Monthly Archives: April 2013

Marseille v Bastia – 04/05/13 – Match Preview

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04/05/13 –16:00 (UK)
Marseille v Bastia
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Ref. – Sebastien Moreira

Marseille will look to all but tie up Champions League qualification for next season as they host SC Bastia at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday afternoon. After another disciplined and determined victory at the weekend over Lorient, a win over Bastia would put OM within 3 points of a top 3 finish. In their first season back in Ligue 1, Bastia will feel relatively safe from relegation as they currently sit 6 points above the drop zone. But, with their 2 final games against relegation threatened Nancy and Sochaux, Bastia would feel a much better with an extra 3 points on the board.

Olympique de Marseille

Having been blessed with relatively full squads as of late, Elie Baup has a mini crisis on his hands as he will be without 4/5 players for this game. Thankfully most of these are expected to be short-term and should return to the paying squad ahead of next week’s Toulouse game.
Andre Ayew’s suspension from the match was confirmed late on Thursday evening, following his red card in the game against FC Lorient, Fabien Audard was handed a 3 game ban ( plus 1 game suspended) for his role that started the melée. Rafidine Abdullah will also miss out on this game as a result of bookings picked up playing for the reserve squad. Rod Fanni’s injury that came against Lorient has ruled him out for 10 days, so he is expected to return in time for the Toulouse game, the same is expected of Benoit Cheyrou who will also miss this game having picked up a knock. The injury that forced Gignac off on a stretcher in the closing minutes of the Lorient game is not as bad as first thought and he is returned to training on Wedneday, although he will undergo a late fitness test. Kassim Abdallah is expected to deputise in place of Fanni. Starting berths could also be given to Foued Kadir, Joey Barton and Modou Sougou. The full squad consists of: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes, Morel, Aloé, Barton, Romao, Valbuena, Kadir, Amalfitano, Sougou, J. Ayew, Gignac, Jobello, Omrani.
Expected starting line-up and formation:

Mandanda
Abdallah Nkoulou Mendes Morel
Barton Romao
Sougou Valbuena Kadir
J. Ayew

SC Bastia

Ahead of last weeks 0-0 draw with Toulouse, Frederick Hantz was without the services of Yassin El Azzouzi and Matthieu Sans, however he is expected to have a full squad available for the trip to Marseille.
Bastia’s firm position in Ligue 1 has been helped by a number of key things. Anthony Modeste has surprised most by notching 12 Ligue goals already, putting him joint 6th in the goals table. Also, since confirming the signing of ex-Lille man Mickaël Landreau, the defence has tightened up considerably, as Bastia averaged 2.5 goals a game conceded in the opening months compared to just 1.2 per game conceded at all in the last 2 months.
Former Marseille man Toifilou Maoulida currently earns a living for Bastia and has netted 6 times for the Corsicans this season, making 18 starts. During his time at Marseille he only managed 10 goals in 50 Ligue 1 starts.
Expected line-up and formation:

Landreau
Cioni Marchal Harek Palmieri
Fatty Cahuzac
Khazri Rothen Thauvin
Modeste

During the 0-0 draw with Toulouse the majority of Bastia’s attacks were started down their left side (44% compared to 33% on the right). It can be expected that they will try the same against Marseille, perhaps seeing Abdallah as a weak point, just as Lorient tried to exploit last week. Their average player positions also saw Cioni and Palmieri play very high lines. Should this be the case again then Sougou and/or Kadir should have lots of space to exploit on the break.

Summary

Marseille have won the last 3 games between these 2 teams. The last win was at the Furani in a game behind closed doors that OM won 2-1. Bastia’s last win was in 2004 were they ran out 4-1 winners at home. At the Velodrome, Marseille have won 18 of the 23 encounters, Bastia have only won once, in 1972. As a result, hopefully this trend will continue and give OM one hand on a Champions League place.
Predicted score: Marseille 2v0 Bastia

Selected odds (Bet365 correct at time of publication)
Marseille: 1.53
Draw: 4.00
Bastia: 6.00

