Monthly Archives: September 2013

Toulouse – Marseille – 14/09/13 – Match Preview

14/09/13 – 16:00 (UK – Replayed BTsport 1 15/09 8:30)
Ligue 1 – Game 5
Toulouse – Marseille
Stade Municipal, Toulouse

After a week of international duties, the OM squad are back in action against Mediterranean neighbours, Toulouse. With both sides having lost their last Ligue 1 game 1-2, they will both be keen to get their season back on track. Marseille had a very good start picking up 3 wins from three before the Monaco defeat, in stark contrast to Toulouse who have yet to win, although they did manage a more than respectable draw away with Monaco in week 3.



After an excellen first half diaply against Monaco, Elie Baup will hope to inspire his squad into a full 90 minute performance. Improvements must be made in defence, and hopes are that Payet’s poor performance in the last few games is not a permanent dip in form.

Diawara is not part of the squad, after his injury in the Monaco game and Andrew Ayew returned from international duty with Ghana injured. However the team will be buoyed with inclusion of new signings Mario Lemina and Florian Thauvin, the latter likely to start given Ayew’s absence.

Full OM squad: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Thauvin, Lemina, J. Ayew, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet.

Expected line up:


Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Romao Imbula

Payet Valbuena Thauvin




Alain Cassanova’s side are looking for their first win of the season and have also only managed 1 goal every other game, so hopefully the shaky OM defence may get a slight break compared to facing Falcao and co last time out.

It should be noted that traditionally Toulouse are a solid team, therefore goals may not necessarily come easy for OM, and should TFC breech the Marseille hull, the home side would defend resolutely so it could be a tougher game than it initially appears. Toulouse will hope that new signing Chentome can bring out the best of Ben Yedder and help strengthen TFC when going forwards.

Full Toulouse squad: Ali-Ahamada, Blondel, Issiaga, Sylla, Moubandje, Ninkov, Abdennour, Spajic, Leoni, Aurier, Aguilar, Sirieix, Regattin, Trejo, Didot, Chantome, Ben Yedder, Delgado, Braithwaite.

Likely starting line up:


Spajic Abdennour Aurier

Regattin Didot Chantome Trejo Sylla

Ben-Yedder Braithwaite


So early in the season this could be a make or break game for both sides. A win for OM and it keeps them in contention with psg and Monaco, showing that they do still have some title credentials. A loss may show them to being just, one of the best of the rest. Equally a loss for Toulouse, could signal them as being a side in real trouble this season.   

Marseille are unbeaten in their last 6 trips to Toulouse.

Marseille have only lost twive in their last 16 ligue games.

Gignac has scored 22 goals at the Stade Municipal, more than any other.


Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 13th
Bordeaux 0-2 psg 
Sat 14th
Valenciennes – Saint-Etienne
Nantes – Sochaux
Montpellier – Reims
Guingamp – Bastia
Ajaccio – Evian
Sun 15th
Monaco – Lorient
Lille – Nice
Lyon – Rennes


Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)

Marseille News – September

Game against Istres

On Thursday morning Marseille ‘reserves’ played against Istres. Elie Baup used this game as an opportunity to give Mendes and Mendy some pitch time together, along with allowing Jordan Ayew a chance to stretch his legs for a full 90 minutes. Recent summer signings Thauvin and Khalifa also put some playing time under their belts with the former playing 57 minutes and the latter playing the full 90 and scoring his first OM goal.

Leroy had opened the scoring for Istres in the 5th minute, but Khalifa equalised just minutes before half time. Both teams had opportunities to claim the win in the 2nd half, but couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Marseille: Samba – Abdallah, Aloé, Mendes, Mendy – Bangoura (Ephestion, 73), Cheyrou – Abergel (Osei, 83), Thauvin (N’doumbou, 57), Khalifa – J. Ayew.

Istres: Balijon (Lejeune, 80) – Chafik (Bousqui, 61), Sainati (Bocognano, 61), Barrillon, Le Goff (Cantareil, 64) – Boulaya, Tardieu (Belmonte, 54) – Da Cruz (Mas, 64), Leroy, Dabo – Allart


Jose Anigo’s son

Unfortunately just a few hours after the game against Istres had finished, news began to emerge that Aiden Anigo, son of Marseille’s sporting director, Jose Anigo had been killed.

Aiden, 30, was shot at point-blank range when he was getting out of his car, before the gunmen fled the scene on motorbikes. This was just hours after another man had been killed as he arrived at work in La Ciotat, some 20 miles outside of Marseille.

These 2 murders brings the total to 15 since the start of the year. Most are thought to be as a result of drugs trafficking and organised by rival gangs. Just last month, Prime-minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault ordered 130 extra riot police and 24 investigators to travel to Marseille to help with the situation.

We hope that this situation can be resolved, as Marseille already struggles with its image, and in the year of it being the European Capital of Culture, the last thing needed is more bad press. Despite the killings reportedly being between those involved in drugs trafficking and taking place in the rougher suburbs, we don’t need more bad press and people put of visiting our improving city.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jose Anigo and his family at this awful time.



