Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rennes 2-2 Marseille Match Report – 3 points slipped through our fingers…..

A late Steve Mandanda howler cost OM dearly at Le Stade Route de Lorient as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Rennes. Jordan Ayew’s late strike looked to have been enough to secure the 3 points, but a gaffe by the captain let in Romain Alessandrini to equalise. Overall, the game was a high tempo and exciting affair with not too much between either side. OM can certainly hold regrets though because they had the 3 points in their own hands, but literally let them slip through their gloves……

Early Rennes pressure, but OM  strike first

Rennes were definitely the team who started the match more on the front foot. As early as the first minute Alessandrini put in a dangerous looking cross and OM struggled to settle. Around the 10 minute mark, Danze should’ve scored when he was well placed in the middle, but headed over following a scrumptious Alessandrini cross. Moments later, OM had their first real chance when Gignac fired not too far over on the half volley. Rennes continued their impressive start with Feret shooting just wide, and Alessandrini firing over when he probably should’ve done better.

The visitors managed to ride the early storm though and Rennes had failed to make the most of their chances. OM soon settled down and started passing the ball nicely around the park. Both sides were generally playing to a high level and there was some nice skill and interchanges on show for everyone to see. Despite this, there had been relatively few chances, but OM took the lead about 10 mins before HT. Feret gave the ball away in his own half and N’Koulou sent a superb ball through to Valbuena. He in turn provided a great assist for Andre Ayew to slid the ball home nicely. The Ghanaian should’ve doubled OMs advantage just before the break but he couldn’t get enough power on his shot. Had he scored, it would’ve been a superb team goal because the build up play to the chance was beautiful.

Yet more corner problems……

Rennes started the 2nd period similar to how they did the first – on the front foot. OM had Mevlut Erding to thank for missing two massive opportunities within a fairly short space of time, he should’ve done better. The first Mandanda saved with his foot and the 2nd was just a mishit. The pressure was being applied by the hosts and Alessandrini was their main threat on the left hand side. He was very influential in this match and gave OM problems all night. It was to be his assist which set up the Rennes equaliser, and unsurprisingly it came from a corner. OM had managed to avoid suffering from their achilles heel against Montpellier last week, but it came back to haunt them here when Theophile Catherine headed home unmarked.

It seems to become a regular weekly theme in OM match reports – conceding from set pieces, or more specifically corners. In this instance Jordan Ayew will carry some of the blame, but this corner business is becoming all too commonplace now. The whole team has to take responsibility in addition to the backroom staff. Something is clearly going very wrong when preparing against set pieces. I could go into detail again here, issues such as why was the man on the near post not always situated there? There’s too much to mention but crucially in this instance it got Rennes an easy way back into the game. What followed was an uncomfortable 10 minutes or so where Rennes had plenty of energy and looked dangerous. Again, Alessandrini was the man pulling the strings for the hosts, often putting in some superb crosses.

OM back ahead….but then Mandanda howler

To OMs credit though, they wrestled back the initiative and it was excellent to see Elie Baup clearly ‘going for the win’ instead of being happy with a draw. Amalfitano was brought on in place of Cheyrou, an attacking move which was to prove dividends eventually. Gignac had a shot go wide, Andre Ayew headed just past the post, and Jordan had a shot blocked close to goal. OM were pilling on the pressure and eventually Rennes would crack. Great vision by Valbuena found Amalfitano on the right who crossed into the middle. Jordan Ayew could hardly miss as he turned the ball home giving OM a crucial lead with only 8 mins left in the match.

That should’ve been enough to see OM pick up the 3 points, but there was to be late drama at Le Stade Route de Lorient. Diallo sent in a cross-shot which surprised Mandanda at his near post. The OM captain failed to hold the ball and it deflected against the woodwork – right into the path of Alessandrini who made no mistake turning the ball home. The visitors might’ve had a penalty late on for a foul on Gignac, but the referee wasn’t interested. Instead, Elie Baup’s men were forced to settle for just a draw, when this really should’ve been all 3. He has saved Marseille many times before, but sadly there can be no doubt that failure to win here was on Steve Mandanda’s head.

Goodbye Yann M’Vila

Finally, as a side note and completely nothing to do with anything OM. It was sad but also nice to see Yann M’Vila at the end of the match being paraded around in front of the Rennes fans to say goodbye. I know that he’s had a fractious relationship with the Rennes fans over the last year, so it was nice to see them give him a good send off here. He has been with the club since he was 14 years old and unfortunately this is a typical example of ligue 1 failing to hold onto its best players. M’Vila is an absolute beast in my opinion, and last year one of the best players in the ligue without doubt. It’s a shame for Ligue 1 to continually lose such great talent, he will be a fine asset for Rubin Kazan.

