Tag Archives: Ligue 1

Marseille v Montpellier – Match Preview – 29/11/13

After a disappointing outing midweek in the Champions League against Arsenal, Marseille return to Ligue 1 action just 3 days later against Montpellier at the Velodrome. OM will hope to make it 3 ligue wins from 3, while Montpellier look for their first win since their 5-1 demolition of Lyon, since playing out 3 straight losses followed by 3 draws.

Elie Baup is still without Andre Ayew, Rod Fanni and Laurent Abergel, however, Dimitri Payet does return to the squad. After being dominated on the left and in midfield and also creating very little upfront, Baup may bring about wholesale changes to the starting 11. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see Morel, Khalifa, Imbula, Lemina and Jordan Ayew return to the bench, while Abdallah may be safe for now due to the absence of Fanni still.

Cheyrou and Romao could be the central midfield pairing, with Payet, Valbuena and Thauvin hoping to keep their current ligue form going. As in previous games, getting the ball to those 3 players is a sure fire way of creating chances. With Gignac’s ability to draw defenders wide and out of position it also provides Valbuena with extra space in field, and Payet/Thauvin with opportunities to cut inside.

The full OM squad is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Thauvin, Lemina, J.Ayew, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet.

Likely starting line-up and formation:
Abdallah Nkoulou Mendes Mendy
Romao Cheyrou
Payet Valbuena Thauvin

Montpellier are currently 16th in the ligue table and are yet to win an away game having drawn 4 and losing their other 2. Away games against the ‘bigger teams’ have resulted in loses to date (1-4 Monaco and 0-2 Bordeaux). Montpellier’s problem this season has been picking up draws that could have been wins, with 8 of their 18 goals conceded coming in the last 15 minutes of either half. Jean Fernandez has no new injury or suspension concerns since their last game and is expected to name an unchanged team.

Likely line-up and formation:
Marveaux Hilton Congri Kaoutari
Stambouli Saihi
Camara Sanson Cabella

With games against Lille, Nantes, Lyon, Dortmund and Bordeaux coming up Marseille will be desperate to pick up 3 points and give themselves a little bit of breathing space between the chasing pack. With 7th placed Lyon and 17th placed Lorient only separated by 5 points, we want to keep clear of being dragged into that fight. Montpellier don’t really have the form going into this game, in terms of current or historical, having only won once at the Velodrome in 18 matches, although that was only 2 seasons ago.

Allez l’OM!
Andrew (@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)

Rennes and Napoli Reports

02/11/13 – Rennes 1-1 Marseille

The main positive that could be said about this game was, at least we stopped the rot, and avoided another defeat.

After another poor to a game, Marseille were lucky to be only 0-1 down within 10 minutes. Defensive blunders aplenty gave Rennes 3 good chances, but it was Oliver’s second chance that opened the scoring. A Morel mistake (huge surprise there) gifted Olivier the ball on the edge of the area and he let rip with a shot that left Mandanda with little chance of saving it.

This at least seemed to spur OM on, who seemed to wake up. On 14 minutes after Valbuena and Thauvin had already combined to warm Cotsil’s hands, Jordan Ayew managed to grab a goal. It came on the back of some good work from Romao who played in Abdallah whose accurate cross found jAyew who slotted home into an almost empty goal.

As much as OM dominated parts of the game, Rennes always looked incredibly dangerous on the counter with Kadir, Pitroipa and Alessandrini combining well often.

The second half brought much of the same with Thauvin and Valbuena looking the most lively of the OM players, but it looked to have been in vain when OM loan man Kadir was fouled in the box and Rennes awarded a penalty. Thankfully, Mandanda made up for some of his recent shaky performances with a fine save.

The game was possibly still there for the taking but some negative changes from Baup, would suggest that he was more than happy to hang on to a point.


06/11/13 Napoli 3-2 Marseille

With little more than pride to play for, along with an outside chance of finishing 3rd and a Europa League spot, Marseille started the game well. Seemingly away from the pressures of their own fans or just being out of the country, or perhaps they found a little bit of determination and desire, they passed well and found space and put the home side under pressure early on.

