Monthly Archives: April 2012

FC Lorient v Marseille – Match Preview

Date: 27/04/12

Time: 21:00 (20:00 UK)
Venue: Stade Yves Allainma – Le Moustoir
Lorient home form: P16, W7, D5, L4, F17, A11, Pts 26 (11th)
Marseille away form: P16, W4, D4, L8, F18, A23, Pts 16 (11th)

Background –
You have to travel back almost 3 months to remember Marseille’s last Ligue 1 victory, a 2-1 win away at Stade Rennes. Their latest defeat came at the hands of Bordeaux last week, where Jordan Ayew’s 56th minute goal was unable to spark a revival to overcome Jussie’s 2 first half goals. News filtered through during the week and Andre Ayew had succumbed to his long term shoulder problem and would be out of action for the next 3 months as a result of the surgery he has underwent. Lorient will head into this with more confidence that OM after narrowly losing 3-2 to Lyon last week, and an impressive 2-1 win over ligue leaders Montpellier the week before.
Marseille game plan –
With Lorient often playing quite compact in midfield, Marseille will find it more difficult to maintain possession in this area than normal. This may be a good reason to play Jordan Ayew and Valbuena as wide men in a forward 3, with Amalfiatno and perhaps Diarra as the players to get the ball to them, therefore avoiding a crowded central area. Remy may start as the lone striker if his ankle has recovered in time, otherwise DD may opt for former Lorient player Gignac ahead of Brandao.
Likely line-up: (4-3-3/4-3-2-1) Mandanda – Azpilicueta, Fanni, Nkoulou, Morel – Amilfitano, Kabore, Diarra – Valbuena, J. Ayew – Remy/Gignac)

Summary –
Both teams will be desperate for a win here, despite having nothing to really play for in terms of ligue positioning another defeat could leave Deschamps’ position in even further jeopardy as well as a number of OM players who will struggle to match their current wages at other clubs. If results go against OM this weekend they could find themselves in 11th position only 5 points above the bottom 3. Lorient themselves are currently only 2 points above a relegation place and victory for them coupled with other results  could see them rise to 12th and be 5 points clear of the drop.
This could be a nervy encounter as both teams have struggled in 2012 and both have a lot to lose in this game. Predicted score Lorient 1-1 Marseille.
Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)

Bordeaux v Marseille – Match Preview

Ligue 1 – Girondins de Bordeaux v Olympique de Marseille – Match Preview


Time: 21:00 (20:00 UK)

Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux



Background –

Having recently experienced the elation of an actual victory in the form of the 1-0 Coupe de la Ligue final win against Lyon, Marseille were brought crashing down to earth with another 1-1 draw against struggling Caen. Many hoped the cup win would provide Marseille with an opportunity to finish the season positively, and although a European qualification placing looked unlikely and is now unnecessary, they might actually end the season with some self-respect.

This Saturday sees Bordeaux host Marseille, and although their fantastic form from early February has since faltered, a succession of draws surrounding a win of Brest has ensured Bordeaux have stayed in 8th and not dropped in the standing, unlike OM. Previous form at the Stade Chaban-Delmas bodes well for le Girondins, however, as Marseille have not registered a win there since 1977, an incredible 26 games ago.


Marseille Team selection –

The only forced change to Marseilles squad is likely to be due to the suspension of Amalfitano who is now serving a retrospective 2 game punishment. Diawarra is out until next season, whereas both Remy and Andre Ayew are expected to play despite on-going niggles.

At this stage in the season Deschamps really needs to look at his team and decide on squad, formation and tactics ahead of the summer. Fully recognising which players he wishes to keep and who he can be happy to leave.

Personally my starting line up would be as follows. Mandanda – Azpilicueta, Nkoulou, Mbia, Morel – Fanni, Valbuena, Cheyrou, A. AYew – Remy, J. Auew.

Firstly, too often this season there has been no quality link up between defense/defensive midfield and the strikers. Cheyrou and Valbuena in central midfield allow excellent link-up as well as allowing Valbuena to dribble when given time and space. With the lack of Amilfatano on the right I would like to see Fanni play there, he has shown countless times he can overlap, take on defenders and put in crosses. This would allow him the opportunity to do it without worrying about his need to defend, although his defensive qualities would help nullify Bordeaux’s attacking threat down their left.


Summary –

As much as I try to be positive in these previews and show that Marseille can and will win, it feels almost pointless now. Watching 11 individuals go out each week and fail to perform as a team makes this game against Bordeaux all the more difficult. GdB are not blessed with as many ‘big names’ as OM, however, recently they have been playing as a team. Using a 3-5-2 formation allows them to attack with numbers, and defend with numbers when called upon, something the Marseille squad could learn a great deal from. A mixture of current form and past history here suggests to me that Marseille will struggle and at best will return home with a score-draw, likely result: Bordeaux 2-1 Marseille.


Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)



Bayern Munich v Marseille (2-0) – Champions League 1/4 Final 2nd leg – Match Preview



Date: 03/04/12

Time: 20:45 (19:45 UK)

Venue: Allianz Arena, Munich


Report of the 1st leg –

Marseille came into the match winless in 8 games and having lost 7 of those fixtures. The 1-1 draw at Nice a few days before was a slight morale boost, but realistically OM had played really badly there and were fortunate to escape with a point. Fans and everyone associated with the club were hoping that a CL match with Bayern would bring the best out of the players and that this surprise CL run might continue.

