Evian Thonon Gaillard v Olympique Marseille
Parc des Sports d’Annecy
16:00 (UK) Live on BTsports1
Marseille head back into Ligue 1 action after the winter break. The campaign under Jose Anigo has yielded only one victory so for, last week in the Coupe de France, however, there have been some glimpses of positivity and improvement from the squad. Their opponents, Evian, approach the game just 2 places and 6 points above the relegation zone, and have lost their last 3 games.
Full news is awaited on the OM squad selected for the game, however it expected that both Andre Ayew and Valbuena will not make the squad despite the later having returned to trainging recently. Steve Mandanda is expected to return in goal after missing the cup game against Reims. With Jordan Ayew currently out on loan at Sochaux, and Valbuena’s injury, it is predicted that ex-Evian attacker Saber Khalifa will start in the attacking group along with Thauvin, Payet and Gignac.
Expected line-up and formation:
Fanni Nkoulou Diawara Mendy
Khalifa Thauvin Payet
Evian have played one more game than OM since the winter break, first facing Bastia in the Coupe de France (0-1) and then played their re-arranged ligue game against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday (0-1). This could work in their favour in terms of match practice, or they could be a little more fatigued playing 2 intense games in quick succession. OM loanee, Sougou, is not expected to start in the game, but hopefully he won’t have the traditional impact of a loaned player and score against us if he is involved!
OM will need to be wary of the skill of Wass and also his ability to bring in Berigaud and Benezet with through balls, something we have seemed particularly week in dealing with in recent games. Attacking play from Khalifa and Payet, supported by Fanni and Mendy should lead to some excellent goal-scoring opportunities for OM, they have shown strength here in recent games and is a particular weakness of Evian.
Expected Evian line up and formation:
Djedje Mongongou Angoula Sabaly
Berigaud Barbosa Benezet
This will be a tough game for both sides and OM will look for their first win at the Parc des Sports d’Annecy having lost and drawn their previously. It is also important to remember that despite their position in the ligue, Evian have picked up wins at home against Lyon and psg this season as well as picking up draws against Bordeaux and Monaco, so they can certainly up their game against ‘the big teams’.
Andrew (@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)