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 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 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).
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.