Deschamps Decides to Depart Continue reading
The summer transfer window had been quite eventful for Marseille and despite not winning le championat, in the previous season, they managed to hold on to the majority of their squad, ensuring they had a team that most felt would challenge big-money PSG for the title. Continue reading
The votes have been counted up, so can we start by thanking everyone who took their time to vote for Marseille’s Player of the Season and Young Player of the Season. In the end it became quite close between 2 players in each category with Cesar Azpilicueta coming a close 2nd in the Young Player category and Mathieu Valbuena 2nd in the (Senior) Player voting. The winners were as follows: Continue reading
Time: 19:00 (UK)
Venue: Stade François Coty, Ajaccio, Corsica
Last meeting – 22/10/11 Marseille 2-0 Ajaccio (A. Ayew 2)
Ajaccio home form: P13, W4, D5, L5 (18th)
Marseille away form: P12, W4, D3, L5 (7th)
Having began 2012 in unbeaten inspired form, Marseille have failed to win any of their last 5 Ligue 1 games and have now lost 3 in a row, failing to score in any of those games. Marseille face a difficult trip to Corsica as they prepare to play their 5th game in just 13 days and hope to end this abysmal run of form in the ligue. OM’s opponenets, AC Ajaccio, also started 2012 well, clawing their way up to 15th in the table after 4 consecutive wins, however, since then their solitary victory over Dijon in week 25 has seen them slip back into the relegation places.
When the sides last met, in October, OM were just beginning their fight-back and picked up a 2-0 victory thanks to a brace from Andre Ayew. In truth the score-line could have and should have been higher as OM had 36 shots on goal with ACA ‘keeper Guillermo Ochoa making no less than 13 saves during the match. Marseille inability to finish goal-scoring chances has been a problem all season and has become a prominent feature in the last 3 ligue 1 games, however, les phoceens will hope the return of Loic Remy can help remedy this issue.
Marseille Team selection –
With fatigue and injury robbing Didier Deschamps of a number of his starting 11 recently there are 3 shining lights ahead of this game with the potential return of Stephane Mbia, Loic Remy and Mathieu Valbuena. Marseille’s top scorer and assister have been sorely missed in recent games and their inclusion in the travelling squad alone may give some tired player an important lift.
The physio’s room has had another visitor this week though as Andre Ayew damaged his shoulder in the Evian defeat and joins Gignac who won’t travel either, although Ayew is expected to travel to Milan for the return Champions League fixture next week.
Deschamps must make the important decision of if he should immediately put Remy and Valbuena back into the starting line-up. These two players need to be at their best against Inter if OM are to qualify, however there are some worried that neither are 100% fit. As a result Deschamps may start both on the bench and give them a 25-30 minute run-out at the end. Given the weakness of the defence in recent matches Mbia could start for the first time since week 20 in a central defensive partnership with Nkoulou, who along with Fanni have looked the more consistent of defenders in recent games. If Marseille do opt to start without Valbuena and Remy it could see a rather defensive central midfield partnership of Diarra and Kabore with Cheyrou dropping into left midfield, as he has been required to do so a number of times this season. With the return of Remy this could be the enigmatic Brandao’s last chance to impress seeing that his form and effort seem to have wained somewhat in recent games. Possible Marseille line-up:
Ajaccio dangers –
1) Eduardo. Having signed from Ligue 2 side RC Lens, during the January transfer window, Eduardo, has made an excellent start to his Ajaccio career, notching up 4 goals and 1 assist in just 7 appearances. He has shown he has a good first touch, strength, skill and composure with his goals this season. Marseille’s defence must close him down quickly, putting him under pressure to avoid him running at them and potentially playing others in too.
2) Shots. As obvious as it sound, Marseille must stop Ajaccio shooting. Ajaccio average 1 in 3 shots being on target, just less than Evian, and Evian proved mid-week that with good finishing it is more than possible to beat Marseille playing counter-attacking football. This may be how Ajaccio set out for the game and they will look to punish an OM defence with every opportunity they get.
This game will provide a test of mental strength rather than physical strength or skill for Marseille, as they will look to give themselves a much needed boost ahead of the all-important Champions League game next week. However, despite Ajaccio being near the foot of the table, at this stage in the season that offers its own problems. There are very few teams in Ligue 1 this season with ‘nothing to play for’. There are at least 8 teams fighting against relegation, and another 6 fighting for a European place, as it stands there are no Ligue 1 teams safe in mid-table obscurity. Make no mistake about it, Ajaccio will be up for this game and a win could help put 6 points between themselves and the bottom two (Auxerre and Sochaux).
Predicted score: Ajaccio 2-1 Marseille
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)
Marseille v Toulouse Match Preview
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Having tasted defeat for the first time in 11 games last weekend away to Brest, Marseille will want to return to winning ways this Saturday against Toulouse. The defeat by Brest and draw with Valenciennes will hopefully just be a blip for Deschamps’ men who managed a hard fought win against Inter Milan between those two games. Last time these two sides met in week 10, both sides finished with 10 men and drew 0-0.
Having worked so hard to catch up with the ‘chasing pack’ of Ligue 1 teams, OM will want to make sure that they don’t slip away and miss out on the final Champions League spot, and a win against Toulouse, who are one place and one point above them will help ensure this isn’t the case. A busy schedule of fixtures has meant that Marseille will not be at full strength as they will be without Remy, Mbia and Valbuena. There was also some injury concerns around the Ayew brothers and Morel, however they are all expected to be fit enough to feature.
The game against Brest will be good preparation for this game for Marseille. Brest sat-back, countered and piled men behind the ball when not in possession. It can be expected that Toulouse will do the same and at times this season they have looked incredibly dangerous on the counter, such as in wins against Bordeaux, Nancy and Valenciennes.
Marseille must be weary of Toulouse’s style of play as they have conceded a number of goals against similar teams this season. If TFC decide to venture out of their own half they may well attack OM’s right side just as Inter did in the first half of the Champions League game. They are also likely to play dangerous through balls, the likes of which OM have struggled against a number of times this season. As much attacking threat as Toulouse offer it must be noted that they have failed to score in 8 games this season, twice as many as OM and this is potentially why their top goals scorers, Bulut and Riviere have only 4 goals each, as many as Cheyrou.
It is likely that this will be another difficult game for Marseille, playing a team that will more than likely set up happy to take a draw back with them. However, if Marseille are really expecting to pick up the final Champions League place, or be possible outside, outside title contenders then they simply must win games against Valenciennes, Brest and now Toulouse, no matter how well the opposition play or how good their respective form is. Predicted result: Marseille 1-0 Toulouse
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)
Team Roatation Leaves OM Flat As They Fail To Overcome Valenciennes