Sun 21/10/12 – 20:00 (UK)
Stade de l’Aube, Troyes
Ref. – Wilfred Bien
After a more than encouraging performance and result against most people’s favourites for the Ligue 1 title, psg, Marseille will look to continue their early season form against most people’s favourites for relegation, ESTAC Troyes. In the game against psg, Marseille showed exactly why they had such an excellent start to the season with the players playing with grit, determination and a bit of class (discounting Amalfitano’s slap!) all of which had been missing in the embarrassing 4-1 defeat by Valenciennes the week before. In contrast to OM’s 19 points from 8 games, Troyes have only managed to pick up 2 since their promotion to Ligue 1. Worryingly for Marseille though, Troyes 2 sole points have come from probably their toughest opponents so far in the form of home draws against Lorient and Lille.
Le Classique was built up to be one of the games of the season and for the most part it didn’t disappoint. A fascinating and entertaining first half showed OM in some of their best form of the season, both attacking, and for the most part, defending too. Two moments of class from Ibrahimavic gave psg a share of the points that their negative end to the game possibly didn’t deserve.
All of Marseille’s internationals escaped without incident or injury during the international break, so the travelling squad is made up of: Mandanda, Bracigliano, Fanni, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Mbow, Kabore, Cheyrou, Abdullah, Valbuena, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, Raspentino, Gignac, J. Ayew and Remy.
Given the performance in the classique it would be difficult for Baup to alter his starting line-up or the formation even with players like Remy, Mendes and Abdullah impressing recently, they may be compensated with a Europa League start this coming Thursday. Given the weaknesses that Troyes have shown so far this season, Marseille should again look to play to their own strengths. Expecting the majority of possession, it would be expected that Troyes will defend in numbers and look to score on the break, despite being the home team. Marseille should not panic if goals do not come early as chances created for the in-form Gignac can be supported by individual efforts from any of the other 3 attacking players. If chances have still not been converted, then having a player like Loic Remy to bring off the bench is a luxury not many Ligue 1 teams have.
Expected line-up and formation:
Who are they? –
As mentioned earlier, Troyes have struggled since their promotion to Ligue 1. Picking up only 2 points from 8 games Jean-Marc Furlan’s hope for survival from this season seems a long way off already. AT present they have the 2nd worst defensive record in the ligue, and one of the poorest attacking records too.
Some of Troyes’ good attacking play this season has come from play down the wings. If Marseille allow Troyes to attack in this way, then they should ensure that Nkoulou and Fanni are in position to defend effectively. The pace that Valenciennes attacked with in week 7 caught OM out too often, leading to a number of chances and subsequently goals.
Quentin Othon and Mounir Obbadi are likely to be the two players working the wide positions for Troyes. Abdallah and Morel must be careful to push their respective opponents wide and force them into crosses from difficult positions, allowing the rest of the OM team to take up suitable defensive positions. Allowing these two players time to dribble and possible cut inside would be most dangerous and is likely to give Troyes licence to shoot from distance and potentially score.
Much of the media have this as a routine away win, and given the contrast of the two teams on paper, it’s easy to see why. Marseille can’t take this for granted though as another ‘Valenciennes’ performance would probably see Marseille returning home with no points. Ahead of a tough month with Europa league games along with domestic games against Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille and psg to come, OM need to continue their run of early season form, accruing as many points as possible with an almost full strength squad. The Valenciennes game should be fresh enough in the OM players memories to ensure there is no repeat of that performance and OM should win the game comfortably.
Predicted score: Troyes 0v3 Marseille
Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)
Other Ligue 1 games
Bordeaux 1v1 Lille
Psg 1-0 Reims
Rennes 2v1 Montpellier
Valenciennes 6v1 Lorient
Nice 1v1 Saint-Etienne
Nancy 1v1 Sochaux
Evian 0v4 Toulouse
Ajaccio v Bastia
Lyon v Brest