This start got even better when Andre Ayew opened the scoring on 10 minutes after he headed in an excellent corner from Thauvin.

Unfortunately that’s where most of the positives ended. OM defence capitulated in their usual spectacular fashion gifting first Inler and the Higuain perfect opportunities that they converted spectacularly and easily.

This was all within 25 minutes and it looked like it could be another of those nights where we were embarrassed on a global stage, out of Europe without so much of a whimper.

Somehow though we held on. Thauvin in particular had the kind of game that he is capable of, while Valbuena continued with his ever impressive consistently good form. Thauvin’s hard work and endeavour looked to have paid off for OM as he netted in the 65th minute.

Unfortunately, as good as we were in attack, we were equally, if not worse in defence. This allowed Huguain to net his second with 15 minutes left to play as he netted in acres of space.

It is desperately disappointing that after missing out on Champion’s League football last season we have 0 points from 4 games this time out. With our remaining games against Dortmund and Arsenal our best hope is to at least have some more positive performances and finish with some points! Lets enjoy those last few games as fans because who knows when we’ll be back in the Champion’s League at this rate!

Allez l’OM

(@aswanny84 & @marseilleUK)


Valenciennes 0-1 Marseille Match Report

A late Andre Pierre Gignac goal was the difference between the two sides at Le Stade de Hainaut. A draw would’ve probably been a fairer result but OM found a way to sneak all 3 points. This was generally a pretty tight match containing few clear cut chances. OM failed to exploit VAs potential weaknesses, especially in the 2nd half. The only change OM made was a forced one – Benoit Cheyrou in for the injured Gilbert Imbula. They lined up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, although the attacking quartet were very fluid and roamed around the field a lot. The first half contained relatively little action. In the 5th minute, Dimitri Payet had a shot deflected over the bar as OM generally had control of the game. They were given a massive scare mid-way through the period though when Bahebeck beat the offside trap and found himself all alone in the area. Fortunately for OM, he failed to control the ball properly and it was a massive let off. At the other end, Gignac should’ve scored just moments later when he lobbed just wide following a Penneteau cock up.

Marseille’s number 9 was very active in the 1st half and looking pretty sharp upfront. In the 25th minute he controlled well before unleashing a shot which passed wide of the post. OM were on top at this stage and Andre Ayew had a decent chance on the half hour mark, but his header was saved by Penneteau. The rest of the period went by without major incident, although just before the interval Mathieu Valbuena nearly scored a sensational goal, cracking a volley from over 30 yards out which passed just over the bar. 0-0 was a pretty fair reflection of the 1st half, although OM did appear to have more control and generally looked the more likely to make something happen.

Things weren’t so good after the break for Elie Baup’s men as they struggled to create chances. Valenciennes came into the game more and Mandanda made a good save to deny Bahebeck early on in the period. OM gradually improved and forced a succession of corners on the hour mark, but they couldn’t make their pressure pay off. What followed was a stalemate for about 20 mins before everything kicked back into life towards the end of the game. Mathieu Dossevi had a massive chance for VA but Mandanda saved well. On the rebound, Maor Melikson had an even bigger occasion but somehow fluffed the opportunity. The hosts had blown a massive chance to go ahead and OM would punish them just a few minutes later.

Slack marking from a corner allowed Andre Ayew a free header which Penneteau could only parry. Gignac, ever the poacher was on hand to convert and gave OM a 1-0 lead. With just 5 mins left it looked like OM had sneaked all 3 points. But VA should’ve had their share of the spoils and missed a humongous opportunity with not long left on the clock. A poor error from Nicola Nkoulou allowed Opa Nguette time and space at the back post, but he put his shot wide when it looked harder to miss! Saber Khelifa had come on for OM and he nearly scored what would’ve been a superb individual effort, but his late attempt was well saved by the keeper. That was to be the last piece of action as the final whistle was blown soon after. A very good and hard fought 3 points to pick up. This sort of victory is the sign of a good team who manages to find a way to win when not playing all that well.

Player ratings. Mandanda 6, Fanni 5, Diawara 6, Nkoulou 4, Morel 5, Romao 5, Cheyrou 5, Ayew 6, Valbuena 6, Payet 5, Gignac 7

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