Monthly Archives: August 2014

Marseille v Nice – 29/08/14 Match Preview

Fri 29th August 19:30

Marseille v Nice

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

 from OM.net

Having picked up their first win of the season last week at Guingamp, Marco Bielsa’s side will hope to pick up their first 3 points in front of their own fans in the Mediterranean derby against Nice. A solitary goal from Gignac last week was enough to see off a poor Guingamp side, but he result doesn’t reflect the fact that Marseille dominated most of the game.

The injury to Gignac at the end of the Guingamp game proved to not be as bad as first feared as he returned to training mid-week. Along with the return of Gignac, Bielsa will be pleased to see Mario Lemina involved in the squad again for the first time this season.

The full squad is as follows: Mandanda, Samba, Abergel, Dja Djedje, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Barrada, Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Thauvin, Ayew, Batshuayi, Gignac and Payet.

Bielsa may stick with the starting line-up that dominated so much against Guingamp meaning that we may only see Batshuayi, Barrada, Alessandrini or perhaps Lemina from the bench. The attacking link up play and chances created by Dja Djedje, Payet, Thauvin and Gignac early in last week’s game, would be good to see again against Nice, who were comprehensively beaten 1-3 by Bordeaux last week. Nice looked particularly weak down the wings and vulnerable to counter-attacks, and this was visible in all 3 conceded goals.

 

Expected line-up and formation:

Mandanda

Roamo  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Payet  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Ayew

 

Claude Puel’s Nice will look to avoid two defeats on the trot, and get back to winning ways like they did at the beginning of the season. After a 3-2 win over Toulouse, they could then only manage a 0-0 draw at Loirient ahead of last week’s defeat at the hands of ligue leaders Bordeaux. Puel does have the bonus of fit again Dario Cvitanich being fit enough to be included in his match day squad, though he may not be risked as a starting player. They also have former OM man, Souleymane Diawara in their ranks, and his introduction last week from the subs bench provided Nice with some aerial threat and dominance from set-pieces, something that OM need to be aware of.

Probable Nice line-up and formation:

Hanssen

Puel  Genevois  Gomis  Amavi

Eysseric  Mendy  Hult

Vercauteren  Bosetti  Bautheac

 

The relief of picking up their first 3 points of the season should hopefully allow OM to play with a little more confidence and freedom in front of their own fans. That said, if there is an early goal conceded it might be more helpful for the players if the Velodrome faithful avoid the usual whistles and boos and continue to support the team, as it hardly helped against Montpellier. Marseille do have the upper hand in this fixture with 35 wins (33 Ligue 1) to Nice’s 6 (5 Ligue 1), however, Nice overcame OM twice last year with 1-0 wins, and will be hoping they can do the sme again this time around.

 

Other Ligue 1 games:

Monaco v Lille

Caen v Rennes

Lens v Reims

Lorient v Guingamp

Nantes v Montpellier

Toulouse v Evian

Bordeaux v Bastia

Metz v Lyon

psg v Sainte-Etienne

 

Allez l’OM

@Aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

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Guingamp 0-1 Marseille: 23/08/14 Match Report

Sat 23rd August – 16:00

Guingamp 0v1 Marseille

(Gignac)

Stade Municipal du Roudourou, Giongamp – Att. 16, 901

 from OM.net

Marseille finally picked up their first win at the third time of asking, but made hard work of it against a poor Guingamp team. Bielsa’s side had the lions-share of possession and chances, however it was a sole goal from Andre-Pierre Gignac immediately after the interval the settled the result.

 

Mandanda

Romao  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Payet  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Ayew

Subs: Samba, Abergel, Sparagna, Alessandrini (’88 >Gignac), Barrada (’59 >Payet), Bangoura, Batshuayi (’45 >Thauvin)

 

OM started the game positively, playing with some confidence that had been missing in last week’s shocking show against Montpellier. Passing and movement led to Marseille controlling the game from the outset and they began making the Samassawork in the Guingamp goal quickly. Dja Djedje and Payet first wen close, then Gignac and Thauvin worked the ‘keeper and woodwork a number of times each.

