DD having to make changes to an already unsettled squad. Right back Azpilicueta, Alou Diarra and Ligue 1’s top assister Mathieu Valbuena are all suspended for this game. This should allow the fit again Benoit Cheyrou to take Valbuena’s place, like the substitution Deschamps made late on against Stade Brest when searching for a win. Deschamps may wish to adopt more of a 442 formation against Toulouse with the midfield 4 adopting in more of a diamond shape, this would allow Kabore to act as the holding midfielder protecting the two centre backs, and would free up Lucho Gonzalez to support the strikers (Mandanda – Fanni, DIawarra, NKoulou, Morel – Cheyrou, Kabore, Gonzalez, A. Ayew – Remy, Gignac). This should allow Lucho to create space for himself and the strikers and control the game in a much more formidable manner than the performance that saw him substituted against SB29, and given a rating of ‘2’ from L’Equipe. I have included the fit again Andre-Pierre Gignac in my starting eleven as this could be a game that Gignac could shine in. Yes the atmosphere could be hostile from the Toulouse fans towards a former player, however, if ever a player is going to perform it often comes against a former club. Playing Gignac from the start gives OM a target man to hit if Remy drops out wide looking for the ball, as he frequently does, and also gives him some playing time and a chance to settle on the ball, something that would not be granted if he returns as a substitute in the last 20 minutes or so. Chances are however, that Deschamps may well start with J. Ayew given that he hasn’t always shown too much faith in Gignac, which would provide Marseille with extra pace up front.
Toulouse will go into this game looking to bounce back from their shock 3-0 defeat to Sochaux in week 9, only their second defeat and the first time that they had failed to score in a game this season. Marseille’s already frail defence will have to improve their standard of performance against a team that have shown that they can score goals from anywhere this season. Alain Casanova is blessed with the knowledge that although only 3 of his team’s 12 goals this season have come from his strikers, his midfield line-up of Machado, Tabanou and Capoue have contributed another 7 to that tally. Goals in weeks 6, 7 and 8 have come from set-pieces, counter attacks and smart finishing from breaks down either flank.
Much of the result of this game will be dependent on how OM decide to play. If they continue with their early season form, this should be a routine win for TFC, perhaps winning by one goal. However, should Marseille begin playing to their full potential this could be one of the more entertaining games of the weekend. I’m sure OM’s defensive problems will allow TFC to score at least 1 goal, although TFC are also guilty of conceding goals late on in games, having let in 4 goals in the final 10 minutes in 2 games this season, we can only hope that this becomes a habit that is repeated on Saturday night. My prediction is a hopeful 3-2 victory for OM.
Swanny (@OMarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)