Weekend Fixtures:
Saint-Etienne 0v0 Bordeaux
Reims v Ajaccio
Toulouse v Lille
Montpellier v Brest
Troyes v Evian
Sochaux v Lorient
Rennes v Nice
Nancy v Lyon
psg v Valenciennes

Remaining fixtures
10-12 May:
Lille v Reims
Marseille v Toulouse
Brest v Sochaux
Valenciennes v Rennes
Bastia v Montpellier
Ajaccio v Troyes
Bordeaux v Nancy
Lorient v Saint-Etienne
Evian v Nice
Lyon v psg

17-19 May:
Nice v Lyon
Montpellier v Lille
psg v Brest
Rennes v Ajaccio
Reims v Lorient
Saint-Etienne v Marseille
Nancy v Bastia
Troyes v Bordeaux
Sochaux v Toulouse
Evian v Valenciennes

26 May:
Bastia v Sochaux
Lyon v Rennes
Brest v Nancy
Valenciennes v Troyes
Toulouse v Montpellier
Lorient v psg
Ajaccio v Nice
Bordeaux v Evian
Marseille v Reims
Lille v Saint-Etienne

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

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12th 1-0 win, 7th clean sheet in a row. OM just keep winning ugly

27/4/13 –16:00 (UK)
FC Lorient 0v1 Marseille
Stade du Moustoir, Lorient – Att 17395

Valbuena But

Team: Mandanda – Fanni (57′ Abdallah) Nkoulou Mendes Morel – Cheyrou Romao – jAyew Valbuena 1 (83′ Barton) aAyew – Gignac (91′ Amalfitano)

Marseille kept the pressure on the other teams at the top end of Ligue 1 with a typically disciplined performance against Lorient, as a single goal again proved to be the difference between Marseille and their opponents.

During the opening exchanges Lorient closed down well, with both teams struggling to find any space in a tight midfield. While Monnet-Paquet was the Lorient target down their right, Valbuena provided the most threatening runs and delivery for OM, his free kick on 7 minutes forcing Audard to push the ball round the post. OM’s next chance fell to ex-Lorient man Romao. Neat play down the left between Andre Ayew and Valbuena resulted in Romao dragging a half volley just wide of Audard’s near post.

The game could have changed on 20 minutes when Lucas Mendes cleared off the goal line to keep Mandanda’s clean sheet record intact. Baca broke into the box and shot from a tight angle at Mandanda, as the ball looped up off Mandanda, Mendes managed to volley the ball out of danger before the ball crossed the line.

The incident seemed to spark OM into life, who despite dominating possession had not threatened Audard too greatly. As the game opened up both teams enjoyed more space. Cheyrou played the ball into some of this space on the left for Gignac, who immediately played in Andre Ayew. Ayew’s shot was right at Audard and as the ball bounced out of the box, Valbuena was first to it and shot past the covering defenders for his 5th goal of the season.

After another Lorient break against Morel, Lorient this time did manage to get the ball past Mandanda. The resulting corner from Monnet-Paquet’s run was drilled in to Aliadière. As the ball was returned to Jouffre he cut inside and drilled a powerful shot past Mandanda. Fortunately for the OM defenders the assistant correctly judged that Jouffre had picked the ball up in an offside position.

As half time approached Lorient were beginning to look like the team likeliest to score next. Les Merlus players coped better with the artificial surface and continually pressed the OM team into making mistakes, Gignac and Valbuena were both caught in possession on the half way line leading to Lorient breaks forward.

For the majority of the second half both teams struggled to create any clear chances. Lorient continued to try and exploit Morel’s ‘weakness’ through Monnet-Paquet but consistent poor deliveries into the box meant the Lorient strikers rarely showed any danger of ending Mandanda’s clean sheet streak.

With the enforced substitution of Rod Fanni due to a knock, Lorient began to target the Marseille right more than they had been. Clearly seeing Abdallah as a weaker player than Morel. Their probing down the OM right almost paid off too as Auret struck a rasping shot off Mandanda’s cross bar.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Elie Baup decided to shut up shop and play rather defensively in the final stages of the game. The introduction of Barton for Valbuena left OM playing almost 4-5-1 when defending. As a result Lorient were restricted to shots from distance that never really troubled Mandanda.

