Monthly Archives: January 2014

Monaco v Marseille – 26/01/14 – Match Preview


AS Monaco v Olympique de Marseille

Stade Louis II, Monaco

26/01/14 – 20:00 (Live on BTsports1 UK)


After an incredible Coupe de France game against Nice midweek, Marseille travel along the Mediterranean to face Monaco in Ligue 1. Out of Europe, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, OM must focus on Ligue 1 now with the utmost priority and try to consolidate 3rd position, building on recent slips by Lille. One would hope that the othr teams sniffing around a European qualification spot like Nantes and Reims will run out of steam before the end of the season, however Saint-Etienne and Lyons recent resurgences will be a cause for concern for OM.

As well as putting up with negative press reports, abusive vandalism and as a result cancelling a scheduled press conference, Jose Anigo is without Nicolas Nkoulou for the game against Monaco. Although there has been no official reason given, some speculate it may have something to do with the bid from Napoli midweek. As expected, Andre Ayew also misses. The full squad is made up of Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Abergel, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Tuiloma, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Thauvin, Lemina, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet and Yousfi.

Marseille will hope that the trickery and skill of Valbuena and birthday boy Thauvin will be enough to unlock the 2nd best defence in Ligue 1, having only conceded 14 goals (OM have conceded 21). Monaco showed against Valenciennes in their last home match that they could be susceptible to counter attacks, as they pressure other teams and push forwards looking for a goal. A tight defence would obviously be essential for this, not just stopping Monaco from scoring, but stopping them from creating clear chances. We could also hope that they may have hit a slight dip in form, with Falcao first playing poorly, and now missing the remainder of the season through ACL injury. In their last 3 ligue games Monaco have lost 1, drawn 1 and won 1, compared to OM’s 2 draws and a win.

Likely line-up and formation:


Fanni Diawara Mendes Mendy

Romao Cheyrou

Payet Valbuena Thauvin



As mentioned before Claudio Ranieri will be without Falcao, and despite his recent form or attitude he is a huge character to have missing from any squad. Ranieri may also be without Anthony Martial through injury. This could leave an opening for 23 year old, Valere Germain, to start up front with Emmanuel Reviere, who has only made 1 start and six appearences this season for Monaco, with no goals to his name yet. This could work in OM’s favour as, as the ‘main striker’ Reviere may be seen as the target man and he can be susceptible to losing the ball easily when expected to hold the ball up to bring others into play.

Likely line-up and formation:


Raggi Abidal Carvalho Kurzawa

Moutinho Toulalan Obbadi


Germain Reviere

As with every game recently I feel I am saying this is ‘a must win game for both teams’. Monaco can go within 3 points of psg, after the ligue leaders dropped 2 points in their away draw with Guingamp on Friday. That win would also take them to 7 points ahead of 3rd place Lille. A win for OM, would continue a good run of ligue form and put them 5th at the end of the weekend, however if they were to then win their game in hand against Valenciennes they would move up to 4th and would only be 3 points behind 3rd placed Lille.

Allez l’OM

18/01/2014 – Marseille v Valenciennes – Match Preview

After a disappointing Coupe de la Ligue exit at the hands of Lyon midweek, OM will look to re-focus their attention on the ligue, capitalise on Lille’s slip up against Saint-Etienne, and push closer for a 3rd place finish. Valenciennes are the opponents this Saturday afternoon at the Velodrome.

Although it was easy to feel hard done by on Wednesday, with some poor decisions from the officials, including a stone wall penalty for Khalifa and a red card for Lyon ‘keeper, Lopes, realistically OM didn’t perform like they could and should have. Starting without Gignac was always going to be a big risk, and without Mendy pushing forward, the only source of attack came from the right side with Fanni very occasionally supporting forward.

The squad is as expected with Andre Ayew still out through injury, whereas Oumar Diop returns to CFA2 with the reserve squad. Full squad: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Lemina, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet and Thauvin.

