Possession: Caen 47%53 Marseille
Yellow Cards: Caen 2-2 Marseille
Corners: Caen 9-9 Marseille
Fouls: Caen 23-8 Marseille
Free kicks: Caen 8-28 Marseille
Shots on target: Caen 1-8 Marseille
Marseille made it two wins from two in their Friday evening game away at Caen. Having gained the plaudits last weekend after their convincing win against PSG, many wondered if OM could repeat the form and result against slightly less glamorous opposition. OM lined up in more of a 4-2-3-1 formation (much debated through this season against a 4-3-3 or 4-4-2) with: Mandanda – Traore, Diawarra, NKoulou, Azpilicueta – Diarra, Mbia – Ayew, Lucho, Amalfitano – jAyew.
Marseille broke the deadlock on 21 minutes with an Ayew goal, his 6th of the season. However, Marseille’s lead lasted all of 2 minutes as Caen swept up-field from the restart, gained a penalty and Frau netted for his 4th of the season. For the remainder of the first half both teams struggled to break each-other down and the game reached half time with little else to comment on.
The second half began quickly with both teams counter attacking. This worked well for Marseille as Jordan Ayew scored in the 52nd minute from just such an attack. Marseille gave away another needless corner, one of 9 given away on the night, Ayew broke upfield, and midway into the Caen half played the ball out right to Diawara, who had done well to keep himself onside. Diawara immediately centered the ball for jAyew to latch onto an net for his 2nd of the season (only the second time the Ayew brothers have scored in the same match (thanks to @optajean).
Both teams made their full allocation of substitution’s none of which particularly changed the game, although the introduction of Valbuena for the pitiful Lucho, helped close the OM midfield a little and stifle some of Caen’s midfield possession. Andrew-Pierre Gignac came full circle this week, having started life on Monday as part of the reserve squad, he was introduced as a 77th minute sub (although it remains to be seen how lenient Deschamps would have been with APG had Loic Remy not injured himself during the PSG game). Unfortunately Gignac struggled to find his touch, as often happens when he is introduced so late on, and he left the field before the end of the game having succumbed to an ankle knock (although he was also nursing his hamstring too by the looks of things).
The majority of the second half saw Marseille riskily sit deep and try to play on the counter attack, soaking up pressure and using the pace of the Ayew brothers and Azpi to run at the Caen defence. Although this tactic was quite effective, and OM created as number of chances from this, they were often left open in defence and must be thankful that Caen’s wide-men and forwards were not as clinical as they could and should have been. Caen did impress me with their attitude and the fact that they continued to press OM in search of an equaliser, and should they find their crossing and shooting boots in future matches, they should fair pretty well against the teams in the bottom half of Ligue 1. As for OM, they will hope to welcome back Remy for week 17 and should intend to make it three wins from three as they face Girondins de Bordeaux at the Stade Velodrome next week.
Swanny (@OMarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)