Gignac Injury

As the game drew to a close the game became rather heated. First of all Gignac was clipped and pushed in the face. His protests about the challenges resulted in a booking for him as he was stretchered off the pitch and also a booking for Gassama and Jordan Ayew. Minutes later Barton was booked for a trip on Sunu, just before the full time whistle. The card action didn’t end there though as a scuffling Audard and Andre Ayew were both red carded after full time to put a slight damping on another solid win.

Ayew Red

Confirmation is awaited on the severity of Fanni’s injury, but initial reports expect him to be out for 7-10 days, making it likely that he will sit out next week’s game against Bastia along with Andre Ayew.

This was another great win for Marseille against a Lorient team who had only been beaten once at home before this game and had averaged 2 goals a game at home too.

Tough to give a man of the match for this team effort. Special mentions must go to Mandanda who kept up a stunning record of clean sheets, pulling off a number of superb saves in the process. Much maligned Jeremy Morel also played well, and despite being beaten on some occasions by Monnet-Paquet managed to put enough pressure on him to ensure there was rarely a good cross delivered from the right.

Reaction from Steve Mandanda: “I hope this is the victory that will ensure our place in the top three. This is a very important weekend and a very important victory, because Lille lost points at home and there is also a direct confrontation between Lyon and Saint-Étienne. We continued on our way, it was a very important win tonight. We won by our favourite score, 1-0, and in the end, it’s three points, like any other win. With four or five games to go we will not play like Barcelona. We play how we know how to, with the goal of taking three points.” (From ligue1.com)

Goals & highlights

Weekend fixtures:
Lille 3v3 Sochaux
Brest 0v2 Rennes
Valenciennes 0v0 Nancy
Bastia 0v0 Toulouse
Ajaccio 2v1 Montpellier
Bordeaux 0v0 Reims
Lyon 1v1 Saint-Etienne
Nice 3v1 Troyes
Evian 0v1 psg

Allez l’OM (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Lorient v Marseille – 27/04/13 – Match Preview

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27/4/13 –16:00 (UK)
Lorient v Marseille
Stade du Moustoir, Lorient
Ref. – Benoit Millot

Marseille will look to go 8 games unbeaten and keep the psg title champagne on ice with a win on Saturday as they travel to Brittany to face an in form FC Lorient team. 6 games without conceding a goal have also helped keep OM in touch with the Ligue leaders. Lorient have only lost one in their last 6 and have also made it into the Coupe de France semi-finals after seeing off Sainte-Etienne in the 1/4s.

Olympique de Marseille
Elie Baup has a fully fit squad at his disposal made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Mendes, Diawara, Morel, Romao, Cheyrou, Barton, A. Ayew, Valbuena, Amalfitano, Kadir, Sougou, Gignac and J. Ayew.
Elie Baup’s main selection dilemma will stem from the right midfield position. Despite having in a successful season on the face of things, 7 Ligue 1 goals, these have came from 21 starts and he has provided no assists. Although it could be argued that he is not a right midfielder, and that the majority of his goals have come from a striker role, it seems wrong that he takes a starting role on the right side ahead of Kadir, Sougou or even the long lost Amalfitano.
Marseille should look to exploit the weakened Lorient defence. They have showed a number of times that they struggle against counter attacks and through balls. This is an area that Marseille demonstrate some capabilities in, thought never seem to be able to complete the counter attack with a goal. We seem to get into the final 3rd, get the ball to Gignac and there is no one in support.
Expected line up and formation:

Mandanda
Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel
Romao Cheyrou
Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew
Gignac

FC Lorient
In contrast Christian Gourcuff has a lengthy injury list. Confirmed absentees are: Chaigneau, Koutouan, Alain Traoré, Lamine Koné, Coutadeur, Lucas Mareque, Arnaud Le Lan, Quercia, Wesley Lautoa and Cheike Touré.
The squad he has available to him consists of: GK – Audard, Lecompte; DEF – Ecuele Manga, Pedrinho, Bourillon, Baca, Gassama; MID – Monnet-Paquet, Corgnet, Barthelmé, Auret, Lemina, Jouffre, Reale; ATT – Aliadière, Sunu, Robert, Guily.
Despite the obvious frailties and lack of personnel in defence, Lorient more than make up for this with their quality and effort in midfield and attack. Aliadière in particular will be looking to add to his 15 goals this season. Marseille’s high defensive line may help them as Aliadière is prone to being caught offside.
Expected line up and formation:

