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

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