Marseille return to Champions League action against Naopli still looking to get their first points on the board. If OM have any hopes of making 3rd place, and dropping into the Europa League they must win.
A break in defeats was welcomed at the weekend, however, a draw against Rennes is still disappointing for a team that help title hopes at the start of the season. The result may have also given Elie Baup a very slight reprieve from calls for him to be axed, but fans are still anxious for a positive performance on the European front.
This is unlikely to come easily against a Napoli team now second in Serie A, who have won all 3 games since the 2 teams last met, scoring twice in each game and only conceding 2 in total.
Andre Ayew returns to the squad with Laurent Abergel making way for him. Lucas Mendes and Rod Fanni are still out.
The full Marseille squad is: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Thauvin, Lemina, J. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet
Most of the squad line up will be fairly predictable, but with Gignac making way for Jordan Ayew in the ligue, he may opt to play the inconsistent youngster in Europe too.
Likely line up and formation:
Abdallah – Nkoulou – Diawara – Morel
Romao – Imbula
Payet – Valbuena – A. Ayew
Napoli managed to restrict OM’s creativity quite well in the last game and it would be understandable for them to play a high defensive line again to stifle Valbuena’s options. If he has to unload the ball nearer the middle of the field, it leaves Ayew and Payet with a great deal more running, increases the amount of support required by Abdallah and Morel, therefore leaving OM susceptible to the swift Napoli counter-attack that we seen so often last time out.
If OM want to push for what would be condered by most as a shock win they may need to look for a change in formation. A 4-1-4-1 formation with Imbula making way for Thauvin would allow A. Ayew and Valbuena greater freedom to support each other and their respective wingers. Or a 4-4-2 formation with Gignac and J. Ayew up front would mean APG could support Ayew on the left, Jordan could support Payet on the right and create greater space for Valbuena to try and exploit through the centre.
Fingers crossed for an entertaining game though, and here’s hoping for a much better OM performance.
Andrew (@Aswanny84 & @marseilleUK)