Despite this though both sides went in equal at half time where Bielsa opted to bring off the creative Thauvin for finisher Batshuayi. Within seconds of the restart, Bielsa’s change looked to have worked as Gignac broke the deadlock. Quick play down the left saw the ball played forward to Batshuayi. His first time lay-off to Payet was then crossed to the back-post where Gignac volleyed the ball into the ground, bouncing back across goal and beating Samassa.

The travelling OM fans managed to get their first glimpse of new-signing Barrada as he came on to replace Payet. Barrada immediately settled into the pace of the game showing some good vision and making some key passes. Marseille did lose some of their dominance and control over the game from this point, however, with our main creative outlets, Thauvin and Payet, both being off the pitch.

Guingamp searched for an equaliser later on, but other than Lemaitre clipping the cross-bar as he shot from distance on the only scares were injury scares. Firstly, Mandanda collided with Yatabare, the same two who met on the final day of last season, a collision which left Mandanda unable to join the French national side for the Brazil World Cup. Shortly before full-time, Gignac went down after  twisting his ankle, he was stretchered off but thankfully began training mid-week after recovering.

Bielsa’s reaction (from om.net):

“We had several good opportunities and we managed to score. After going in front, we controlled the game pretty well. Defensively, the team played well and individually, the players did the job. We could have scored more goals because we had a number of good chances. The team defended very well and also constructed good attacks, but, on the other hand, we didn’t finish well.”

Other Ligue 1 Results:

Evian 0-0 psg

Bastia 1-0 Toulouse

Lille 2-0 Lorient

Montpellier 2-0 Metz

Nice 1-3 Bordeuax

Reims 0-2 Caen

Lyon 0-1 Lens

Saint-Etienne 0-0 Rennes

Nantes 0-1 Monaco

Guingamp v Marseille – 23/08/14 – Match Preview

Sat 23rd August 16:00

Guingamp v Marseille

Stade du Roudourou, Guingamp

 from OM.net

Marseille and Bielsa look to make it third time lucky as they search for their first Ligue 1 win of the season after picking up a draw and defeat so far. An entertaining opening day draw at Bastia was met with excitement, but the disastrous defeat by Montpellier was met with boos and whistles from the capacity Velodrome crowd last week. Bielsa made it clear that the result and performance were not acceptable and will be looking for an immediate response from his squad as they travel north to Brittany.

Bielsa is still without Mario Lemina but no one else is expected to be missing from the squad. The full 18 that have travel is made up of:

Mandanda, Samba, Abergel, Dja Djedje, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Romao, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Bangoura, Barrada, Imbula, Thauvin, Ayew, Batshuayi, Gignac and Payet.

Although not obviously critical of individuals from the Montpellier defeat, it will be interesting to see who Bielsa opts for in the defensive aspects of the starting 11, with neither Nkoulou, Morel, Romao or Dja Djedje covering themselves in glory.

Bielsa will expect Imbula and Ayew/Payet to provide greater links between defence and attack in this game with hopes that Thauvin can see more of the ball too and show off his creative side more than he was able to against Montpellier. Although Gignac is expected to start, a poor first half may see him replaced by Batshuayi early into the 2nd 45.

Expected line-up and formation:

Mandanda

Romao  Nkoulou  Morel

Dja Djedje  Imbula  Mendy

Thauvin  Payet  Ayew

Gignac

 

Jocelyn Gourvennec’s Guingamp side suffered an opening day defeat at the hands of string starters Saint-Etienne, but managed to see off newly promoted Lens last week with a single late goal from Douniama. Having witnessed the OM defensive frailties last week, expect ex-NUFC man Sylvain Marveaux to try and exploit this down the Guingamp left side.

Expected Guingamp line-up:

Samassa

Jacobsen  Sorbon  Kerbrat  Baca

Beauvue  Diallo  Mathis  Marveuax

Yatabara  Schwartz

 

Once again, Marseille should have enough strength to see off Guingamp, OM also have history on their with 6 wins from the last 6 meetings between the 2 sides. However, should OM put in the same performance as last week, expect another ‘upset’ and life to become even more difficult for Bielsa.

