Monthly Archives: October 2012



I’ve registered for Movember and pledged to grow a moustache for 30 days to raise funds and awareness for men’s health. This year, we honour the great men who have grown before us and, as Movember and Sons, pay respect to the simple truth, “Knowledge is Power, the Moustache is King.”

As our forefathers always knew, the moustache is the mark of a man. Today, it is a man’s ribbon,a symbol to spark conversation and help change the face of men’s health.

You can take part either by growing one Dirty Son of a Mo as a Mo Bro, or join as a Mo Sista to help recruit others, share knowledge and support Mo growers.

To join my team of Movember Moustache Merchants go to

If you’d like to find out more about the type of work you’d be helping to fund by supporting Movember, take a look at the Programs We Fund section on the Movember website:

I would love some supporters of Marseille or Ligue 1 fans would get behind this campaign. Please tweet me @MarseilleUK or @Andrew_Js3 or leave a comment on this post if you are interested.

Kind regards,


Marseille v Lyon – ‘Olympico’ Preview

Sun 28/11/12 – 20:00 (UK) – Delayed on ESPN 9:45

Stade Velodrome

Ref. – Clement Turpin

Background –

Exactly 1 month after the game was originally due to take place Marseille take on Lyon as both teams have the opportunity to go top of the Ligue 1 table. Both teams form have faltered a little recently after strong starts to the season, although Lyon managed to continue their excellent form in the Europa League, qualifying for the knock-out stage with a game to spare, something OM didn’t manage. Regardless of tonight’s result one of the teams will knock psg off their perch. Because of this, there will be much more riding on this game than simply ‘bragging rights’ or ‘history’ as a victory for either team will confirm their title credentials.

Marseille –

In the last month Marseille have picked up 2 good wins in Ligue 1, away to Ajaccio, 2-0, and last week’s 1-0 home win over Lille. If Marseille perform with the discipline that they did in those 2 games then they have every chance of overcoming Olympic Lyonnais in the ‘Olympico’. Last season’s game saw Marseille race into a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back 2-2. This brought about an end to Marseille’s tremendous mid-season run of form that had seen them climb the table.

Marseille have no new injury concerns or absentees for this game. The 18 man squad consists of Mandanda, Fabri, Fanni, Abdallah, Diawara, Nkoulou, Morel, Mendes, Mbow, Kabore, Cheyrou, Barton, Abdullah, Valbuena,  A. Ayew, Remy, J. Ayew, Raspentino, Remy.

The starting line-up is likely to be the same as the 11 that started against Lille, with Diawara, Barton and J. Ayew keeping their places after impressive performance. Although he was caught of positions on a few occasions much of this might be down to the lack of starting football for Diawara this season. Barton’s delivery and tackles were among the best we have seen from him in a Marseille shirt and as he managed to have the ball in the net twice it would seem unfair to drop Jordan Ayew. Remy may make a late appearance as Baup tries to build up his fitness again to bring him into first 11 contention.

Having changed from the usual 4-2-3-1 formation used in the earlier part of the season, Baup will probably keep the 4-3-3 formation that worked so well against Lille. This formation allowed Barton to press forwards, and the team also maintained its width through Valbuena, while supporting Jordan Ayew with 2 secondary strikers.

Likely starting line-up and formation:


Who are they? –

Having finished 4th in Ligue 1 last season, many had feared for Remi Garde’s team this campaign. With losing Hugo Lloris, and also losing Cris, Pied, Cissokho and Kalstrom, Lyon’s squad looks quite bare. Thankfully for les Gones they managed to keep hold of Gomis, Bastos and Lopez, all of whom were linked with moves away. Ahead of this game Garde is missing Lopez, Briand and Lovren through injury and may choose expeirnece over youth with Reveillere and Bastos gaining starts despite only just returning from injury.

Mr. Consistent for Lyon this season has been Steed Malbranque. (In all honesty, that is not something I expected to write at any point this season, especially not for a team like Lyon). From what I have witnessed and from the stats and reviews, Malbranque has been a dominating force in the OL team. His composure and experience has shone through, and his ability to dictate the pace of the game has rarely been matched by any opposition. Lacking in speed, Malbranque manages to get into position early, allowing himself to either play in team-mates with accurate passes, or dribble with the ball. Because of his ‘low centre of gravity’ he can be very difficult to disposes and tackle.

In the midfield battle it may be up to Kabore to pick up Malbranque from his central position. Marseille need to be fully aware of the pace that Lyon can counter-attack with. Dropping deeper early, could actually help against a counter-attacking team. Although there is more space for the opposition to attack it allows the defenders to settle into a position and begin to push the attacking play out wide, away from the goal, allowing the midfield an opportunity to track-back into more central positions and defend against any crosses.

Summary –

Because of the position of both teams in the table it would be easy to argue that there is less pressure on these 2 sides collectively ahead of this game. No matter what the result, one of the teams will end the night 1st in the Ligue standings. Having said that, the benefits of a win do add pressure to the players. A win for OM and they go 3 points clear, Lyon would go 2 points clear with a win, and a draw would put OM 1 point clear and Lyon joint 2nd with psg. Unlike last year’s Coupe de la Ligue final, hopefully the pressures of the occasion will bring out the best of 2 teams eager to show that they are real title contenders and this ‘Olympico’ can be a real ‘classique’.