Transfer window

At the close of the summer transfer window, there are many things we can be thankful for as Marseille fans. Firstly, incomings. OM have made some excellent signings and it is encouraging to see the club backing Elie Baup financially, something they failed to do with Deschamps in his final season. The players we have signed are young, predominantly French, and filled with potential.

Florian Thauvin – Signed from Lille, despite never playing for them. Really breaking onto the scene last season as an attacking midfielder, and was part of the French Under 20 squad that won the world cup last year. The only sour point, is the manner in which he forced a move away from Lille. This obviously worked in our favour, hopefully it won’t work against us in the future.

Saber Khalifa – Signed from Evian, noted for his memorable goal from inside his own half last season. Khalifa is a solid striker, who works hard and can run with the ball too.

Dimitri Payet – Signed from Lille, and with 3 goals from his first 4 games, we have seen a glimpse of what he can do. Playing as an attacking (right) midfielder, Payet has quality close control, but also has a wicked shot.

Gianelli Imbula – Signed from Guingamp and is a solid defensive midfielder who was awarded the Ligue 2 player of the year award last season when he helped Guingamp to promotion to Ligue 1.

Mario Lemina – 20 year old signed from Lorient who plays as a central midfielder. May be unlikely to start too often this season, but is definitely one for the future having played for the France Under 20 and Under 21 squads.

Benjamin Mendy – Left back who signed from La Havre who also has French under 18 and 19 caps to his name. Had a solid debut for OM against Guingamp before making way for the fit again Jeremy Morel.


Secondly, outgoings. Or more specifically, lack of outgoings. We have managed to keep hold of our highest profile players, Nkoulou, Mandanda and Valbuena, whilst loaning out players who will undoubtedly benefit from playing actual Ligue 1 football.

Rafidine Abdullah – Sold to Lorient as part of the Mario Lemina deal. Disappointing to see him leave after a promising debut season with OM.  We wish him best of luck at Lorient.

Morgan Amalfitano – Loaned to West Brom. The departure was inevitable after an ineffective season last year, and little improvement this season. Hopefully he will have a positive impact on the team and return to OM with an improved attitude and commitment.

Foued Kadir – Loaned to Rennes. Another player we are dissapointed to see leave, but has not really shown his potential in an OM shirt yet. This could be because Baup has limited his pitch time to 10 minute substitute appearances.

Florian Raspentino – Loaned to Bastia. After quite a successful (on a personal level) with Brest last season, Raspentino will hopefully continue to develop with Corsican side Bastia.

Billel Omrani – Loaned to Ligue 2, Arles Avignon. Not the greatest of starts as he was red carded after coming on in his first game. But will hopefully learn from this and could perhaps look for a Ligue 1 loan next season.

Modou Sougou – Loaned to Evian. Has struggled in his first few games for Evian, but could do very well as he continues to learn about the French game.


Champions League

Marseille were drawn against Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli in the Champions League. As always we will bring you previews of these games, with insight from the opposition fans too. When Marseille were last in the Champions League, 2 seasons ago, they were also in the same group as Arsenal and Dortmund. We managed to qualify that year, though the group looks decidedly more difficult this year. Arsenal look much the better for having Mesut Ozil in their squad. Dortmund were beaten in last year’s final, and Napoli are string outsiders despite having undergone management changes over the summer.


Champions League Squad

Marseille have named their 23 man Champions League squad. There are no suprise ommisions, but 4th choice ‘keeper Yirango is included.

30. Mandanda, 1. Bracigliano, 16. Samba, 40. Yirango, 2. Abdallah, 3. Nkoulou, 4. Mendes, 15. Morel, 21. Diawara, 23. Mendy, 24. Fanni, 7. Cheyrou, 12. Osei, 13. Lemina, 14. Thauvin, 20. Romao, 25. Imbula, 28. Valbuena, 9. Gignac, 10. A. Ayew, 12. J. Ayew, 17. Payet, 29. Khalifa.

Marseille 1-2 Monaco Match Report

Disappointment, anger, frustration, annoyance. Those, just some of the feelings OM fans would’ve been feeling after their 1-2 defeat at home to Monaco. Supposedly, there is now a ‘big 3’ in Ligue 1 and OM have been included in that trio. Here was a chance facing a direct championship rival to lay down a marker and prove that they were legitimate contenders. 1-0 up at HT, things were looking great, but a 2nd half riddled with defensive mistakes was to cost Elie Baup’s men dearly. In some ways, this was actually Marseille’s best performance of the season, for sure there were a handful of positives. But as was said beforehand, any defensive mistakes would NOT go unpunished by a side like Monaco, and that was the case.

