Sun 9/12/12 – 16:00 (UK)
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Ref – Beniot Millot
Another week of extremes for Marseille as an impressive away win over Brest was proceeded by a 3-0 defeat courtesy of European minnows AEL. The defeat may sound worse than it was, however, as the vast majority of the senior squad were left in Marseille to prepare for Sunday’s opponents, FC Lorient. Lorient’s preparation for this game has included their typical run of painfully inconsistent form including losses at the hands of Valenciennes (not that we can judge them for that!), Brest, Bordeaux and Bastia interspersed with victories over Lille, and last week Toulouse.
With the only inclusion of regular first teamers coming in the form of Abdallah, Fanni and Remy mid-week, the majority of the squad have had a full week to prepare for this game after a hard fought win over Brest last week. With that in mind, and considering the performance from the squad last against Brest it is hard to imagine Elie Baup opting for anything other than that same starting 11, other than the enforced absence of Fanni after his red-card in the horror show against Lyon.
The power that Marseille possess in attack will allow them to exploit the weaknesses in Lorient’s defence that has seen them concede the 3rd most goals in the Ligue just ahead of Bastia and struggling Troyes. Joey Barton’s man of the match winning display demonstrated his versatility and gave Marseille a counter-attacking edge they have not shown too often this season. This linked in with the dominance on both wings helped by Valbuena and Ayew switching on a regular basis.
Team news: Mandanda, Bracigliano, Abdallah, N’Koulou, Diawara, Morel, Mendes, M’Bow, N’Diaye, Abdullah, Barton, Kabore, Amalfitano, Valbuena, Raspentino, J. Ayew, Remy, Jobello.
Out: Gignac (injured), Cheyrou (injured), Fanni & A. Ayew (suspended).
It is likely that Baup will make as few changes as possible after such an encouraging performance against Brest. The enforced absence of Andre Ayew presents the only real problem and it may provide Raspentino with his first Ligue 1 start after some solid displays in Europe.
Predicted line-up and formation:
Who are they? –
As mentioned before Lorient are the consistently inconsistent team of Ligue 1. Last season’s fantastic start was completely undone by their 2nd half of the season capitulation that saw them avoid relegation by a solitary point (gained in week 36 against relegated Dijon).
Despite their poor away form, having only won 1 of their last 25 away games, a saving grace for Lorient could be that they perform well against the better teams of Ligue 1; psg 2-2, Montpellier 2-1, Rennes 2-1, Lyon 1-1, Lille 2-0 and Toulouse 1-0. Unlike when these 2 teams met last season, Marseille are 2nd, not 8th and have relied on a more consistent run of form than their northern opponents, so Lorient may set up more defensively than usual, looking for a draw.
One of Lorient’s most consistent performers this season has been Alain Traore, but he joins Jouffre amongst others on Lorient’s lengthy injury list. Since joining Lorient from Dijon, Benjamin Corgnet has settled well into the team. He has netted 3 goals in 10 games from various central positions using his aerial ability and excellent footwork to get into scoring opportunities, Corgnet has also provided 1 assist too this season.
With both teams having a certain penchant for attacking style, width, passing and creating a number of chances hopes are high that this will be an entertaining, end-to-end game. With both teams being partial to the odd defensive error, it would be safe to assume that there will be goals in this one too.
Predicted result: Marseille 3-1 Lorient
Betting odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication):
Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK)
Other Ligue 1 Games:
Toulouse 0v0 Bastia
psg 4v0 Bastia
Montpellier 3v0 Ajaccio
Rennes 2v2 Brest
Sochaux 1v1 Lille
Nancy 1v1 Valenciennes
Troyes 1v1 Nice
Reims v Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne v Lyon