Time: 19:00 (18:00 UK)
Venue: Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Last meeting – 29/10/11 Dijon 2-3 Marseille (Jovial, Corgnet; Remy, Cheyrou, Diarra)
Marseille home form: P14, W6, D6, L2, F19, A9, Pts24 (5th)
Dijon away form: P13, W2, D3, L8, F12, A28, Pts9 (15th)
Having now lost 5 games in a row, Marseille should be wary going into a game against a Dijon team looking to avoid relegation after their first season in Ligue 1, shouldn’t they? Well, yes and no. Qualification into the ¼ finals of the Champions League will certainly do a great deal for team morale, despite losing on the night and having Steve Mandanda sent off late on. More importantly, the performance against Inter will have instilled much confidence. Unlike the recent Ligue 1 games, the players looked worthy of wearing the famous OM logo on their strips, they played with determination, commitment and quality. Such a performance against a lesser team than Inter Milan should only result in a dominating OM victory, however, Marseille mustn’t let this confidence transcend into complacency otherwise another ligue disappointment could be on the cards.
When the teams last met in October, the result was the beginning of OM’s springboard that seen them slowly catch up with the Ligue’s leading teams, Deschamps’ men will hope this return fixture can provide them with another run of form that would see then creep back into the European places.
Marseille Team selection –
Despite some players not being 100% fit for the Inter game, Deschamps started with his strongest team on paper. It remains to be seen how many of those players made it through the Champions League game unscathed as both Remy and Valbuena were withdrawn in the second half, but are in the match-day squad, however, Andre Ayew won’t feature as he is nursing a shoulder injury.
The formation the team adopted against Inter was a 4-2-3-1, and despite this being problematic at the start of the season, it offered the team a great deal of midfield support and with the inclusion Diarra and Mbia, OM had 2 sturdy defensive midfielders who broke up a great deal of Inters play. Despite this not being as much of a worry when playing Dijon it does allow a very attacking forward 4 to work together and improve their collaborative performances, something that has been missing in recent domestic fixtures.
Cheyrou may well return to the starting 11, pushing Valbuena out left, acting as a more natural left midfielder leaving J. Ayew on the bench who could be introduced later into the match.
The likely starting line-up below is based on a 4-2-3-1 formation, used against Inter Milan.
Dijon Strengths –
1) Through balls – Dijon have created a number of chances through counter attacks and fast breaks this season, however one of their main threats will be through neat interplay around the OM box. This kind of play saw Dijon net 3 against Nice in week 24 with Kakuta, Jovial and Kone all getting their names on the score-sheet. Tracking runners and disciplined marking will be needed to avoid conceding in these situations, and that wouldn’t go amiss when defending corners either!
2) Benjamin Corgnet – Having netted 8 goals and provided 2 assists this season, Corgnet has been on of Dijon’s more consistent players. He has managed to score from a variety of positions such as individual skill against Montpellier dribbling forward from midfield before finishing the move himself. Also, given space in the opposition box he can finish chances provided by team mates such as in games against Bordeaux and Evian. If Diarra and Mbia can track his running and close him down then this will minimise his impact in midfield open play. If one of the OM defensive midfield pairing tracks Corgnet’s late runs into the box this will nullify another of his qualities.
Having put in a quality performance when it really mattered, les phoceens will hope there is no European hangover and they can match the Inter performance with a result against Dijon. Dijon have struggled on the road this season only picking up wins against Evian TG and AS Nancy. Marseille have enough in their squad to defeat Dijon comfortably, however, they should have had enough quality to defeat Valenciennes, Evian and Ajaccio in recent weeks and didn’t. Deschamps must ensure the players go out with the right mentality as they will need a great deal of confidence when facing Bayern Munich in the next round of the Champions League. Predicted result Marseille 3-1 Dijon.
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)
Weekend’s other Ligue 1 fixtures:
17/03 – 18:00
Lorient v Brest
Nancy v Montpellier
Auxerre v Evian
Bordeaux v Ajaccio
Caen v PSG
Saint-Etienne v Lyon (20:00)
Sochaux v Nice
Rennes v Toulouse
Lille v Valenciennes (20:00)