Player ratings and notes :-

Mandanda 3/10 – His mistake at the end cost OM bigtime, enough said.

Morel 4/10 – On the positive side, when going forwards he can be useful. Whilst he does do some good things at the back, the times when he makes mistakes can be costly.

N’Koulou 5/10 – Great pass to help set up the move leading to 1st goal. Defensively ok without being anything special

Mendes 4/10 – An improvement upon last week, but that was never going to be hard for him to achieve. I have my doubts about him at CDEF, he looks too raw and makes too many mistakes.

Fanni 5/10 – Made some good ventures going forwards. At the back he was adequate enough, although had problems with Alessandrini at times.

Barton 5/10 – Relatively quiet performance by him here, he kept things ticking along in midfield at times though.

Cheyrou 5/10 – Similar to Barton, kept things ticking along at times without being spectacular.

Valbuena 7/10 – OM’s best player here and grew as the match wore on. Supplied a great assist for the first and played a key part in the build up to the 2nd goal.

Andre Ayew 6/10 – Nice finish for the first goal, but should’ve scored more. He also made a couple of errors when defending set pieces.

Gignac 4/10 – Below par day for him. He missed chances and failed to look for a pass sometimes when instead was too greedy.

Jordan Ayew 5/10 – The positive is he scored again – but when placed more centrally as a striker. I’m convinced he just isn’t as effective as a right winger. His poor marking also cost OM a goal.

Amalfitano 6/10 -Came on as a sub for Cheyrou in the 72nd min and made a difference, supplied the assist for the 2nd goal.

Rennes player ratings :-

Costil 5/10
Mavinga 7/10
Kan Biyik 5/10
Theophile Catherine 6/10
Foulquier 4/10
Makoun 5/10
Alessandrini 8/10 – Man of the match
Danze 5/10
Feret 5/10
Diallo 5/10
Erding 3/10

Goals and highlight link

Steve (@Meatmansoccer)

Coupe de France – Rouen v Marseille – Match Preview

Background

After a dramaticly disappointing late draw against Rennes on Saturday, Marseille head to 3rd tier Rouen in the Coupe de France round of 32 a week after they had originally turned up for the game! Having recently struggled against Sochaux, Marseille put in a fairly lacklustre performance against Montpellier and this was compounded with the performance that lead to Rennes’ draw. A win to take them into the next round of the cup to face psg will surely help keep OM on track in the 2nd half of the season. Their opponents, Rouen, arrive in this game having already dispatched Ligue 1 opposition in the form of AC Ajaccio, albeit via a penalty shoot out.

Marseille

Marseille must recover from the disappointing result last weekend in order to be at their best against Rouen. They may find this game against Rouen difficult as the underdogs will undoubtedly run themselves ragged in an attempt to gain victory over a slightly more illustrious side.

Elie Baup has shown his desire to succeed in this competition by taking an almost full strength squad made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes, Abdallah, Aloe, Barton, Cheyrou, Amalfitano, Valbuena, Abdullah, A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Gignac, Sougou and Anani. 

Morel is dropped from the travelling squad so Mendes may move to left back with Diawara returning to the centre of defence. It is highly likely that Sougou will make his OM debut at some point too.

With this being the case it would be a safe bet to suggest that Baup will opt to field his strongest starting 11, the same team that began against Montpellier and Rennes. This still allows for the addition of Amalfitano if needed later on. Baup will hope that the starting 11 will do enough within the first 60 minutes to rest players such as Gignac, Valbuena and Barton who generally cover a lot of ground in matches.

Rouen

Rouen currently sit 13th in the National division and have not played since 12th January as a result of gas-leaks and the inclement weather. In their 2 games this year they have dispatched Ajaccio from the Coupe de France and beaten 17th placed Uzéz Pont du Gard 3-0 in the ligue.

Rouen’s top scorer is Ousmane Cissokho, who plays as a defender. His 5 goals would suggest that set-pieces will be a real threat from Rouen (Marseille defence take note!). Across the rest of the squad they have a number of scorers, but all with relatively low goal counts: Dugimont (att 4), Jahier (att 4), Asbabou (mid 3) and Mboup (mid 3).