At the moment it looks like APG will regain his starting place, however it is proving to be difficult to predict the formation and midfield groupings as Jose Anigo either likes to rotate, or, more likely, is still trying to find his ideal starting line up.

Predicted line-up and formation:


Fanni Diawara Nkoulou Mendy

Cheyrou Romao

Payet Valbuena Thauvin



Just before the winter break, Valenciennes had looked certainties for relegation along with Sochauc and Ajaccio, however, 2 wins in 2, against Valenciennes and Bastia has put them within 1 point of 17th placed Montpellier. Undoubtedly they will want to keep this form going and will see a ‘shaky’ OM as good opponents to achieve that.

As with most teams, OM will have to be weary of a Valenciennes counter attack, a number of their opportunities against Monaco came from these, particularly when Monaco pushed men forwards in search of an equaliser.

Predicted line-up and formation:


Mater Kagelmacher Medjani CIss

Yamiss Doumbia

Ducourtioux Dossevi Masuaku


Marseille, should have more than enough at their disposal to see off Valenciennes and take themselves to within 2 points of Sant-Etienne, however, the game will not be as easy as it might look on paper.


Allez l’OM

Andrew (@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)

Coupe de la Ligue – Lyon v Marseille – 15/01/14 – Match Preview

Coupe de la Ligue

Olympique Lyon v Olympique Marseille

Stade de Gerland, Lyon

15/01/2014, 19:55 (UK)

Live on ESPN

Marseille will look to keep up their 100% record in the New Year as they face their toughest test of 2014 so far in the Coupe de la Ligue away at Lyon. A win would take OM into the semi-finals of the competition that they won 3 years on the bounce between 2010-2012, before succumbing to psg early in the competition last year.

Positive performances before the winter break and successive victories in the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 will ensure that the OM squad head into this game with some confidence, helped by the earlier than expected return of Matthieu Valbuena from injury.

Jose Anigo’s travelling squad is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Lemina, Diop, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet & Thauvin.

It is unlikely that Valbuena will start the game on his return from injury, but he may feature late on, depending on the nature of the game. The only other surprise is the inclusion of Oumar Diop, who again will be in the squad purely as emergency cover.

Likely line-up and formation:


Fanni Nkoulou Diawara Mendy

Romao Cheyrou

Payet Thauvin Khalifa



Remi Garde’s side have struggled a little this season, similarly to OM. They currently sit 9th in the ligue, 4 points behind OM and more concerning for them is that they have not made the Stade de Gerland the fortress it has been in previous seasons. Since the start of the season, OL fans have only witnessed 4 ligue wins, 7 wins in total. However, what will make this game difficult for OM is that, although Lyon may not have won as many as one might expect, they have only lost twice at home in 17 games. That was way back in August against Real Sociedad in Europe and Reims in the ligue.

Lyon’s match-day squad is made up from: Vercoutre, Gorgelin, Bedimo, Bisevic, Kone, Lopes, Untiti, Zaffane, Fekir, Fofana, Gonalons, Gourcuff, Grenier, Malbranque, Briand, Gomis, Lacazette and Njie.

Expected line-up and formation:


Lopes Bisavic Umtiti Bedimo

Fofana Gonalons Grenier


Gomis Lazazette


This will be a tough test for both sides, who arrive at this match with similar current form. With outside chances of Champions League football for both sides, a Coupe de la Ligue win could put a little gloss on perhaps otherwise disappointing seasons for both clubs. OM will have to be wary of the threat from Gourcuff, who is having a good run in the squad free from injury and is playing with some of the confidence that made him such a sought after player when OL signed him. They can counter attack with stunning pace, as we found out in the ligue last season and will attack down the wings regularly so both Payet and Khalifa will need to support Fanni and Mendy more frequently than in previous games. From here they will also look to cross in for Gomis and Lacazette, perhaps man-marking from Nkoulou and Diawara in these situations would be best with Cheyrou and Romao dropping back to clear any loose balls.


Allez l’OM,

Andrew (@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)