Seven defeats in a row, a new low for Marseille, but not just this season, as that run of form is now the worst in their history. The most recent defeat coming at the hands of 3rd tier outfit US Quevilly in the Coupe de France. Not the greatest preparation for a south coast derby against Nice, followed by OM’s biggest game in years, the quarter-final Champions League tie against Bayern Munich.
Without worrying about the incredibly poor run of form, the heartless, gutless, spineless performances, the fact that OM haven’t scod a goal in their last 3 away Ligue games, Marseille can at least take some solise from the knowledge that they have already beaten Nice twice this season. During those games, Marseille actually looked fairly comfortable, and should not forget that Nice have spent most of the season languishing around the relegation zone and they currently sit 18th.
Marseille Team selection –
Didier Deschamps must select his starting line up without the availability of injured top goal scorer Loic Remy, and suspended defensive rock Nkoulou. It would have been sensible for Deschamps to select the 11 that he will start against Bayern next week, playing in the same manner, however, that obviously won’t be the case. Another defensive shuffle is on the cards and yet another change in strikers is hardly what the doctor would have ordered.
Despite not having the most comfortable of games against lowly US Quevilly midweek, Bracigliano may start in goal agains to help give him some valuable pitch time ahead of his enforced start against Bayern. The defensive four could be Azpilicueta, Diawarra, Mbia and Morel. Diarra and Kabore will likely sit behind A.Ayew, Valbuena and Amalfitano with Brandao upfront on his own. The two defensive midfielders will need to help support both right and left backs in preparation for the Bayern game especially with Arjen Robben and his perpetual desire to cut in from the right and shoot. The 3 attacking midfielders must also start to link up play far more effectively. Although the 4-4-2 system seemed to work very well mid-season, Deschamps has insisted on changing this along with rotating the squad and the players now need to respond positively no matter what the formation. Ayew, Valbuena and Amalfitano have looked good going forwards, however this has not always supported the lone striker, with long balls or crosses often being inaccurate, or the striker being muscled off the ball by two centre-backs. Passing football on the ground is the way these 3 should play, cutting in and having shots, one-twos, through ball behind the defence for each other and the striker to run on to. If these 3 are firing on all cylinders they are an incredibly formidable group.
Having entered the two champions League games against Inter after poor results, Marseille will hope that they can take some confidence into the Bayern Munich game, and a win against Mediterranean rivals Nice would certainly help. The OM team must really step up now and show that they actually care in these games, as too often this season too many players simply have not shown that they are bothered. Another good run of results could see Marseille challenging for a Europa League place, instead of relying on this through winning the French cup. Predicted result: Nice 2-2 Mareille.
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)