Marseille v SM Caen
08/08/15 – 20:00
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Ligue 1, Game 1
OM are set to kick off the 15-16 season against SM Caen on Saturday evening at the Velodrome after a mixed pre-season. With disappointing results against Livorno and Fenerbahce and impressive results against Sahel, Anatlyaspor and particularly Juventus the expected capacity crowd at will hope that OM can pull off their first home victory over Caen since 2008 (having drawn one and lost 2 of the previous 3 games).
Bielsa seems is reportedly happy with the transfers over the summer, which in spite of losing a significant number of the star players from last term, is something that couldn’t be said at the beginning of last season. Once again, OM’s shortcomings seemed to be in defence over the summer, with the varied attacking formations all working well. With the expected absence of new signings Diarra and Diaby, Bielsa has an almost full-strength squad at his disposal:
Mandanda, Pele, Dja Djedje, Sparagna, Rekik, Mendy, Aloe, Sane, Lemina, Romao, Tuiloma, Barrada, Sarr, Alessandrini, Batshuayi Thauvin, Ocampos, Nkoudou.
Given the difficulty OM have faced defensively over the summer and, the tricky opposition that Caen are likely to provide, Bielsa may opt for a flat back 4, rather than the 3 he used fittingly last season. This will hopefully provide a bit of solidity in a game that is likely to be tight and that OM will undoubtedly not want to lose.
Dja Djedje, Sparagna, Rekik, Mendy
Alessandrini, Batshuayi, Thauvin
Having survived Ligue 1 last year, Caen will look to solidify their place in the devision this year, to make themselves a permanent feature of the league. Surprisingly, Caen were 4th in the goals scored table last year and this is something that manager Patrice Garande will be likely to want to continue this year too. Although they have lost N’golo Kante (provider of 3 goals and 5 assists), and Thomas Lemar (1 goal and 5 assists), they have reinvested the money gained form these transfers in the acquisition of Jeff Louis and likely starter Vincent Bessat. Of course they may call on former OM man, Florian Raspentino too, who returned over the summer after spending last season on loan at Dijon.
Apia, Silva, Yahia, Imorou
Feret, Adeoti, Delaplace
Bazile, Delort, Bassat
A nervy and tense encounter can always be expected on the opening fixture for any team, but this will only be compounded for OM should the struggle to break the deadlock, or worse go a goal or two behind. An early goal for OM could be a must, or else we could see the usual nerves settle in from the Velodrome crowd and make life even more difficult for the OM players. As tricky as this game could be, and the starting 11 could be judged as being considerable weaker than last seasons opening 11, a great deal of these players have a point to prove and will aim to solidify their place in the OM starting 11.