Good first half and Mendes goal

Jeremy Morel’s injury meant that Benjamin Mendy had to start at left back. He struggled all night and looked out of his depth facing the likes of Ocampos, Carrasco and Fabinho. OM were dealt another injury blow early on when Diawara was forced off. Lucas Mendes took over to make his first appearance of the season. Monaco had the first major chance when Fabinho slid a shot wide, but OM were generally the better side. The likes of Imbula, Ayew and Valvuena all started impressively and the hosts were having some joy on both wings. The atmosphere at the Velodrome was intense, you really knew that this was a crunch match between potential title rivals.

OM kept knocking on the door without reward. Andre Ayew was especially impressive and it was he who came closest by grazing the post. At the other end, Monaco had occasional moments where they looked dangerous, but in general OM defended fairly well in the 1st half. Elie Baup’s men were rewarded for their efforts just before the interval when Lucas Mendes headed home from a corner. The Velodrome went wild and fans were really happy at halftime.  It had been a very satisfying period, topped off by converting dominance into a goal. But things were to change dramatically after the break…..

2nd half slump as Monaco take control

For those who doubt Monaco’s ‘team ethics’ or Claudio Ranieri’s motivational skills then they only need take a look at the 2nd half here to be proved wrong. I don’t know what was said in the Monaco dressing room but their players came out with a clear point to prove and were very motivated. They camped themselves constantly in the OM half at the start of the period and the pressure eventually paid off when Falcao scored. Mendes and Nkoulou were out of position as the Columbian couldn’t miss from only a few yards out. All of that hard work which Marseille had put into the game was undone by this awful passage of play just after HT.

To be fair, OM did respond well after conceding an equaliser. They put a lot of effort into try and get back ahead and were unlucky not to score again. Gignac and Valbuena both had chances but the closest the hosts came was through Andre Ayew who hit the post. The difference in this 2nd half was that Monaco were far more dangerous though and seemed to grow in strength as the half went on. A key moment in the game was Falcao getting injured around the 70 minute mark. I’m sure many OM fans breathed a sigh of relief when the Colombian hitman left the field, but unfortunately his departure was to benefit the visitors. In-form man Emmanuel Riviere came on and he looked really good in the last 20 mins. He should’ve given Monaco the lead within minutes of his arrival but Steve Mandanda made an excellent save at his feet. The OM custodian had been forced to deny Carrasco not too long before and suddenly France’s number 2 had become a very busy man.

At the worst stage of the game, OM were faltering. Monaco’s extra pace in attack was causing them problems and the defence was getting tired. Lucas Mendes showed heavy legs and Nkoulou seemed all over the place. Monaco took the lead with 10 mins left through Riviere. Joao Moutinho supplied the assist and Riviere found himself clear of the backline. This time he made no mistake and converted easily past Mandanda. Sadly, OM had no response after this and looked clueless. They failed to create a single meaningful equalising opportunity and the visitors held on pretty comfortably. Overall, it was a very disappointing end to a match which had initially promised so much……………

Things I liked:-

  • Andre Ayew. He produced one of his best performances for quite some time here and deserved at least a goal for his efforts. The Ghanaian played primarily both on the left & right wing but he seemed to pop up almost everywhere on the field! There has been some talk that this could be his last ever game for OM. If this is true then he went out in style.

  • Player commitment. OK, so there were some poor performances within the OM side but I liked the fight and commitment shown by everyone in this match. Sometimes there are guys out there who look lazy and not up for it, but in all fairness nobody seemed to be acting that way in this fixture.

  • The Velodrome atmosphere. With one side of the stadium not even in action, a full house of 48,000 watched this match and there was an electric atmosphere within the ground. I can’t wait for The Velodrome to be fully finished because its going to generate one hell of a noise.

Things I didn’t like:-

  • The defence. I exclude Rod Fanni from this because I believe he was fairly respectable here. But Nicolas Nkoulou looks completely out of sorts this season, He’s making stupid errors and every goal OM have conceded this year he’s had at least partial responsibility. He needs to sort it out, and quickly. Lucas Mendes scored here but looks unfit, and whilst I’ve no doubt that Benjamin Mendy can become a star player for us, he looked very very uncomfortable in this game.

  • Payet and Gignac. I have previously talked about the Payet – Valbuena – Gignac triangle. Well, it was completely non existent in this game. Valbuena was forced to carry the can himself along with Andre Ayew. It’s a worry that Payet was totally invisible in a match of this magnitude. Gignac wasn’t as bad but struggled to get into the game much.

  • Elie Baup’s coaching. I wasn’t impressed by him here and he was outcoached by Ranieri. Whatever was said at HT it didn’t work and OM were slow out of the blocks, costing them dearly. By about the 65th minute it was obvious Monaco were starting to gain the upper hand but Baup didn’t make any subs to try and change the game. He waited until Monaco had scored before bringing on Khelifa, but by then it was too late. Payer was clearly ineffective so why keep him on so long? Baup sadly had no answer to Monaco’s improved 2nd half display.

Player ratings (out of 10). Mandanda 6, Fanni 6, Nkoulou 3, Mendes 4, Mendy 3, Romao 4, Imbula 5, Payet 2, Valbuena 6, Andre Ayew 7, Gignac 3.