17/08/13 – 16:00 (UK – Replayed 18/08/13 08:00 on BTsport 1)
Ligue 1 – Game 2
Marseille – Evian Thonon Gaillard
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
After an incredible start to their first Ligue 1 game of the season against Guingamp, Marseille take on Evian in their first home game. With all 3 of Baup’s new signings hitting the ground running in Brittany, the coach will look to repeat last season’s early run of form and make it two wins from two. Having avoided relegation by 2 points last season, Evian will hope to secure safety a little earlier, although they have lost some of their more high-profile players and struggled to replace those. The Stade Velodrome has continued to be revamped over the summer and will have an increased capacity of around 48,000 for this game. The game is close to a sell-out and FIFA president Michel Platini also be in attendance.
Lacking match practice, Elie Baup again indicated that it would be unlikely that Saber Klhifa would feature on Saturday, this time against his former club, instead it he may be handed his debut in week 3 against Valenciennes. Baup should have no injury concerns as it would appear that Mandanda, Valbuena, Payet, Nkoulou and Kadir all returned from their international duties unscathed.
Continuing to work on his fitness, Lucas Mendes may be deemed fit enough to start, especially given the rather shaky performance from the defensive partnership of Nkoulou and Diawara last week. There is no reason for Baup to make any other changes to the squad or formation. He should certainly encourage even more of the creativity that Valbuena and Payet showed last week, as well as some of the link up play with Gignac, and encourage APG’s shots from directly from cutting in if OM are struggling to find the ETG goal.
Full Marseille squad is: Mandanda, Samba, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Imbula, Kadir, Romao, Valbuena, J. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Payet.
Avoiding relegation again will probably be the main target for Pascal Dupraz and his side this season. Having lost Yanick Sagbo and Saber Klhifa over the summer, ETG’s main replacements are Benezet from Ligue 2’s Nimes and our very own Sougou (the latter only on loan). Sougou is not expected to play and Brice Dja Djedje is suspended, so they will primarily rely on the striking partnership of Berigaud and Barbosa.
Marseille will have to be wary of Evian’s attacking threat from set pieces, especially given their weaknesses in previous seasons along with last week’s poor 2nd half showing against Guingamp. Evian’s opening goal in last week’s 1-1 draw with Sochaux came from a deep free kick with Ehret managing to comfortably direct the ball past Pouplin.
The full Evian squad is made up of: Laquait, Hansen, Sabaly, Ehret, Wass, Angoula, Mensah, Mongongu, Cambon, Sorlin, Koné, Barbosa, Benezet, Blanc, Bertoglio, Bérigaud, Sougou, Nsikulu. Although Sougou is not expected to start there are of course worries that he may come off the bench and cause problems. After only signing in January for OM, his loan move to ETG came as a shock to most given that he impressed in his limeted opportunities last year, so Sougou certainly has a point to prove and will hope to impress infront of the OM croud and Elie Baup.
With nothing to lose from the game there is the chance that Evian could prove to be a tricky opposition on Saturday, however, the same could have been said before the Guingamp game. Marseille comfortably demonstrated their class and ability in the 1st half against Guingamp, the main difference in the second half being Marseille’s slack passing, performance and defence. If OM perform well in both halves then a home win should be on the cards.
Marseille have won their last 8 home games.
Evian have lost their last 4 away games.
In the 6 games that Klhifa did not feature in for Evian last season they didn’t win a game, losing 4 and drawing 2.
Marseille have won both games between these 2 teams at the Velodrome (2-0 and 1-0)
Other Ligue 1 games
Sochaux – Lyon
Toulouse – Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne – Guingamp
Reims – Lille
Nice – Rennes
Bastia – Valenciennes
Monaco – Montpellier
Lorient – Nantes
psg – Ajaccio
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)