 

Other Ligue 1 games:

Evian 0-0 psg

Reims v Caen

Nice v Bordeaux

Montpellier v Metz

Lille v Lorient

Bastia v Toulouse

Lyon v Lens

Saint-Etienne v Rennes

Nantes v Monaco

 

Allez l’OM

@Aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

Marseille 0-2 Montpellier: 17/08/14 Match Report

Sun 17th August – 16:00

Marseille 0v2 Montpellier

(Mounier, Sanson)

Stade Velodrome, Marseille – Att. 50, 774

 Bielsa MHSC

The expected carnival atmosphere for Bielsa’s arrival and the reopening of the Velodrome was quickly ended as a poor performance gifted Montpellier a 0-2 win over Marseille. 2 goals from poor defending, were the main talking points, when the most action the Montpellier defenders had was when they were replacing chunks of the Velodrome turf.

 

Mandanda

Romao  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Ayew  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

Subs: Samba, Abergel, Sparagna, Batshuayi (63 >Dja Djedje), Payet (52 > Ayew), Porsan-Clemente (75 >Thauvin)

 

Despite the impressive grandeur of the refurbished Velodrome and expected raucus and optimistic atmosphere, OM never really got going, the occasion seemingly getting to a number of the players particularly those with defensive responsibilities.

Montpellier were lively from the off, pressing quickly and high up the field, leaving the OM defence exposed. The warning signs were there from the off, as a Dje Djedje mistake allowed Montpellier in, only for Mandanda to spare the defenders blushes with a good save. Minutes later there was nothing that Mandanda could do to stop a great finish from Mounier.

After dispossessing OM in midfield, Mounier was played through with acres of space down the OM right side, and he dinked a beautiful lob of Mandanda into the far post leaving the big man with no chance stuck in no-mans-land. This immediately led to some unrest among the Velodrome faithful, who were already concerned at the lack of composure and assertiveness the OM team were playing with.

As the half progresses, OM still struggled to create any clear chances. The closest opportunity came amongst a huge scramble in the Montpellier area as 3 shots were blocked in quick succession by a combination of desperate defending and solid goalkeeping from Jourdren. In the aftermath, Ayew was receiving treatment for a head injury, meanwhile the Montpellier defenders acted as ground-keepers replacing huge chunks of turf that had came up during the melee.

To be honest the state of the playing surface was almost as embarrassing as the OM performance. It will be interesting to see what Bielsa makes of the situation, and how quickly the pitch can be repaired and the problem rectified. The pitch will see far less sunlight than it has in previous years with the full roof being complete, while the turf looked very thin as it tore up. Anyway, I am in no way horticulturally educated, but it didn’t look good!

Many would like to have been a fly on the wall at half time to see Bielsa’s reaction to a tepid 1st half display, but whatever improvements he hoped for, really failed to materialise. OM still had difficulties breaking down the Montpellier midfield and defence, who defended in a 4-5-1 formation and then attacked well on the counter. Thauvin, Alessandrini and Ayew struggled to provide Gignac with any real service and as a result APG was very isolated. The same defensive issues that had dogged OM in the first half, were evident still too.

Montpellier’s second goal came from a break down the left and while Morel dropped to the centre, Sanson was free at the back post to pass the ball into an empty net. Imbula and the 2 wing-backs Mendy and Dja Djedje were left too far up the pitch and simply couldn’t track back in time to support the back 3.

Very little changed between that 68th minute goal and the end of the match, save for appearances from Batshuayi and Porsan-Clemente who struggled to get a foothold on the game the way they had in friendlies as the game ended 0-2.

What will be clear to Bielsa, if it wasn’t already, is that he needs some defensive investment. Although the collective of Romao, Sparagna, Nkoulou, Morel (and Mendes) have all done ok through the friendlies, the have struggled back in ligue action. There is also a lack of clear leadership amongst the whole squad, which isn’t a huge problem if the whole team knows their roles and responsibilities but a number of the players looked embarrassingly clueless in this game. I’d expect some hard training sessions this week ahead of next Saturday’s trip to Guingamp.

