Ligue 1 – Girondins de Bordeaux v Olympique de Marseille – Match Preview
Time: 21:00 (20:00 UK)
Venue: Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux
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.
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.
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)