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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