FC Sochaux-Montbeliard v Olympique de Marseille
Stade Bonal, Montbeliard
29/03/14 – 16:00 UK
Marseille, and MarseilleUK’s match previews return to action this weekend as the Ayew brothers face each other for the first time, when OM take on struggling Sochaux.
Having an enforced break from previews and match updates due to a ridiculous amount of friend’s stag dos and weddings over the past few month, hopefully my ability to provide coverage will improve, along with OM’s actual performances.
The form guide would suggest that Sochaux have the upper hand over OM. Sochaux’s predicament, lying 2nd bottom, 6 points from safety, means they need to win games to avoid relegation and with 4 wins from their last 8 games, they might just manage it. These wins all came at home, so if they can continue that form, 15 points from home games should keep them well and truly safe on 40 points.
OM on the other hand have only managed to amass 4 wins since Christmas, and with 3 defeats in their last 4 games, they could do without this difficult trip. Sitting 10 points off a Champions League spot with 8 games to go, it is easy to see how unrest among the fans has begun to be shown again, at this rate we won’t even manage a Europa league spot. However, Anigo must get a response from his squad, as the possibility of ending the weekend as low as 9th becomes a real possibility with Reims, Toulouse and Bordeaux all having what would appear to be much more ‘winable’ games than ourselves.
Anigo has a full squad at his disposal for this game with Dja Djedje returning from an injury that ruled him out against Rennes last week. The full squad consists of: Mandanda, Samba – Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Dja Djedje, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou – Imbula, Lemina, Ayew, Valbuena, Cheyrou, Romao – Thauvin, Payet, Gignac, Khalifa.
The likely starting line-up is:
Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel
Payet, Romao, Imbula
Valbuena, Gignac, Ayew
A victory over Sochaux may rely less on tactics and game plans (something it is abundantly clear that Anigo has very little of) and more on player attitude and enthusiasm. The players looked drained and disheartened after last week’s defeat, and early goal or two could be just the remedy for our end of season blues.
As mentioned earlier, Sochaux are experiencing something of a resurgence with 4 wins in their last 4 home games over Nantes, Guingamp, Bordeaux and Lorient. Unfortunately for them they remain in 19th position due to Ajaccio and Valenciennes also putting points on the board.
Most of the publicity around this game will include the fact that loanee Jordan Ayew has served his 2 game suspension and is eligible to play. OM will want to avoid a Brandao situation, where the former OM player netted a late equaliser in week 25 as OM faced Saint-Etienne. There is probably little surprise to most OM fans that Jordan Ayew has only managed 1 goal in his 9 appearances (8 starts, 1 sub). A player blessed with ability, but with no consistency or visible desire. My own personal hopes were that he would have been loaned out 2 seasons ago and given a good run in a squad such as Lorient, Bastia or Sochaux. I really feel he could have developed far more than just sitting on the OM bench and occasionally filling in for APG. At the very least, the club would have known if he was worth keeping, or selling and reinvesting.
As much as the form says Sochaux may be slight favourites, the game may be tight and could well hinge on who scores first. Sochaux could get men behind the ball and look for the odd break should they score first, and in the last 7 games that they have scored first, they have only failed to claim the victory once.
Swanny (@aswanny84 & @marseilleUK)