Audard
Gassama Ecuele Bourillon Baca
Monnet-Paquet Corgnet Lemina Barthelmé
Aliadière Jouffre

Summary
Marseille just have the edge in recent meetings between the 2 sides with 4 wins to 2 in Lorient. Lasts seasons game strangely occurred in week 34 too, and saw the home side pick up a 2-1 victory, Valbuena netted Marseille’s only goal.

Predicted result:
Lorient 1v2 Marseille

Selected odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publishing)
Lorient: 3.10
Draw: 3.10
Marseille: 2.40

Other Ligue 1 Fixtures:
Wed:
Rennes 1v2 Troyes
Saint-Etienne 4v2 Ajaccio
Fri:
Lille v Sochaux
Sat:
Brest v Rennes
Valenciennes v Nancy
Bastia v Toulouse
Ajaccio v Montpellier
Bordeaux v Reims
Sun:
Lyon v Saint-Etienne
Nice v Troyes
Evian v psg

Allez l’OM (Swanny @Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Marseille 1v0 Brest – Marseille hold firm to go 2nd

20/4/13
Marseille 1v0 Brest
Stade Velodrome, Marseille – Att. 33,316

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Team: Mandanda – Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel – Cheyrou 1 (’88 Barton), Romao – J. Ayew, Valbuena (’90 Kadir), A. Ayew – Gignac (’83 Sougou)

Marseille managed to keep a clean sheet for the 6th game in a row, won 1-0 for the 10th time this season and stretched their unbeaten run to 7 games to ensure they finish the weekend in 2nd place. A lone Cheyrou goal made sure that Marseille are in the driving seat for Champions League football next season as they head into the last 5 games of the season.

As expected Brest started the game well, keeping possession of the ball and restricting Marseille’s forward play. After 10 minutes though OM began to press a great deal harder, particularly in the final 3rd, putting the Brest defenders under pressure, encouraging mistakes and winning a few corners and free kicks. Marseille were still not threatening the Brest goal too often, Andre Ayew coming closest with a couple of headers.
As we have come to expect, OM hardly set the world alight with much of their play for the rest of the first half. Mendy managed well in the Brest defence, though they struggled to play in Benschop, Raspentino’s long ball rarely finding the lone striker.
A positive moment from Romao changed the outlook for OM though, as he ventured forward for possibly the first time. After taking the ball round 3 Brest players he was eventually felled by Coulibaly. Contact was minimal between the players, but Romao ensured referee Benoit Bastien gave a free kick. After booking Coulibaly, the referee allowed Cheyrou to take the kick from 25 yards. He lifted the ball past the 4 man wall and it beat Thebaux via the near post.
Just as in the first half, Brest started the better side. Within minutes Benschop had tested Mandanda from distance. Having coped with the initial attack from Brest, Marseille once again found their footing. Andre Ayew created a few chances, Valbuena also. Jordan Ayew continued with his inconsistent form with some good chances, including a late deflected shot coupled with a header on goal that almost hit the corner flag.
On 70 minutes Marseille had the ball in the goal again, Valbuena’s delivery from a free kick was met with the head of Lucas Mendes who thought he had grabbed his first goal, only for it to be ruled out for offside.
With some Brest substitutions, OM loan man Rapentino was brought into a central position where he began to create problems. He continued to show good ball control and vision, though he was often let down by his team mates.
For the final 10 minutes Brest pushed for an equaliser, and OM sat deeper and deeper. Although this meant that OM had little to offer going forward, it helped to protect Mandanda who only had a few shots to deal with as SB29 failed to create many clear cut chances.
As the full time whistle blew, the relief was clear for all to see. Another clinical and perhaps ugly 1-0 win, but given the pressure that that late Lyon win had put on Marseille, we have to be happy to finish the weekend in 2nd.