Predicted score: Marseille 2v2 Lyon   

Odds ( correct at time of publication)

Marseille 2.10

Draw 3.20

Lyon 3.60

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)


Gladbach 2-0 OM – Defeat in the Europa League at Borussia Park.

Marseille fell to a 0-2 defeat away to Borussia Monchengladbach in what was a fairly low key match containing few chances. In truth, not too much split the teams here. It was only a penalty and a long range shot out of nowhere which enabled the Germans to collect the 3 points. OM played fairly well, but much like their outing away to Troyes on Sunday, they failed to create many clear cut chances.

Squad rotation

It must be remembered that the more important game for Elie Baup’s men is the upcoming ligue 1 fixture at home to Lyon on Sunday. With that in mind, Cheyrou, Andre Ayew and Morel were all benched and it was a surprise that some of the other big names such as Valbuena weren’t given a breather either. Despite sitting on a comfortable 4 points in the group and perhaps having their minds elsewhere, OM knew that they could do with picking up something in this fixture, so everyone on the field would’ve been motivated.

The likes of Lucas Mendes, Jordan Ayew and of course Joey Barton all started, so plenty of fresh legs were brought into the side. Monchengladbach started brighter but OM gradually took over. A couple of Loic Remy chances went to waste, clearly he has yet to hit the right rhythm since his comeback from injury and is a work in progress at the moment. Things looked to be heading towards a scoreless first half but a penalty given for a handball on Kabore ensured the Gemrnas would be ahead come the interval.

50/50 penalty call against OM

I wont get into debates about whether it was or wasn’t a penalty here. As far as I’m concerned, by the letter of the law it was correct, but perhaps its 50/50 if some referees give it or not. It was a bit harsh on OM that they were behind at the break. For the most part they’d had plenty of possession and had looked lively, but a general lack of cutting edge was again the problem. This continued into the 2nd half where despite starting better and looking like they might get level, they just couldn’t manage to find a way to create enough chances.

25 yarder to seal victory for Monchengladbach

Joey Barton, who had a number of shots in this match was to come very close through a diving header but it hit his own man (Jordan Ayew) and came to nothing. Not long afterwards, Steve Mandanda was beaten by a 25 yard strike when perhaps he should’ve saved it. Undoubtedly the shot was well hit, but much like when Zlatan scored that ridiculously long free kick against him before the international break, I’m pretty sure a genuine world class keeper would’ve saved it. Mandanda is quality, but he has regressed a bit in the last few weeks and from certain long range positions he seems vulnerable.

The 2nd goal took the sting out of the game and OM heads visibly went down slightly. The hosts should’ve probably made it 3-0 but wasted a couple of chances. For the majority of 70 mins though, OM were arguably the slightly better side so can be aggrieved to have lost 2-0. In terms of the performance, there were plenty of positives and the team seemed to gel together nicely. The negatives are a defeat, conceding at crucial moments and that lack of penetration in the final 3rd to convert dominance into chances.

Sticky patch, look to the future

So where do Marseille go from here then? That early season form which saw such excellent performances, 6 straight victories in the ligue along with some impressive European displays seems to have gone down the wayside a bit. Realistically though, there isn’t too much to panic about. The defeat at VA was just one really bad day at the office, 2-2 at home to PSG was a decent outcome and to actually lose to Troyes was unlucky. This result in some ways is irrelevant because it was on the road facing arguably the toughest challenger in the group.

I’m pretty sure that if OM decide to take the return fixture seriously then they will pick up the 3 points and gain revenge on the Germans. The match at the weekend at home to rivals Lyon is a much more vital clash and its very important that the players are properly prepared for it. The squad rotation tonight should help the fitness of certain players, whilst someone like Loic Remy playing over an hour can only boost his fitness level too. This is a slightly sticky patch for Elie Baup’s men, but all will soon be quickly forgotten if they can pick up 3 points on Sunday evening.

Goals – (Poor quality)

Player ratings and comments

Mandanda 4/10 Has to be downgraded for being beaten from 25 yards out, it looked like he could’ve done better there.

Abdallah 6/10 Shows he is progressing and especially looks more confident coming forwards. Looked lively here and caused some problems.

Nkoulou 5/10 Solid, without being spectacular

Fanni 5/10 Same as Nkoulou really, was solid enough.

Mendes 5/10 Looked assured enough defensively, would like to see more of him in support of the attack though.

Barton 6/10 There’s no doubt he adds some steel to the midfield and some of his passes are genuinely class demonstrating good vision. Should stop shooting so much though, it’s a waste.

Kabore 4/10 He had a disappointing night. Gave away a penalty and got booked later, he looked frustrated here.

Amalfitano 5/10 Had some good moments, but all in all lacked penetration.

Valbuena 5/10 For his standards, looked below par. The Germans generally did a good job restricting him.

Jordan Ayew 6/10 Operated on the left wing and proved once again he is a versatile and adaptable player. Fired in a few good crosses and his contribution was mostly positive.

Remy 4/10 Physically he looks much better now, just needs to regain confidence mentally. The time has come for him to convert some of his chances, starting on Sunday night vs. Lyon.


Andre Ayew 6/10 Played the last 25 mins and was probably OMs best man on the field after they went 2-0 down. Looked much better and refused to give up, crossing was improved.

Raspentino N/A Only played the last 14 mins, so hard to give him a rating. He didn’t really do much though.

Cheyrou N/A Only played the last 7 mins, so unrated.