Bielsa’s reaction (from ligue1.com):

“The result was not the one we wanted but the game leaves much for us to work on. At first we were just as good as our opponents and then in the later stages of the first half I think we were better than them and we had chances. I believe the formation had no influence. The centre-back worked well but there were difficulties out wide. Perhaps when Romao moved to the right-hand side it looked like there was a problem but he was there because there was a lot of space to cover. Ayew is no stranger to playing as a second striker. I am aware, though, that any changes must be accompanied by results in order to progress. I’m not satisfied. Losing to a team who could finish in the bottom half of the table is not a great result. After winning one point from a possible six the media claim the players are uncomfortable with the new methods, but there is nothing new. Only two or three players played poorly tonight.”

Ligue 1 Results:

Caen 0-1 Lille

psg 2-0 Bastia

Lens 0-1 Guingamp

Lorient 0-0 Nice

Metz 1-1 Nantes

Rennes 6-2 Evian

Toulouse 2-1 Lyon

Saint-Etienne 3-1 Reims

Bordeaux 4-1 Monaco

 

Marseille v Montpellier: 17/08/14 Match Preview

Sun 17th August 16:00

Marseille v Montpellier

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

 OM MHSC

The doors to a revamped and (almost) complete Velodrome opens for fans for the first time on Sunday as Marseille host local neighbours Montpellier. After 3 seasons of renovation work and resulting forced low attendances, OM expect to have the biggest Ligue 1 crowd of the season on Sunday, despite the ground still not yet operating at full capacity. An expected crowd of over 50,000 will be in attendance at the slightly delayed kick off, due to extreme Mediterranean heat, but will hope to create a white hot atmosphere, as one of the world’s most famous grounds reopens.

Macelo Bielsa will lead his troops out at the Velodrome for their first competitive home game as he looks to pick up his first Ligue 1 win of the campaign. The disappointment of giving away late goals to Bastia in the inaugural ligue game will hopefully have been driven away and the team will be more focussed defensively. This in itself will be tough however, having surprisingly lost Lucas Mendes to Qatari club El Jaish, midweek. The return of Romao will be welcome though, as he started most of the pre-season friendlies as part of a back-three. New signing Abdelaziz Barrada will also be part of the squad for the game.

The full squad is made up of:

Mandanda, Samba, Abergel, Aloe, Dja Djedje, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Bangoura, Barrada, Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Thauvin, Ayew, Batshuayi, Gignac, Payet, Porsan-Clemente.

Continuing with a 3-1-3-3 formation used in pre-season, Bielsa will probably start with Romao back in defence alongside Nkoulou and Morel, having taken youngster Sparagna off at half-time gainst Bastia last week. Imbula could be expected be the holding defensive midfielder, with the next bank of 3 made up with wing-backs Dja Djedje and Mendy and Payet being the central pivot to link up play between defence and attack. With such a wealth of attacking options at his disposal it is difficult to guess how Bielsa will set up, but a tentative guess will see him with the same attacking 3 as against Bastia with Thauvin, Gignac and Alessandrini, allowing Bathsuayi and Ayew to enter from the bench in the second half.

Likely line-up and formation:

Mandanda

Romao  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Payet  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

 

Former OM man, Rollan Courbis, brings his Montpellier side to the Velodrome looking for their first points of the season, having picked up a rather harsh 0-1 defeat at home to Bordeaux on the opening weekend. That defeat means that MHSC have now suffered 4 defeats in a row (including the end of last season). Having lost last season’s top scorer and performer Remy Cabella, along with Herrera and Niang (end of loan), a win would appear even more difficult for Courbis’ team.

The signing of Evian’s Kevin Berigaud could work out well with the striker aiming to beat his tally of 10 from last season. On-loan striker Lucas Barrios (Spartak Moscow) could also be in line to make his debut, which would give the visitors a huge boost ahead of the game.

