Monthly Archives: March 2014

Sochaux v Marseille – 29/3/14 – Match Preview

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.


Allez l’OM

Swanny (@aswanny84 & @marseilleUK)



psg v Marseille – 02/03/14 – Match Preview

psg v Marseille


Parc des Princes, Paris

20:00 UK (Live on ESPN)


Marseille travel to the Parc des Princes in Paris looking for their first victory in the capital since 2010 after 4 defeats in a row. If there is ever a good time to face the Qatari rich club, it could be now. Not because they’ve had a dip in form, but more down to the lack of any burden of expectation on our own shoulders. Last season we were potentially still fighting for the ligue title in February, and we in with qualifying for the ¼ finals of the Coupe de la Ligue in October, so there was a great deal of pressure on our relatively small squad. The only minor victory from the two 0-2 defeats in Paris, was Joey Barton having a pop at Zlatan, reminding him that he’s got a ‘big f**king nose’, as I said (very) minor victory.

This time out, no pressure, yeah we’re hoping to grab the 3rd Champions League qualifying spot, but with 10 more games left, a defeat wouldn’t put us completely out of the race. Gignac, Thauvin, Payet and Valbuena re all playing some of their best football of the season, Nkoulou has regained a little form and there seems to be a good team spirit. Could it be enough to win? Evian showed before the winter break, that it’s not always about the players, but attitude and effort, especially if psg have a slight off day. Ajaccio and Lille, have both frustrated psg at home, picking up wins, whereas ASSE and Guingamp made home advantage count as they broke up psg’s play and fought to score and come close to winning.

Despite only taking around 300 supporters to the capital, partly down to previous fan trouble and also ultra’ protests at the expense of tickets, Jose Anigo should have a full squad at his disposal. Benoit Cheyrou was a doubt, but has seemingly recovered from an illness earlier this week.

The full squad includes Romao, but is without the injured Saber Khalifa. Full squad: Mandanda, Samba, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Dja Djedje, Imbula, Lemina, Valbuena, Cheyrou, Romao, Ayew, Gignac, Thauvin and Payet. 

Probable line up and formation:


Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Payet Ayew Romao


Gignac Thauvin

The midfield 3 will be expected to break up the link between the psg midfield and attack. This would pressure Ibrahimovic into dropping deeper, which despite him being more than capable of doing this, at least it keeps him further away from the OM goal. If this is Anigo’s game plan, it important that he is tracked from deep, either through Ayew, and/or a covering central defender. By playing narrow when defending this would push psg’s attacks wide resulting in crosses from Verratti or Matuidi, or long balls from deep, something that Nkoulou, Mendes and Fanni should be more than comfortable dealing with.

Creativity from Thauvin and Gignac will cause any defence problems, particularly whe supported by Valbuena, Payet and Ayew. The importance is that the ball gets played directly to these players, during the 3 ‘classicos’ last season this didn’t happen. Gignac, in particular was left increasingly isolated and frustrated.

Laurent Blanc is also expecting a full squad to be available after Cavani returned to training, and while he may feature for some of the game, this would be more likely to be from the bench. In their last 3 games, psg have scored 11 goals, 3 against Valenciennes, 4 against Bayer Leverkusen and another 4 against Toulouse last week.

Full psg squad for the game: Sirigu, Douchez, Alex, Digne, Marquinhos, Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Van Der Wiel, Cabaye, Lucas, Matuidi, Menez, Pastore, Rabiot, Thiago Motta, Verratti, Cavani, Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi.

Likely line-up and formation:


Vd-Weil Alex Silva Maxwell

Matuidi Motta Verratti

Moura Ibrahimovic Lavezzi

A win for OM, as well as providing a huge morale boost would keep us the European qualification hopefuls. A defeat for psg could see 2nd placed Monaco move to within 2 points of the ligue leaders. A win for psg would help keep their current 5 point gap over Monaco and could see OM finish the weekend as low as 7th and as much as 6 points off 3rd placed Lille.