Wed 12/12/12 – 20:00 (UK)
Stade Armand Cesari, Corsica
Ref – Said Ennjimi
Marseille head to Bastia looking to avoid a third defeat, and third 0-3 defeat in a row. Last Sunday’s loss at the hands of Lorient, another example of OM’s fragile state of mind and seeming inability to turn a loss into a draw or win. Bastia come into the game looking fairly solid in mid-table, and although they have only netted twice in their last four games, they are unbeaten in their last 3 which includes a win over Lorient and draws with Lille and Toulouse. It is expected that some reference will be made to the Aramand Cesari disaster from May 1992 when one of the temporary stands collapsed before the Coupe de France semi-final, killing 18 people.
After a calamitous performance against Lorient, Kabore is (thankfully) suspended for this game along with Cheyrou. The positive news for les phoceens is that Gignac is back in the travelling squad for the match, a good few weeks ahead of expected after breaking his 5th metatarsal in the loss at Troyes in late October. The travelling squad consists of: Mandanda, Bracigliano, Abdallah, Fanni, Mbow, Mendes, Morel, Ndiaye, Nkoulou, Abdullah, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, Barton, Raspentino, Valbuena, J. Ayew, Gignac and Remy.
With Kabore out, Abdullah will be the likely candidate to slot into a defensive-midfield partnership with Joey Barton. Given the effectiveness of Remy against Lorient I would also consider playing the three attacking midfielders as Amalfitano, Valbuena and Andre Ayew, giving Jordan the starting position up front. This allows for some tactical changes in the second half if the game plan is not working, such as an attacking 4-3-3 with jAyew and Gignac flanking Remy, also with Amalfitano and Valbuena either side of Barton in midfield.
Baup has stated in the press that his side need to ‘show their character’. As true as this is, they also need to show their discipline, something that has cost them dear in recent games, particulalrly defensive indiscipline, leading to too many chances and goals conceded from set-pieces and defensive lapses. It would also be positive to see Baup make some effective substitutions. Too many times recently players like Raspentino and Jobello to name but a few have been brought on with only 10 minutes or so remaining, giving them very little time to actually make a difference.
Predicted line-up and formation:
Who are they? –
Despite the reputation with sides travelling to Corsica, Bastia do not have the greatest of home records, having won only 4 of their 7 games there, losing the other 3 against Saint-Etienne, psg and Valenciennes. This home record will not be helped on Wednesday as the game will be played behind closed doors as a result of incidents relating to the Corsican derby against Ajaccio back in October.
The man to watch for Bastia is Jerome Rothen. Rothen is an ex-psg central midfielder, who demonstrates a good eye for clinical passes. He will be likely to be searching for runs from Anthony Modeste and ex-marseille man Maoulida.
Bastia have shown that they can be very positive from set pieces, may attack down the wings and look for through balls, all things that Marseille have proven regularly that they struggle with.
As I seem to say every game at the minute, there is a lot at stake for both teams in this game. A win for Marseille and they will stay within touching distance of ligue leaders Lyon and on the same points as 2nd placed psg. Bastia are currently 3 points above relegation places in 13th, however if results go against them they could be dragged much further down. A tough game for both teams, with an unusual atmosphere.
Predicted result: Bastia 1-2 Marseille
Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK)
Other Ligue 1 Games:
Valenciennes 0-4 psg
Nice 1-0 Rennes
Lille v Toulouse
Lyon v Nancy
Brest v Montpellier
Lorient v Sochaux
Ajaccio v Reims
Evian v Troyes
Bordeaux v Saint-Etienne