Man of the match – Benoit Cheyrou.
Cheyrou has continued to show his quality since returning from injury and the first half today was no different. An industrious performance that culminated with an excellent goal. Although he tired into the 2nd half before his substitution, his contribution to the team cannot be ignored.
Special mentioned for a solid Lucas Mendes and Steve Mandanda.

Reaction
Elie Baup: ‘This is not the first 1-0 and I don’t think it will be our last. We struggled in the game, but as we won 1-0, it’s still good. We have made progress, compared to the beginning of the season, we are better in these situations’. (OM.net)

Goals & Highlights

Weekend Fixtures:
Montpellier 1v2 Lyon
Bastia 1v2 Lille
Reims 0v1 Valenciennes
Toulouse 0v1 Lorient
Nancy 3v1 Evian
Sochaux 2v2 Bordeaux
psg v Nice
Coupe de la Ligue: Saint-Etienne 1v0 Rennes

Allez l’OM
Swanny (Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Marseille v Brest – 20/04/13 – Match Preview

20/4/13 –16:00 (UK)
Marseille v Brest
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Ref. – Benoit Bastien

Marseille will keep up their hopes up of Champions League football as they face relegation threatened Stade Brestois at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday afternoon. Recent wins over Nice and Bordeaux coupled with difficult away draws with Lyon and Lille have put OM in a good position to finish 2nd ahead of Lyon. Brest on the other hand are looking to avoid a 6th successive defeat, during which they have conceded 2 or more goals 4 times, twice suffering 0-4 losses.

Olympique de Marseille

With Lyon’s last gasp winner against Montpellier on Friday evening, Marseille need a win to finish the weekend in 2nd place and keep a little pressure on psg. Elie Baup has no new injury concerns after last weeks return of Mathieu Valbuena.
The full Marseille squad for the game is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Diawra, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Abdallah, Cheyrou, Romao, Barton, Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew, Kadir, Sougou, J. Ayew and Gignac.
The efficiency of OM recently has seen them continue with positive results despite only registering 2 goals in the last 5 games. This consistency of results has been helped with solid defensive displays despite numerous questions over the ability and form of Mandanda, Nkoulou, Mendes and Morel all season.
A big win would help improve the confidence further as we reach the final 5 games, and really would help with the push for Champions League football next season.
Likely starting line up and formation:

Mandanda
Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel
Cheyrou Romao
Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew
Gignac

Stade Brestois 29

Brest’s poor form since the winter break has seen them slide from 13th to 19th, they have spent the last 3 weeks in the relegation zone. With only 2 wins and 2 draws since the winter break, and with games against Sochaux, psg and Nancy coming up, Landry Chauvin really needs his team to start putting some results together.
Marseille will need to be wary of the long ball from Brest as they look to play in Benschop with attacking support from Touré and Raspentino.
Despite their form, Brest’s last 3 wins have all come away from home, against Sochaux, Evian and Bordeuax. They have a tendency to start and end games well scoring 7 (24%) of their goals in the first 15 minutes and 18 (62%) of their goals in the final 30 minutes!
The player to watch for Brest will surely be Florian Raspentino. Having signed in the summer for Marseille and after barely being given a chance, Raspentino was shipped out on loan to Brest. Since then he has started 12 games for them and netted 3 times, showing promising pace, skills and shooting accuracy as well as an astute positioning sense. It goes without saying that he would probably enjoy showing Elie Baup and the Velodrome faithful what they have been missing this season.
Brest likely starting line-up and formation:

Thébaux
Traoré Martial Kantari Mendy
Auras Sissoko
Touré Grougi Raspentino
Benschop

At the Stade Velodrome, Brest have never registered a win, Marseille registering 7 against 2 draws. Last seasons 1-1 draw came amid OM’s terrible start to the season and Mandanda gifted Brest the lead within the first 5 minutes. Andre Ayew rescued OM on that day and hopefully both of those players will be back at their best today.
Predicted score: Marseille 2-0 Brest

