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.


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