Marseille v Lyon
04/05/2014 – 20:00 ko (UK, Live on BTsport)
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
This Sunday sees another ‘Olympico’ as OM have their penultimate home game of the season. With 3 games left to play and sitting 7 points off Saint-Etienne in 4th, and 5 points off tonight’s opponents, Lyon, it looks as though OM with have to prepare for life without European football next season, however, the players and fans alike will have been buoyed by the confirmation that Marcelo Bielsa is confirmed as manager for next season.
Jose Anigo is expected to leave OM at the end of the season, this year having been particularly traumatic and painful for him both on and off the field, professionally and personally. For this game he is without Mendes (suspended), Lemina and Khalifa, although Valbuena returns to the squad and Bangoura and Yousfi have both been included in the match day squad too.
It is likely that Baup will play the same 11 that starter against Nantes last week, with Diawara filling in for the absent Mendes. Thauvin netted in that game and played excellently, holding up play, and bringing others in with some astute passes and vision, something we haven’t always seen from the youngster. Payet, Ayew and Gignac all had patches of positivity in their performance too, although as the game got more stretched, Gignac was left increasingly isolated and struggled to have his usual impact on the game. Once again, the defence looked far from watertight against Nantes, in fact it is very arguable that the Nantes goal could and should have been avoided. First of all, Gapke shouldn’t have been afforded the time on the ball to turn, dribble and shoot, and Mandanda perhaps should have been expecting a shot and could have dealt with a save in a far better manner.
If OM are to pick up a positive result from this game, they will need to work hard against an ever improving Lyon team. Last weekend, in their 4-1 thrashing of Bastia they completed 578 passes, 112 of which were in the attacking third. The best way for OM to avoid being outplayed will be in the midfield and around Lyon’s defence. Pushing a high defensive line and using our 5 midfielders to close down quickly and push the ball wide, will pressure Lyon into mistakes and having to play longer passes (something that is not in their general or preferred style of play).
Full OM squad: Mandanda, Samba, Abergel, Diawara, Fanni, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Dja Djedje, Bangoura, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Thauvin, Ayew, Gignac, Payet, Yousfi.
Likely line-up and formation:
Dja Djedje Nkoulou Diawara Morel
Payet Thauvin Ayew
Remi Garde brings his Lyon team to the Velodrome knowing that a win will confirm at least a 5th placed finish, with 4th place still a possibility, although weather or not Garde would still be at Lyon next term to enjoy the fruits of his labour remain to be seen as his continuation with the club at the end of his current contract is yet to be confirmed.
Garde is without the services of Gourcuff, M. Lopes, Fofana and Kone, although Grenier is fit enough to be part of the squad, though he is unlikely to start given his recovery from injury. Lyon will be likely to test out the defensive frailties of OM in as many ways as possible. Expect shots from distance from Gomis and Lacazette, as well as anything that might provide a set-piece opportunity around the OM box, such as running at Diawara. Mvuenmba and Ferri will support the strikers down the wings too, running at Morel and Dja Djedje perhaps offering up opportunities for winning corners, and we all know how much OM enjoy defending corners!
Likely line up and formation:
Dabo Bisavac Umtitti Bedimo
Mvuemba Gonalons Ferri
The game will be close with both teams in similar form, Lyon picking up 210 points from their last 5 games, OM picking up 9 points in that time. Historically, OM have the upper hand in this fixture with 19 Ligue 1 wins to Lyon’s 10, though in recent years OM have only picked up 2 wins from the previous 15 meetings.
Swanny (@aswanny84 & MarseilleUK)