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)
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)
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.
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)