Sun 10/02/13 – 13:00 (UK)
Parc des Sports d’Annecy, Evian
Ref. – Antony Gautier
After suffering a shock home defeat to bottom club AS Nancy last week, Marsreille will be looking to show a little more bottle this week against the team sitting 16th, Evian Thonon Gaillard. The shock defeat added to the surprise defeats OM have suffered at the hands of Troyes and Sochaux this season and meant that they missed the opportunity to go level on points with Lyon, and lost ground on Ligue leaders psg. Evian have so far failed to win in 2013 but have drawn 3 in a row against Lyon, Ajaccio and Bastia allowing them to climb out of the relegation zone.
Away from the pressures of the Velodrome, Marseille have fared better on the road this season, and will look to continue that form as they try to win at Evian for the first time. Last season ex-Marseille man Jerome Leroy scored twice as OM’s mid-season run of form took a dip.
Charles Kabore is still absent on international duty as his Burkina Faso face Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations in South Africa on Sunday. Joey Barton will miss the game through suspension after his red card against Nancy last week and more surprisingly Andre Ayew withdrew late from the squad. Foued Kadir came off the bench against Nancy, and will be pushing for a starting place this week. New signing Alaixys Ramao, from FC Lorient, is also available for selection after returning from the ACon with Togo. Jeremy Morel and Nikolas Nkoulou have been receiving treatment on their respective injuries this week and are still doubts for this game.
The full travelling squad is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Mendes, Diawara, Aloe, Cheyrou, Romao, Abdullah, Valbuena, Amalfitano, Kadir, J. Ayew, Gignac, Sougou & Jobello.
Possible line up: 4-2-3-1
Fanni, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes
Romao, Valbuena J. Ayew
Who are they? –
After promotion from Ligue 2, Evian managed a more than respectable 9th placed finish last season (1 place and 2 points ahead of OM). Their hard working mentality and often exciting counter-attacking play meant they were a difficult team to beat, and although they have not managed to quite match this form and play as much this season, this will be no walk in the park for OM.
Evian’s home record makes worrying reading for ETG fans picking only 2 victories (against Bastia 3-0 and Troyes 2-0). Their specialism for draws(5 at home) is only beaten by Bordeaux who have drawn 6 times at home, so a draw could be a good bet.
Pacal Dupraz will be without Mohamed Rabiu and Jon Mensah who are still on ACoN duties. Brice Dja Djedje and Stephen Anderson who are injured, however, Barbosa is expected to recover in time to play.
Marseille will need to be wary of the ETG counter-attack. This is something that they showed immense vulnerability to against Nancy, and were only let off by ASNL’s rather wayward shooting. With 8 goals between them, Barbosa and Sagbo may not be as forgiving as Apou’o was ;ast Sunday.
Likely starting line-up: (4-4-1-1)Laquait – Mongongu, Angoula, Betao, Wass – Berigaud, Sorlin, Bi, Barbosa – Khelifa – Sagbo
Before the winter break this game should have been relatively straightforward for Marseille, however, with a string of inconsistent results and performances it becomes a must win game for both teams. A win for OM keeps them close enough to the top 2 and also keeps them away from 4th placed Bordeaux who have closed to within 4 points of OM. A win for Evian could take them 5 points clear of the drop zone if results go their way.
Predicted score: Evian 1v2 Marseille
Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)
Other Ligue 1 Fixtures:
psg 3-1 Bastia
Saint-Etienne 4v1 Montpellier
Nice 1v1 Lorient
Valenciennes 2v1 Brest
Troyes 0v0 Sochaux
Ajaccio 1v0 Bordeuax
Nancy 1v2 Reims
Rennes v Toulouse
Lyon v Lille