Marseille v Toulouse
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
02/02/14 – 20:00 (Live on BTsport2 UK)
Having made hard work for themselves in a win over Valenciennes mid-week at the Velodrome, Marseille will hope to make it 2 from 2 as they face Toulouse at home on Sunday. Goals from our in form duo, Gignac and Thauvin helped OM get past a dogged Valenciennes team and win their game in hand taking them back up to 5th in the table, something that looks a little more respectable compared to 9th place we sat in after Monaco defeat a week ago. Toulouse have only won 2 games since the turn of the year, with their only Ligue 1 victory coming in Bordeaux.
Most OM fans were disappointed with the lack of transfer activity during the transfer window, with Brice Dja Djedje signing from Evian being the only move to strengthen the squad. Considering the loss of Abdallah and Jordan Ayew, our threadbare squad hardly looks any better once you get past a relatively strong starting 11. At least we have managed to keep hold of Nkoulou who had been subject to bids from Napoli.
Jose Anigo will welcome solitary new signing Dja Djedje to the squad, but Morel and Cheyrou will miss out along with Abergel.
The squad for the game is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Nkoulou, Dja Djedje, Tuiloma, Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Valbuena, Bangoura, Gignac, Thauvin, Khalifa and Payet.
It is expected that Diawara will start from the bench and Fanni may make way for Dja Djedje’s debut. OM should be able to find space between 5 man Toulouse midfield and 3 man defence (although this is flexible enough to change as their defencive needs change), the dabger may be that our creative attacking trio may be crowded out through the centre. It is important that Valbuena, Thauvin and Payet support each other and link up through Gignac. Gignac will help pull the defenders wide and out of position allowing the other attackers space to dribble and shoot or win free kicks.
OM need to be wary of losing the ball in our deep lying midfield positions, as Toulouse can then spread the ball wide and break quickly. For this reason it may be better to keep a high defensive line where possible as all 4 defenders have some pace.
Likely line up and formation:
Dja Djedje Nkoulou Mendes Mendy
Payet Valbuena Thauvin
Allain Casanova will be hoping his squad can improve on their historical record at the Velodrome, having only picked up 4 wins in 36 attempts in Ligue 1, though the last one came in 2012 with a 0-1 defeat for OM. If he is going to succeed in a Toulouse victory he will need to do so without injured Zamiou, Moubandje, Soukouna, Chantome and Ninkov.
Likely line up and formation:
Aurier Zebina Spajic
Akpa-Akpro Aguilar Regattin Didot Sylla
A victory for OM is imperative if they are to hope for European qualification this year. 3 points would give them breathing space of 4 points from 7th placed Bordeaux, ad would also set things up nicely for the tough trip to Saint-Etienne in 2 weeks time. The win would also keep OM just in touch with 3rd placed Lille.
Former Marseille man Abdullah came on as a late substitute for Lorient as they held out for an impressive draw against Monaco, who lost ground on leaders psg, who saw off Bordeaux with a 2-0 win on Friday. Jordan Ayew helped Sochaux to only their 3rd victory of the season as they beat Nantes 1-0, to give themselves a glimmer of hope in Ligue 1 survival. Abdallah and Sougou couldn’t help Evian get more than a 1-1 draw against bottom side Ajaccio, Evian now sit 4 points above the relegation zone.