Selected odds (Bet365 correct at time of publication)
Marseille: 1.36
Draw: 4.50
Brest: 9.00

Weekend Fixtures:
Montpellier 1v2 Lyon
Bastia v Lille
Reims v Valenciennes
Toulouse v Lorient
Nancy v Evian
Sochaux v Bordeaux
psg v Nice
Coupe de la Ligue: Saint-Etienne v Rennes

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Lille v Marseille – 14/04/13 – Match Preview

14/4/13 –20:00 (UK)

Lille v Marseille

Grand Stade Lille Metropole, Lille

Ref. – Willfried Bien

 

Marseille head north to face Lille in a game that could have far reaching consequqnces to the hopes of either teams season. A win for OM keeps them in with a (very) outside chance of winning the ligue, whereas a Lille win would cement their chances of European football next season.

 

Ellie Baup’s side have continued showing their efficiency this season, and have currently only suffered 1 defeat in their last 8 games (0-2 at the hands of psg). Last week’s solid performance against Bordeaux was without OM’s star man this season Mathieu Valbuena, and OM will be pleased that he returns for this game. The full OM squad consists of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Diawra, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Abdallah, Cheyrou, Romao, Barton, Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew, Kadir, Sougou, J. Ayew and Gignac.

The starting 11 is likely to be the same as against Bordeuax, with Valbuena reclaiming a starting berth ahead of Jordan Ayew. Likely line up and formation:

Mandanda

Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Cheyrou Romao

Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew

Gignac

 

In terms of form, Lille have put together an excellent run since the beginning of February. Like Marseille, they have only been defeated once in their last 8 matches, however they have won all of the other 7 games! The last defeat came in week 29 with a shock 1-2 defeat at home at the hands of Evian. Rudi Garcia’s side thrashed Lorient 5-0 last week and will be full of confidence, therefore OM’s tight defence will need to help silence les dogues fans and players alike.

Dimitri Payet is in fantastic form and will undoubtedly cause Rod Fanni some problems at right back. Cover and support from Chyrou or Romao would certainly be beneficial to help restrict his influence on the Lille attack. The Marseille defence will also need to be wary of Salomon Kalou, who has hit a fine patch of form, netting 6 times in the last 6 games. Likely line up and formation

Elana

Beria Basa Chedjou Digne

Gueye Balmont

Rodelin Martin Payet

Kalou

 

In the last 5 years the spoils have been shared well between these teams when playing in Lille, with 2 wins apiece and 1 draw. I’d expect this to be a tight game, with OM frustrating Lille and restricting their chances more effectively that Lorient did last week.

Predicted score: Lille 1v1 Marseille

 

Allez l’OM

Marseille v Bordeaux – 05/04/13 – Match Preview

5/4/13 – 19:30 (UK – Live on ESPN)

Marseille v Bordeaux

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Ref. – Tony Chapron

 

Bordeaux travel to the Stade Velodrome in a match that could potentially dubbed the ‘classi-bore’ based on the general opinion of the 2 teams playing styles.

Marseille’s last game came away to Nice, and a disciplined performance ensured a narrow 1-0 win. A similarly tight defensive performance against Bordeaux should ensure that a single goal would give OM the victory tonight too.

Marseille are without Valbuena and so Kadir will be given a starting place, and Jordan will replace his injured brother, Andre Ayew. Cheyrou and Romao keep their respective places ahead of Joey Barton.

Starting line up and formation:

Mandanda

Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Romao Cheyrou

Sougou Kadir J. Ayew

Gignac

Subs: Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Bartib, Abdullah, Amalfitano

 

Bordeaux have not one in their last 3 away games, but over the course of the season they boast a commendable record of having only conceded 11 goals in 15 games. They will be  without Nguemo, Rolan and Henrique for this game and will likely line up as follows:

Carasso

Mariano Planus Sane Trmoulinas

Sertic Plasil

Saivet Obraniak Maurice-Belay

Diabate

 

Most people are expecting this televised game to be a dull affair, and I can’t see many of those being disappointed. One goal will likely settle this game.

Predicted result:

Marseille 1-0 Bordeaux