Given Montpellier’s strengths, OM will look to maintain a great deal of the possession. Controlling the game in midfield and attacking though Alessandrini and Thauvin down the wings. OM should also look to crowd the centre of the pitch with Dja Djedje, Imbula and Mendy playing in field and pushing the MHSC attacks down the wings, reducing the opponents to crosses and shots from distance.

 

Marseille should have the strength and ability to see off Montpellier in this game, but in the carnival atmosphere the visitors would be more than happy to spoil the party.

 

Other Ligue 1 fixtures:

Caen 0-1 Lille

psg 2-0 Bastia

Toulouse 2-1 Lyon

Rennes 6-2 Evian

Metz 1-1 Nantes

Lorient 0-0 Nice

Lens 0-1 Guingamp

Saint-Etienne (Sun) Reims

Bordaux (Sun) Monaco

 

Allez l’OM

@Aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

SC Bastia 3-3 Marseille: 09/08/14 Match Report

Marseille’s opening Ligue 1 game of the season was rather bittersweet as they surrendered a 3-1 lead to only bring home a single point from Corsica. A Gignac brace and Romaric OG had given OM the upper hand but a late resurgence from Bastia ensured the spoils where shared between 2 of Ligue 1’s newest managers.

 

Sat 9th August – 20:00

SC Bastia 3v3 Marseille

(Maboulou 2, Tallo: Gignac 2, Romaric OG)

Stade Armand Cesari, Bastia, Corsica – Att. 15,537

 Gignac Bastia

Mandanda

Sparagna  Nkoulou  Morel

Imbula

Dja Djedje  Payet  Mendy

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

Subs: Samba, Abergel, Mendes (>46 Sparagna), Cheyrou, Ayew (>60 Alessandrini), Batshuayi (>79 Payet), Porsan-Clemente

After a calm and respectful minutes applause in remembrance of the Furiani stadium disaster (read here), the game started in a fast and frenetic manner, with a hostile reception from the Corsican fans. The hosts started well, providing OM with some tough tackles, and creating some early half chances.

In the 8th minute they made this count as OM failed to clear their lines, Maboulou speculatively shot from 30 yards. His tremendously struck half-volley managed to dip just over Mandanda’s head giving the hosts the opening goal.

Only 2 minutes later though a well delivered cross from the left by Mendy was met perfectly by Gignac as he headed past Areola. The goal had come after OM had started to compose themselves a little more, with passes finding their intended target, and players running better with the ball.

Marseille then took the lead 5 minutes later as a Thauvin strike was deflected into his own goal by Romaric. Thauvin had picked up the ball on the OM right, and after skipping infield past a Bastia defender struck a shot with his left foot. As Romaric tried to clear, his wild swing sliced the ball past Areola.

The game continued in much the same way, with some ‘firm’ challenges and free-kicks being given away. On 21 minutes though, Bastia’s Diakite took this to the next level. As the ball was about to be met by Alessandrini’s head, Diakite dove in elbow first winning the ball but clattering Alessandrini at the same time. Referee Lionel Jaffredo deemed the incident only worthy of a yellow card, but Diakite should consider himself very lucky to have remained on the pitch.

It could be said that the referee’s failure to deal with that lead to further discipline issues later. After a very high challenge on Payet by Squillaci, Bastia captain Cahuzac then raised his hands to Gignac in the aftermath. Jaffredo decided that both incidents were not worthy of punishment.

Just before halftime Alessandrini did manage to round Areola and score but he had strayed offside just before Imbula played an excellent through-ball.

Squillaci was involved in the first major incident of the 2nd half too. His raised arms blocked a Gignac cross and Jaffredo immediately awarded the spot kick. Gignac tucked away the spot kick neatly into the bottom corner that ensured Areola had no chance despite correctly diving to his left.

Before OM could enjoy their 2 goal advantage, Bastia claimed a penalty of their own. Mendy stupidly had his arms wrapped around Maboulou and pulled the Bastia striker back as he turned ready to face Mandanda. Tallo stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Mandanda the wrong way and reduce the score to 2-3.