Injuries haven’t been kind to OM since the turn of the year and again for this game, coach Didier Deschamps was given a number of problems to contend with. Diawara is out for 6 months with a cruciate ligament problem, Loic Remy has yet to recover from his thigh injury, whilst Andre Ayew really needs some shoulder surgery to fix his problem in that department. Add to the fact that Jordan Ayew often seems to have some sort of niggle, and Andre Pierre Gignac genuinely looks like a fatter bastard than ever before!

Deschamps opted to field 3rd choice keeper Andrade for this game. In some ways I can understand that decision; Bracigliano looked really poor in the cup game against Quevilly, but playing Andrade was definitely a massive risk. He also started with Remy and Andre Ayew, clearly deciding to gamble in a big game like this one. The problem was that both of the latter two were clearly not at full fitness and their capacity to produce was certainly decreased because of this. Remy missed a massive chance to open the scoring after 6 mins from close range, he should’ve done way better.

The first half was largely uneventful, and OM could take heart from this. Bayern were expected to come here and dominate, but they didn’t prove themselves to be the clearly superior team. Yes, they looked better on the ball and yes they had more intent, but overall OM did a solid job. Unfortunately though, the hosts couldn’t complete the job and just before the interval Gomez was played through the middle. He got the shot on target, Andrade parried but didn’t do enough to prevent the goal. Really the goalkeeper should have done far better, let’s just say that Steve Mandanda would’ve definitely prevented the Germans from scoring.

In the 2nd half, OM started well enough and actually looked threatening inside the first 15 mins of it. They showed a high energy drive, but couldn’t find an equaliser. Andrade made a good save to keep it a 0-1, but there was nothing he could do to deny Robben from close range in the 69th minute and Bayern led 2-0. The rest of the match was pretty much a procession. Bayern controlled the game and OM never looked like getting a goal or finding a way back into it. It seemed like the visitors were never out of 2nd gear and probably could’ve scored more goals if they wanted to. The final whistle went and a disappointed Stade Velodrome crowd had to accept that this seasons Champions League dream was effectively over.

OM probably played better than a lot of people expected them to do here, but it still wasn’t enough. Bayern were better and I’d say they probably had a lot more in the tank if they needed it. The gamble to start Andrade backfired, whilst using the ‘unfit’ Remy and Ayew didn’t pay off either. OM now have 6 days to prepare for the 2nd leg in Germany, but if they turned this deficit around it’d be a miracle. Quite simply the team isn’t playing anywhere near well enough at the moment, and unless Mandanda has a superb game the score-line could get ugly.

Steve (@MarseilleUK and @meatmansoccer)

Marseille Team selection –

Having (over) generously been given the weekend off from ligue action, avoiding a game against table-topping Montpellier, Marseille have had a week to prepare for and fully concentrate on overcoming a 2 goal deficit against Bayern Munich.

First choice ‘keeper Steve Mandanda is available after suspension and will man the goal, bringing some confidence and experience that 3rd choice Andrade couldn’t provide at the Velodrome. The only other likely change will see the suspended Diarra replaced by Kabore.

Much of OM’s game-plan will be the same as the previous game trying to use the width provided by Amalfitano and A.Ayew to attack the Bayern defenders. Valbuena should look to support both players as well as the sole striker, Remy, as he will undoubtedly be free to roam where he pleases by Deschamps.

For large parts of the first leg, Marseille managed to contain Bayern successfully and looked threatening on the counter-attack. As Bayern will be likely to play with far more confidence in front of their own supporters, this is likely to be Marseille’s game plan again. Attacking wise, Azpilicueta and Morel must overlap and support Amilfatano and Ayew respectively. Defensively, Marseille must keep track of their men more efficiently. Both Bayern goals came from slack marking and players being dragged out of position, this is where Kabore and Mbia will help support the defence, although in order for this to be successful they must man mark instead of zonally mark, as the Robben and Ribery are simply too quick and skilful, and will slip through slack marking.


Bayern Munich –

Bayern played at 12th placed Nurnberg this Saturday just gone and managed to pick up a 1-0 victory thanks to a 70th minute strike by Arjen Robben.

Although Bastien Schweinsteiger is the only confirmed absentee, manager Jupp Heynckes may alter his squad knowing that 6 of his players are only a booking away from missing a possible semi-final tie. Any changes may benefit Marseille, as one of the weaknesses that @redrobbery offered ahead of the first leg was the lack of depth in Bayern’s squad.



Summary –

So, Marseille travel to Germany needing a huge victory to progress to the next round of the Champions League, just as they did at the beginning of December when they prepared to face Dortmund.

Most already have this game as a write off, giving OM no chance at all. Current form agrees. However, no team is unbeatable, and on their day we know Marseille can be amongst the best. I hope for an all-out Marseille performance, thousands of miles away from the poisonous atmosphere of the Velodrome with protesting fans’ only supporting by default as they boo the opposition more than their own players. Away from the pressures of French media, away from every other team’s fans hoping for an OM humiliation despite them being the only team left in the competition offering anything positive for the infamous ‘coefficient’ ratings. More than anything I hope for some pride. This season has been abysmal, average and then just plain awful. Wins have been achieved as a result of other teams being slightly worse than ourselves, or ‘big’ teams bottling big games. Please, if this is going to be our last Champions League game for at least a season, give us something good to remember, give us a reason to be proud Marseille supporters again.


Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)