Excitement, elation, disappointment and despair, just an average 2 weeks as a Marseille fan it feels. After the highs of the emphatic 6-0 win over Troyes there was the lacklustre defeat at the hands of Guingamp, the end of the transfer window promising much, only to be left deflated with the lack of signings that we really needed.
After an international break where those who weren’t on international duty travelled to Slovakia to face Spartak Trnava, Michel will hopefully have managed to spend more time with his squad getting to know them and working on some of the failings that halted our progress against Guingamp. Without Batshuayi around for the last week, he will also have got an idea of awaits between now and January should the Belgian international get injured.
Having struggled to get past a deep lying Guingamp team last game, getting caught on the break twice and creating little to nothing in the final third in our previous game, there has to be a clear sight for improvement from Michel and the OM team. If Diarra is playing deep and protecting the defence (when under pressure) as he has in previous outings, Allesandrini and Cabella ought to stay out wide around the half-way line with a view to attacking down the wings, a contrast to Bastia’s preference to attacking down the middle before spreading out wide further up the field, finding width on the Velodrome’s pitch which did not appear to be there in Guingamp. Mendy will immeadiately support Cabella and these two should be the 2 to aim for if crossing for Batshuayi, whereas Alessandrini could be used more for cutting inside, in which case Cabella could drop more central linking with Michy, and Barrada providing cover support from a deeper position.
For now, Michel has kept the full squad under wraps, with no definitive answer as to which of the new players will start or even be in the squad. The most likely inclusions would be Mauricio Isla and Lucas Silva.
Likely starting line-up:
Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy
Isla/Silva, Diarra, Barrada
Alessandrini, Batshuayi, Cabella
Bastia have managed a fairly solid start to Ligue 1 this season, currently sitting in 6th after home wins against Rennes and Guingamp, whilst drawing with Lorient and losing to Saint-Etienne whilst on the road. Although the Corsicans won’t have any fans with them at the Velodrome, they do have ex-Olympians Brandao and Florian Raspentino in their squad, though they will be without Djiku and Kamano through suspension.
Bastia’s expected line-up:
Cioni, Squillaci, Modesto, Palmieri
Ayite, Diallo, Danic
As much as we said the Guingamp game was a must win, with tough games against Lyon and psg combined with the start of our Europa League campaign, it really is imperative that OM kick start the season now and begin to assert some sort of consistency.