Maboulou was again involved on 73 minutes, when he grabbed the game’s final equaliser. As he powered into the OM penalty area, he kept possession of the ball with a lucky bounce, but the OM defending from Nkoulou and Morel was very sloppy. As the Marseille players ran into each other and failed to clear the ball or tackle, Maboulou managed to find space beyond the melee and shoot past Mandanda.

As the game crept towards full time both sides continued to probe for a potential winner, though fatigue started to play a part. Players struggled to get back into positions but many final balls were inaccurate and neither ‘keeper was really troubled.

As with Marseille’s other draw (pre-season 1-1 with Bari), OM will feel disappointed that they could not claim a win. They will rightly feel aggrieved by poor referee decisions again, but can be relatively satisfied with tacking a good point from a determined squad fighting for their new manager, at a venue where Marseille have historically struggled. Bielsa will is likely to have the team working hard on the training ground ahead of next week’s Velodrome opener against Montpellier. There was a great deal of ‘sloppy’ play from OM, and a lack of leadership in defence which was hugely evident in the Bastia equaliser for 3-3.

 

Ligue 1 Results:

Reims 2-2 psg

Evian 0-3 Caen

Guingamp 0-2 Saint-Etienne

Lille 0-0 Metz

Montpellier 0-1 Bordeaux

Nantes 1-0 Lens

Nice 3-2 Toulouse

Lyon 2-0 Rennes

Monaco 1-2 Lorient

SC Bastia v Marseille – 09/08/14 – Match Preview

Sat 9th August – 20:00

SC Bastia v Marseille

Stade Armand Cesari, Bastia, Corsica

 Via OM.net

Marseille’s Marcelo Bielsa era begins on Saturday evening against Corsican side SC Bastia. The clash will pit 2 new managers in Ligue 1 against each other as OM’s new head coach faces up against Claude Makelele, in his first managerial position.

OM come into the game full of confidence after a pre-season that contained an unbeaten record of 4 wins and 1 draw against some quality European competition.

Having invested well and spent hours drilling his new squad, Bielsa will also be relatively happy that he has managed to keep ahold of some of the more experienced OM players such as Mandanda and Nkoulou, despite recently losing Valbuena. The same cannot necessarily be said of Makelele, whose inexperience along management will be tested greatly without the experienced Laundreau and Khazri, despite some good investment with brining in Areola and Ayite as replacements.

Bielsa will be likely to start with a 3-3-1-3 formation used a great deal in friendlies, though the absence of Romao may keen some reshuffling of the defensive 3, with either Mendes or youngster Sparagna deputising. The flexibility of this formation has helped ensure the opposition are offered very little time on the ball in both midfield and in their attack. Most goals against in pre-season have came from a loose ball and snap-shot by the opponents attackers from around the edge of the 18 yard box. This will be something that Bielsa and the OM defence will be keen to prevent Mandanda from having to face, given that old boys Cisse and Brandao would be more than happy to cause an upset on the opening day of the season.

This formation and Bielsa’s attacking and winning mentality has also allowed OM to accrue 15 goals for in only 5 pre-season games. The refreshing approach of changing players and formations even saw OM with 6 attackers on the pitch at the end of the AS Bari game as OM searched for an equaliser and potential winner. Despite looking like he may be on his way out of the club, Payet has possibly impressed the most, looking skilful, fast and sharp with great vision, providing a number of key passes an assists along with Thauvin. Both of these players were just off their peak last season, so seeing them playing as they can is hugely encouraging. The same could be said of new signing, Batshuayi. Arriving from Belgium with a mixed reputation, 4 goals in 5 games has certainly helped to quash the criticisers.

OM likely lineup and formation:

Mandanda

Sparagna  Nkoulou  Morel

Dja Djedje  Imbula  Mendy

Payet

Thauvin  Gignac  Ayew

 

This should prove to be an exciting opener to the new season for both teams and could set out the rest of the season for both managers too. If Makalele suffers a defeat, it could be a long hard season for the Corsicans, equally, if Bielsa suffers a defeat then he will need a quick turnaround in fortunes in order to keep everyone happy, after such high hopes.

 

Allez l’OM

@Aswanny84

@MarseilleUK