Marseille v Valenciennes Match Preview
Time: 21:00 (20:00 UK)
Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Last meeting – 24/09/2011 – Valenciennes 1-1 Marseille (Saez: Diawara)
Marseille home form: P12, W6, D5, L1, F18, A7, Pts 23 (5th)
Valenciennes away form: P12, W1, D2, L9, F8, A20, Pts 5 (18th)
Following postponements and rearranged cup games, Marseille return to Ligue 1 action this weekend on Saturday evening against Valenciennes. Marseille will be looking to remain unbeaten in 2012 and following the disappointing 2-2 draw in the Olympico, should build on their comfortable Coupe de France win mid-week.
When the two sides last met, at the Stade Du Hainaut, Valenciennes scraped together a 1-1 draw thanks to an injury time goal by Saez, OM playing most of the game with 10 men after Fanni was sent off. Back in Week 8, Marseille were just starting to find their form after an abysmal start to the season and on the face of it a draw was not the worst result. Ahead of this game Marseille are now looking at securing a Champions League position, and a should settle for nothing short of a convincing win against a mid-table team with only 1 away win registered all season.
Marseille Team selection –
The joy of making it through to the next round of the Coupe de France unscathed against CFA team, Bourg-Peronnas was somewhat muted as news of Loic Remy’s injury started to filter through after the game. Having injured his hamstring during the first half, it has now been confirmed that Remy will be missing for around 3 weeks, and Deschamps will also have to make do without Mbia and Gignac, both of whom are still not yet match fit.
Due to Remy’s injury Deschamps will most likely make a straight swap of Jordan Ayew for Remy, with jAyew playing slightly off the in-form Brandao. Kabore may look to play a little deeper offering defensive support to NKoulou and Morel, with Valenciennes’ preference for playing down the right (42%) and playing through balls for attackers, as shown in their games against Auxerre and Ajaccio this season. The current form of Amalfitano and Valbuena should be exploited as OM look to get the ball to them at every opportunity. Running at the Valenicennes defence is something that they are known to struggle with, conceding all 4 goals against Bordeaux and Ajaccio from wing-play situations. Direct crosses from Amalfitano and Valbuena will test Brandao’s strength in the air, and any through balls from the wingers will test just how much the ACoN took out of jAyew. Probable Marseille line-up:
Here are the thoughts of Valenciennes expert Mathieu Lefevre , with a more accurate account of the threat that Valenciennes possess.
Valenciennes FC, at present 11th in the ranking, has won three consecutive games, one of which was against Lille in the French Cup. It’s also a team in confidence which will come to the Velodrome without too much pressure because they are now away from relegation. The two strikers of both teams will be absent (Remy and Pujol) but Valenciennes can count on these men on good form, Aboubakar, Danic, Penneteau or the ex-player of Marseille, Mamadou Samassa, the striker who acored in the last minute against Nancy. During the first match, Marseille had for a long time looked like obtaining three points (reduced to 10 men for a big part of the match) in particular thanks to a big game of Mandanda but José Saez had equalized at the end of the match. The coach Daniel Sanchez says that ‘it will be necessary to stay concentrated and motivated all the match, with the spirit of the matches of Cup, to obtain a result.’ Benjamin Angoua, the centre-back of Ivory Coast will be absent too, because he just came back from the Africa Cup of Nations. The duel between the two Brazilians Gil (centre-back) and Brandao will be interesting and maybe the key of the game.
The probable team : Penneteau, Mater, Isimat-Mirin, Gil, Bong, Cohade, Camara, Kadir, Ducourtioux (or Dossevi), Aboubakar (or Samassa), Danic.
(Mathieu can be found on twitter through @matlefevre and is well worth a follow)
Although not one ‘top’ fixtures in Ligue 1 this weekend, Marseille v Valenciennes, should be a very interesting encounter. Both teams enter the game in good form, and both have reasons to go all out for a win. OM looking to chase down the Champions League places, and VAFC looking to cement their Ligue 1 status early for another year.
For the teams around Marseille Lille face a tricky trip to Lorient, who are due a good win. Rennes travel to Saint-Etienne, Lyon are travelling to in-form Bordeaux and the huge game at the top sees Monpellier travelling to take on PSG. Of course, we must first concentrate on winning our own games and then worry about other teams results. Predicted result: Marseille 2-1 Valenciennes
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)