Firstly, let me apologise for the shortness of this ‘preview’, but a mixture of family Christmas and New Year time, gigging, along with Christening, back to work and stag do planning have rendered my free time very limited as of late!
Marseille take on Stade de Reims in an all Ligue 1 game in the Coupe de France round of 64 tonight at the Velodrome. Jose Anigo’s OM side managed to regain some pride before the winter break with some positive performances despite not managing a win under his stewardship.
Marseille will be looking for a positive start to 2014, as they will hope to push for a Champions League place. A Coupe de France victory would certainly paint a positive picture ahead of tricky January games against Lyon and Monaco.
Jose Anigo is without Mandanda, Andre Ayew, Valbuena (who has returned to light training) and Jordan Ayew (loaned to Sochaux). The full squad is made up of: Samba, Bracigliano, Abdallah, Abergel, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Bangoura, Lemina, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet & Thauvin.
Likely starting line-up and formation:
Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Mendy
Imbula Romao Cheyrou
Thauvin Gignac Payet
Reims approach the game after their winter break on the same Ligue 1 points as OM, [erhaps testament to how poor OM have been or possibly how impressive Reims have been. This in itself is an indication of just how difficult this game will be for OM. Games for Reims ahead of Christmas saw them pick up wins against Nice and Ajaccio, while they were held to a draw away at Evian.
One thing OM must be wary of is the Reims counter attacks. Their emphatic win over Ajaccio saw them use these time and time again with obvious success. OM’s wide players should look to stop these swiftly, and Fanni and Mendy should avoid allowing the ball to be crossed into the box as the Reims attackers can latch onto these well and will want to test Samba early on the OM goal.
(@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)