Rennes v Marseille
Sat 26/01/13 – 16:00 (UK)
Stade de la Route de Lorient, Rennes
Ref – Tony Chapron
With a gas leak in Rouen postponing Marseille’s Coupe de France game mid-week, OM will have had slightly longer than planned to prepare for a tough trip to 5th placed Rennes. Unfortunately the squad had already travelled to Rouen, so may not be as fresh as they could have been. Rennes have had a week to recover from their 2-0 ligue win over Bastia, as they were eliminated from the Coupe de France by RC Lens in the round of 64.
Marseille are without the services of Kabore and Kadir, who are both involved with the African Cup of Nations. Modou Sougou, midweek signing from CFR Cluj, took part in training with the squad this week and is expected to play some part in the game.
As much as the pointless trip to Rouen was mid-week, it means that the last game OM played in was their 3-2 win over Montpellier, where Gignac netted a late winner. This poor performance that still resulted in a victory is sometimes what teams need to keep their form going.
The 18 man team is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Abdullah, Aloe, Abdullah, Barton, Cheyrou, Valbuena, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Gignac, Sougou.
Rennes have often shown that they are weak in defending attacks from wide areas. The prevalence of Andre Ayew and Valbuena in the Montpellier match should ensure they see more success against Danze and Mavinga.
Barton may have to drop deep to support either ex-Rennes man Fanni, or Morel against the emphatic Alessandrini, who can dribble, pass and shoot, particulalrly when cutting in from the left. If Barton supports in the manner that he shown in the past, he will act as an extra body to push Alessandrini wide, and eliminate the risk of the shot from distance.
Likely starting line-up: 4-2-3-1; Mandanda – Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel – Barton, Cheyrou – J. Ayew, Valbuena, A. Ayew – Gignac
Who Are They?
Rennes currently occupy 5th place in the ligue table, after finishing a respectable 6th at the end of the last campaign. After a poor start to the season, losing to Lyon, Bordeaux, Marseille and Lorient, Rennes sat 18th after week 6. Since then, however, Rennes have stormed up the ligue table only failing to win 4 times from 15 games, against ASSE, Evian, Nice and Bordeaux.
Rennes have a wealth of talent at their disposal, despite the departure of the enigmatic Yann M’vila to Rubin Kazan this week. Frederic Antonetti’s main threats will undoubtedly come from the experienced Julien Feret, and the exciting talent of Romain Alessandrini. Feret is good in the air and will be likely to trouble OM’s nervous defence during set-peieces, if he is not taking them himself. He has already weighed in with 6 goals and 2 assists this season. Alessandrini has the same stats with 6 goals and 2 assists, with the only difference being that most of Alessandrini’s goals have been goal of the season contenders.
Just as Marseille can do with their 3 supporting attackers, Diallo, Feret and Alessandini can all change position throughout the game, posing a constant fresh threat to the whole of the defensive line.
Last season Marseille benefited from an own goal, from Onykachi Apam, to help them to a 2-1 victory and they may need more of the same luck this season, because this will definitely be a tough game. Both teams pose similar attacking threats, and have the same ligue record in the last 4 games, WWLW. Rennes sit 12th in the home form tables whereas Marseille are joint top in away results, so the game looks as if it will be a tight affair, with a couple of goals to be expected. An individual error or moment of magic could well be the deciding factor in this game.
Predicted result: Rennes 1-2 Marseille
Selected odds (from Bet365.com, correct at time of publication):
Weekend’s other Ligue 1 fixtures:
Valenciennes 0-2 Lyon
Evian v Ajaccio
Montpellier v Sochaux
Nancy v Lorient
Reims v Toulouse
Troyes v Brest
Saint-Etienne v Bastia
Nice v Bordeaux
psg v Lille