Summary

With Ajaccio going out at the hands of Wednesday’s opponents, along with Reims, Rennes, Lyon, Bastia and Valenciennes being knocked out by lower ligue opposition Marseille will be careful to avoid another ‘Quevilly’ incident. Marseille need this win, as they look to regain some of the momentum from the first half of the season. The loss at Sochaux and draw with Rennes could just be minor blips in an impressive season. A loss to Rouen could be the wheels coming off Marseille’s over-achieving season, let’s hope that isn’t the case.

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK)

Rennes v Marseille – Match Preview 26/1/13

Rennes v Marseille

Sat 26/01/13 – 16:00 (UK)

Stade de la Route de Lorient, Rennes

Ref – Tony Chapron

Background

With a gas leak in Rouen postponing Marseille’s Coupe de France game mid-week, OM will have had slightly longer than planned to prepare for a tough trip to 5th placed Rennes. Unfortunately the squad had already travelled to Rouen, so may not be as fresh as they could have been. Rennes have had a week to recover from their 2-0 ligue win over Bastia, as they were eliminated from the Coupe de France by RC Lens in the round of 64.

Marseille

Marseille are without the services of Kabore and Kadir, who are both involved with the African Cup of Nations. Modou Sougou, midweek signing from CFR Cluj, took part in training with the squad this week and is expected to play some part in the game.

As much as the pointless trip to Rouen was mid-week, it means that the last game OM played in was their 3-2 win over Montpellier, where Gignac netted a late winner. This poor performance that still resulted in a victory is sometimes what teams need to keep their form going.

The 18 man team is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Abdullah, Aloe, Abdullah, Barton, Cheyrou, Valbuena, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Gignac, Sougou.

Rennes have often shown that they are weak in defending attacks from wide areas. The prevalence of Andre Ayew and Valbuena in the Montpellier match should ensure they see more success against Danze and Mavinga.

Barton may have to drop deep to support either ex-Rennes man Fanni, or Morel against the emphatic Alessandrini, who can dribble, pass and shoot, particulalrly when cutting in from the left. If Barton supports in the manner that he shown in the past, he will act as an extra body to push Alessandrini wide, and eliminate the risk of the shot from distance.  

Likely starting line-up: 4-2-3-1; Mandanda – Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel – Barton, Cheyrou – J. Ayew, Valbuena, A. Ayew – Gignac

 

Who Are They?

Rennes currently occupy 5th place in the ligue table, after finishing a respectable 6th at the end of the last campaign. After a poor start to the season, losing to Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Lorient, Rennes sat 18th after week 6. Since then, however, Rennes have stormed up the ligue table only failing to win 4 times from 15 games, against ASSE, Evian, Nice and Bordeaux.

Rennes have a wealth of talent at their disposal, despite the departure of the enigmatic Yann M’vila to Rubin Kazan this week. Frederic Antonetti’s main threats will undoubtedly come from the experienced Julien Feret, and the exciting talent of Romain Alessandrini. Feret is good in the air and will be likely to trouble OM’s nervous defence during set-peieces, if he is not taking them himself. He has already weighed in with 6 goals and 2 assists this season. Alessandrini has the same stats with 6 goals and 2 assists, with the only difference being that most of Alessandrini’s goals have been goal of the season contenders.

Just as Marseille can do with their 3 supporting attackers, Diallo, Feret and Alessandini can all change position throughout the game, posing a constant fresh threat to the whole of the defensive line.

Sumary

Last season Marseille benefited from an own goal, from Onykachi Apam, to help them to a 2-1 victory and they may need more of the same luck this season, because this will definitely be a tough game. Both teams pose similar attacking threats, and have the same ligue record in the last 4 games, WWLW. Rennes sit 12th in the home form tables whereas Marseille are joint top in away results, so the game looks as if it will be a tight affair, with a couple of goals to be expected. An individual error or moment of magic could well be the deciding factor in this game.

 

Predicted result: Rennes 1-2 Marseille

 

Selected odds (from Bet365.com, correct at time of publication):

Rennes: 2.75

Draw: 3.00

Marseille: 2.75

 

Weekend’s other Ligue 1 fixtures:

Valenciennes 0-2 Lyon

Evian v Ajaccio

Montpellier v Sochaux

Nancy v Lorient

Reims v Toulouse

Troyes v Brest

Saint-Etienne v Bastia

Nice v Bordeaux

psg v Lille

 

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK)