Category Archives: Match Previews & Reports

Marseille v Lyon – ‘Olympico’ Match Preview – 20/09/15

OMOL

The ‘Olympico’, a term some love and some hate, but regardless of your thoughts about its title there’s no doubt that the competition around this game over the past few seasons has become more and more intense. With both teams pushing towards the top of Ligue 1 more recently, regardless of the ‘history’ of the game, there’s no doubt that it means a great deal to the fans and the players. With the return of Valbuena to the Velodrome this season, there’s perhaps even more at stake.

OM approach the game after back to back wins for the first time under Michel, having seen off Bastia at home 4-1 last week, OM achieved their first away win of the campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Dutch opponents Groningen in the Europa League. The win was achieved with an unexpected starting 11 that contained 6 changes to the side that turned over Bastia. In Europe, OM unusually played as more of a counter-attacking side, having less possession than their opponents for the first time since Bielsa took charge. This worked well though for OM as they created a number of chances from these breaks, and against sides like Lyon and psg this could be a successful way forward.

Michel has Diarra fit for the match, but Dja Djedje. Ocampos and Rolando are all rested. The squad could well be looking for the experience and cool headedness from Diarra that they have often lacked in the ‘big’ games of the past few seasons. Diaby is still yet to feature again as he continues his progress towards match fitness. It would be no surprise to see Michel start with the same side that beat Bastia last Sunday.

The full OM squad: Mandanda, Pele, De Ceglie, Manquillo, Mendy, Nkoulou, Rekik, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Barrada, Cabella, Diarra, Isla, Romao, Sarr, Silva, Zambo Anguissa, Batshuayi, Nkoudou.

Likely starting 11:

Mandanda

Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Diarra

Alessandrini, Silva, Barrada, Cabella

Batshuayi

Lyon come into the game on the back of 2 draws, 0-0 at home against Lille and 1-1 away in Gent (UCL). Prior to this Hubert Fournier’s side have also struggled to get going this season picking up a point Lorient, 3 away at Guingamp and Caen, whilst suffering a defeat at the hands of Rennes. Lyon will be without Fofana and Fekir, while Kone and Rafael are both doubts. Former OM hero, Valbuena, returns as the pantomime villain having returned to France after a season with Dynamo Moscow. OM had initially retired his number 28 shirt when he left, however none expected him to return to France, especially not with one of OM’s major rivals. Another former OM ‘hero’, Morel, also returns to the Velodrome although it would be fair to say his reception could be far more lenient than that of Valbuena who is views as more of a ‘traitor’ (Valbuenain). Morel was a love-hate figure at OM who grew to be liked more towards the end of his tenure at the club through his effort and endevours, though he was always susceptible to the odd howler. Valbuena and Beavue are likely to be the dangermen, but the OM defensive line can’t forget about Lacazette who will be desperate to rekindle his form from last season and get back on the good side of the OL fans.

The view of @OLnews_eng:

Saying that OL is preparing this first huge league matchup of the season with limited confidence is an understatement. Coming off a very, very disappointing result in Champions League, OL has only showed glimpses of the free-flowing possession football that made them a title contender last season. If the defence is relatively satisfying (4 clean sheets in 5 league games), new signings Rafael and Yanga Mbiwa have been mostly average in the back. They’ll both miss out the Olympico, pushing Fournier towards a tried-and-tested backline with Bedimo, Bisevac, Umtiti and Jallet. OL’s main weakness has been its midfield. Gonalons’ still far from his best level, while Tolisso and especially Ferri have struggled early after enjoying breakout seasons last year. Valbuena’s been one of the most consistent performers, but can’t do it all in midfield. OL’s costliest signing of the summer, Spanish mid Sergi Darder, could make his debut but probably isn’t ready to go a full 90 minutes. He could help a team that has struggled when facing a high pressure, like against Rennes or Gent. Up top, Lacazette’s goal drought continues and his partnership with Beauvue still doesn’t seem very natural. The former Guingamp man has shown glimpses of brilliance, with a wonderful goal against Caen and a late game-winner in Guingamp. But he has tended to disappear from games a bit too much, and it’s obvious his partners still need to understand better how he likes to receive the ball and how he times his runs.

Likely starting 11:

Lopes

Jallet, Yanga-Mbiwa, Umtit, Morel

Ferri, Gonalons, Tolisso

Valbuena

Lacazette, Beavue

At the Velodrome OM certainly have history on their side having won 20 games to Lyon’s 10, with another 15 games ending in draws. 3 of the last five games have been draws including last years 0-0 which came after emphatic wins for both Olympion’s before hand, 4-2 to OM in 2013/14 after a 4-1 reverse in 2012/13. There is a great deal riding on the outcome for  both teams to give a statement of intent which could see them get their season on track.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@marseilleuk

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Marseille v Bastia – 13/09/15 – Match Preview

OM SCB

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:

Mandanda

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:

Hansen

Cioni, Squillaci, Modesto, Palmieri

Cahuzac, Fofana

Ayite, Diallo, Danic

Brandao

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.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

Guingamp 2-0 Marseille – 28/08/15 – Match Report

Guingamp 2-0 Marseille

(Privat, Benezet)

Mandanda – Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy – Diarra (Sparagna 82) – Lemina, Barrada (Ocampos 64) – Alessandrini, Batshuayi, Cabella (Sarr 76)

Subs N/U: Doria, Romao, Pele, Zambo-Anguissa

from OM.net

A week after securing their first Ligue 1 win of the season in convincing style, OM helped another Ligue 1 team to do the same, as they stuttered to an underwhelming 0-2 defeat at the hands of Guingamp.

Despite dominating long periods of possession (31%61) and having 14 shots on goal, OM couldn’t find the breakthrough in the final 1/3 of the pitch and the hosts efforts and endeavours allowed them to run out winners in the end.

After receiving the plaudits for an impressive performance against Troyes, Diarra gave OM the worst possible start as he gave away a penalty inside 60 seconds after a clumsy foul. Mandanda saved, but the penalty was poor. Diarra’s initial indiscretion was continued throughout the game as OM eventually picked up 6 bookings before full time, showing a surprising lack of discipline.

After 10 minutes OM gained some good possession, keeping control of the ball and building up to around 79% possession by the 15 minute mark, but this didn’t trouble Lossl too much still. Most of OM’s chances came through Batshuayi’s endeavours, as he ran, dribbled and took players on after struggling to receive anything near the quality he was provided with last week against Troyes. Diarra struggled to gain a foothold in midfield along with Barrada, whilst Cabella’ and Alessandrini’s contributions were sporadic at best and both lacked the final ball.

Mendy had a difficult night against Coco, however much of this could be put down to picking up a booking after only 15 minutes and having to hold back for the rest of the game. It felt as though he had to hold back from pushing forwards and so there was limited offensive work from him and Jacobsen managed well against the occasional attack down the OM left.

Having struggled in front of goal so far this season as we approached the final 20 minutes of the game, most could be forgiven for perhaps expecting a drab 0-0 draw, although us OM fans should know better than that. Guingamp’s first goal came after a foul on Cabella. EAG immediately broke up field. Briand rode his luck a little as he took the ball past 2 OM players and played in Privat for an easy finish, however, it must also be noted that in the initial ball up-field, Privat was clearly offside and as a result, the goal probably shouldn’t have counted. However, it did and this gave OM a slight push to look to attack.

Marseille managed to net, but this was correctly judged offside (unlike the Guingamp goal). As OM’s desperation deepened, Guingamp delivered the killer blow, a second goal, this time by Benezet. It must be said that it was a neat finish.

Are there any positives to take from the game? Hmm, not really. Some good saves from Mandanda, Batshuayi can create his own chances and erm, well I’m struggling to be honest. OM lacked discipline throughout and service was poor in the final 1/3 of the pitch as, there also seemed to be very little in the form of a ‘Plan B’, perhaps this is because there is no alternative to ‘Plan Batshuayi’, at least last season Gignac and Batshuayi offered something different to each other, they complemented each other in that they were contrasting and if it didn’t work with one, it could work with the other.

If nothing else, hopefully this game has served that as a reminder to Michel, and far more importantly to Labrune. This squad and backroom team has been decimated since the end of last season, a new manager and one win is not going to turn that around overnight. Get buying!!

Allexz l’OM!

Guingamp v Marseille – 28/08/15

OM team

Having started week 3 with their 3rd manager, no wins and the lowest Ligue goal-scorers, an emphatic win over Troyes took OM from the foot of the table and to the Ligue’s joint highest scorers, bringing some much needed pride and confidence to the Velodrome. Some excellent performances from new signings Diarra and Cabella along with solid performances from Mendy, Batshuayi and Alessandrini were the pick of the bunch, though everyone played their part.

The 6-0 win certainly hit the headlines, but as good as OM were, the second half performance from Troyes meant that as good as OM were, most Ligue 1 teams would probably have put a number of goals past Troyes as they completely collapsed and looked as dejected a side I have ever seen. So another week and another test for Michel and his squad. The result against Troyes will be quickly forgotten in aid of more ‘crisis-club’ headlines should OM fail to pick up a win over bottom of the Ligue, Guingamp, who have failed to register a goal or point so far this season.

Michel has managed to bolster his squad already with the loan of Real Madrid’s Lucas Silva, though he isn’t available for the match-day squad yet, Dja Djedje misses out through the injury he received before the Troyes match, so Romao returns to the squad after his suspension. Given the performance against Troyes it is likely that Michel will name the same starting 11.

The full squad consists of: Pele, Madndanda, Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Doria, Sparagna, Mendy, Lemina, Diarra, Sarr, Barrada, Romao, Frank-Zambo Aguissa, Ocampos, Alessandrini, Cabella, Nkoudou, Batshuayi.

OM expected line-up:

Mandanda

Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Lemina, Diarra

Alessandrini, Barrada, Cabella

Batshuayi

A trip to Guingamp is never easy, OM have won as many games there as they have lost (3 each with 2 draws too), and Joeclyn Gourvennec will want to bring some cheer to the home faithful after a poor start to the season. After the highs of last season’s Europa League exploits, many expected Guingamp to make a positive start to this season without continental distractions, however, 3 straight losses to Nantes, Lyon and Bastia have left the club bottom of Ligue 1.

Life was always going to be difficult for Guingamp after losing last season’s top scorer, Caludio Beauvue to Lyon and as a result they’ve failed to find the back of the net so far. Their average of 4 shots on target per game, compared to OM’s 5 showing the difference a week can make to how clinical a team can appear statistically in front of goal.

Expected Guingamp line up

Lossl

Jacobsen, Kerbrat, Sorbon, Leveque

Salibur, Mathis, Sankhare, Giresse

Benezet, Briand

 

Coming off the back of such a big win, OM will have to perform well again. This will keep morale and confidence high amongst the squad ahead of tougher games (Lyon and psg in the next 5 games) and demonstrate to other teams and the press that the Troyes game was not just a flash in the pan.

 

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

Marseille v ESTAC Troyes – 23/08/15

OM.net

OM.net

This weekend brings around OM’s 3rd game of the season, with their 3rd manager of the season as they still look for their first points of the campaign. New manager Michel was appointed earlier in the week and quickly took charge of training sessions, pitting the pro team against CFA squad and made it clear that he requires some investment into the squad. The week also brought about the much expected departure of the inconsistent Florian Thauvin that brought in Remy Cabella as part of the deal.

Michel brings experience having managed Getafe, Sevilla and Olympiakos and has experience in European competitions. He is expected to play a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation that the squad should be comfortable enough playing. Immediate changes Michel brought about is the first inclusion in the match day squad this season for Doria, the hot prospect, whose purchase caused so many issues between Bielsa and the board. Frank-Zmabo Aguissa also makes the squad alongside new-boy Remy Cabella. There is no Romao in the squad who is expected to depart imminently.

The full squad consists of: Pele, Madndanda, Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Doria, Sparagna, Mendy, Dja Djedje, Lemina, Diarra, Alessandrini, Cabella, Nkoudou, Sarr, Barrada, Frank-Zambo Aguissa, Ocampos, Batshuayi.

Off the pitch the Virage Nord closed again after incidents at the end of last season, their absence from the Velodrome today will be the last as the Yankee Nord groups return to the terraces for the next home game.

OM expected line-up:

Mandanda

Dja Djedje, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Lemina, Diarra

Alessandrini, Cabella, Ocampos

Batshuayi

Troyes have picked up 2 sraws from their opening fixtures, both of which have came at home (0-0 GFC Ajaccio and 3-3 with Nice). This is their first Ligue 1 game on the road this season, and you have to go back to 2001 to find their last win at the Velodrome, having lost the last 4 and drawing once since.

In their ranks they have Fabien Camus who began his career at OM and has just joined ESTAC from Genk, new signing Chris Mavinga is suspended, but striker Brayan Perea has joined the matchday squad after his switch from Lazio.

Predicting performance and results is always difficult and with new signings coupled with a new manager who knows what will happen on Sunday evening. Let’s hope for some stability, a solid performance, and the introduction of some new signings (and old signings). I’m sure Michel has learned a great deal about his team during the week, and will learn even more tonight.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@MarseilleUK

Marseille 1v2 Livorno (Friendly)

Marseille 1-2 Livorno

(Sarr pen.; Fedato, Maicon)

Pele – Dubois, Tuiloma, Andonian, Sane – Romao – Sarr, Baradda – Ocampos, Batshuayi, Nkoudou

Subs: Aloe, Abergel, Dja Djedje, Boutobba

Subs N/U: Escales

With only 2 players starting from the previous friendly line-ups, Bielsa opted for an inexperienced Marseille line-up against the Italian Livorno side. The defense in particular looking extremely inexperienced, however, it is some valuable game time for these players ahead of a season where they will undoubtedly be called upon at some point with a heavy fixture schedule with the additional pressures of Europa League football.

The first goal came once Livorno had broken down the right. The cross from the by-line was nodded to the far post by Fedato, and Pele could only watch helplessly as the ball bounced in off the post.

With the usual raft of substitutions at half time, OM brought on some more experience with Dja Djedje and Boutobba alongside Aloe and Abergel adding to their pre-season time (the latter just before making a move to AC Ajaccio).

After a clumsy pull in the box, Sarr stepped up to take the resulting OM penalty and coolly netted the equaliser.

Unfortunately less than 10 minutes later, Livorno had again taken the lead. Maicon with an excellent run from deep, playing a 1-2 before netting around Pele.  It did seem as though he was given too much space through the centre as he ran, and you would expect Romao to be protecting the centre of defence in a more disciplined manner, however this was a friendly with a vastly changed squad.

It will be interesting to see how OM line up and perform against last seasons Champions League finalists, Juventus, at the Velodrome at the weekend.

om-text-title

Pre season stats:

Goals:
Batshuayi 3
Thauvin 2
Alessandrini 2
Sarr 2
Ocampos 1
Boutobba 1
Lemina 1

Playing time:
Sarr – 270
Dja Djedje – 260
Mandanda – 243
Sparagna – 230
Barrada – 225
Batshuayi – 212
Rekik – 209
Ocampos – 207
Lemina – 195
Nkoulou – 180
Alessandrini – 180
Sane – 178
Nkoudou – 178
Mendy – 170
Aloe – 168
Tuiloma – 163
Thauvin – 149
Romao – 135
Pele – 117
Boutobba – 100
Andonian – 79
Dubois – 83
Abergel – 29

Antalyaspor 2-5 Marseille

Antalysaspor 2v5 Marseille
(Simsek, Chico; Lemina, Alessandrini 2, Batshuayi, Sarr)
Mandanda – Sparagna, Nkoulou, Rekik – Dja Djedje, Lemina, Mendy – Barrada – Thauvin, Batshuayi, Alessandrini
Subs: Andonian, Aloe, Tuiloma, Dubois, Sane, Boutobba, Nkoudou, Pele, Sarr
Subs N/U: Escales, Romao, Ocampos

After the defeat at the hands of Fenerbahce, it was important to get the pre-season on course again to hit the Ligue 1 groiund running, and that’s exactly what OM did as they swept aside Turkish Super Lig side Antalyaspor.
Despite the lack of difficulty that the opposition provided it was good to see more positives from OM with Lemina, Alessandrini, Thauvin and Sparagna in particular continuing to impress ahead of the new season.
As would be expected in an OM game, Marseille kept control of the possession well, showing that Bielsa will continue with this sort of game plan next term, though it will be interesting to see if his pre-season option of a 3-3-1-3 formation (as like last pre-season) continues into Ligue 1, whereas last year this fell by the wayside relatively early on.
OM started well and found themselves 3-0 just after 30 minutes. Well worked and excellently taken goals from Lemina and Alessandrini were followed up by a good strike from Batshuayi who showed strength and determination to turn the defence and shoot.
After a wealth of changes from both sides, Antalyaspor started the second half brightly and were soon rewarded with a well struck goal from Simsek. Minutes later though Alessandrini extended the OM lead with an excellent solo effort, akin to the likes he seemed to score at Rennes.
Sarr’s goal was another well worked goal as some neat play down the left saw Mendy cut a cross back and Sarr powered home the finish.
Antalysapor reduced the arrears just before the end, but it can’t take away from an emphatic attacking performance for OM. Bielsa will be buoyed with the result and much of the performance, but thankfully the acquisition of Manquillo will hopefully help to solidify the defence, who are still allowing the opposition in behind all too often.

om-text-title
Pre season stats:

Goals:
Batshuayi 3
Thauvin 2
Alessandrini 2
Ocampos 1
Boutobba 1
Lemina 1
Sarr 1

Playing time:
Mandanda – 243
Sparagna – 230
Dja Djedje – 215
Rekik – 209
Lemina – 195
Nkoulou – 180
Sarr – 180
Barrada – 180
Alessandrini – 180
Mendy – 170
Batshuayi – 167
Thauvin – 149
Aloe – 123
Ocampos – 117
Sane – 88
Nkoudou – 88
Tuiloma – 73
Boutobba – 55
Romao – 45
Andonian – 34
Pele – 27
Dubois – 22