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:
Mandanda
Abdallah Nkoulou Mendes Mendy
Romao Cheyrou
Payet Valbuena Thauvin
Gignac

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:
Jourdren
Marveaux Hilton Congri Kaoutari
Stambouli Saihi
Camara Sanson Cabella
Montano

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

[vimeo 73294721 w=400 h=325]

Guingamp – Marseille – 11/08/13 – Match Preview

11/08/13 – 20:00 (UK Live on BTsport 1)
Ligue 1 – Game 1
EA Guingamp v Marseille
Stade Municipal du Roudourou, Guingamp

20130810-105028.jpg

Marseille begin their Ligue 1 campaign away at newly promoted Guingamp on Sunday evening. After a summer of some shrewd investment in the shadows behind psg and Monaco’s monetary prowess it’s time to prove that Ligue 1 is not going to be a two horse race and les phocéens have a big point to prove. After little investment last summer, along with losing the manager and some big name players (Azpilicueta, Mbia, Remy, Lucho and Diarra) OM still pushed psg further than most expected through disciplined and mature performances, the likes of which had rarely been witnessed under Deschamps guidance. Elie Baup will hope that the squad can keep this new found discipline, whilst improve on their poor entertainment value that saw the club criticised last year. The excellent start to the season that saw OM top the table with 6 wins from 6 certainly helped build confidence in a much changed club, and although OM haven’t underwent the same volume of changes this summer, a solid start to the season would help give credence to their title aspirations, to those ignorant to football outside of money.

Marseille

Elie Baup will be without the services of new signing Saber Khlifa who is not registered in time to feature, and Jeremy Morel who is suspended. Fellow new signings; Giannelli Imbula, Dimitri Payet and Benjamin Mendy are all expected to feature having trained and played in recent friendlies.
What will be interesting though is which formation Elie Baup decides to play. Having been successful with 4-2-3-1 throughout last season, the coach has experimented with 4-3-3 and even 4-4-2 during some of the friendlies. Through the results, it would be easy to suggest that those experiments didn’t work, however it does offer flexibility in varying attacks and supporting defence.
Through the suspension of Morel it is expected that Mendy will start at left back. Having impressed pre-season Imbula may start in defensive midfield along with Romao, and Payet will be likely to start on the right.
Imbula will start in defensive midfield facing up against his former club, alongside Romao.
Full squad: Mandanda, Samba – Abdallah, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Nkoulou – Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Imbula, Kadir, Romao, Valbuena – J. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Payet. Likely lineup and formation.
20130810-104928.jpg

Guingamp

Having finished 2nd in Ligue 2, Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side had the best home record in the ligue, 4th best defensive record and kept 15 clean sheets, so given that they are at home they will certainly be no pushovers as they look to pick up early points to avoid a relegation that most believe is expected. The team will have the backing of an expected sold out crowd and have a full strength squad available. After losing Imbula to us, Planté to Red Star Paris, Camara to CA Bastia, Bellugou to Nancy and Rouger to Rennes, Guingamp have strengthened their squad through Ligue 2 purchases. Sorbon from Caen, Langil from Auxerre, Beauvue from Chateauraux, Sankharé from Dijon and Assembe from Nancy are all expected starters from Guingamp.
The danger man for EAG is undoubtedly red-hot striker Mustapha Yatabaré. The 6 foot forward netted 23 times for Guingamp last season. His pace is certainly a strength although both Nkoulou and Mendes are not the slowest defenders he will come across, his quick thinking finishes inside the box may be his best chance of beating the defence and Mandanda.
Guingamp squad: Samassa, Assembe – Pereira, Sankoh, Sorbon, Leveque, Lemaitre – Kerbrat, Mathis, Diallo, Sankhare, Giresse, Atik – Beauvue, Langil, Yatabare, Douniama, Alioui.

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Summary
As always, it’s very difficult to predict results early on in the season particularly against newly promoted opposition, however, if both teams play to their strengths then Marseille should win this one.

Stats
Out of 6 meetings between EAG/OM in Brittany, Guingamp have won 3, OM 1 and 2 draws.
Marseille won last ligue game in Guingamp 1-0, 10 years ago with Bakayoko netting in the final minutes.
Last meeting between EAG/OM was Coupe de France match last season, OM won 2-1 (after extra time) with Gignac scoring both goals.

Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 9th
Montpellier 1-1 psg
Sat 10th
Nantes 2-0 Bastia
Rennes 2-1 Reims
Valenciennes 3-0 Toulouse
Lyon 4-0 Nice
Bordeaux 0-2 Monaco
Evian 1-1 Sochaux
Lille 1-0 Lorient
Sun 11th
Ajaccio – Saint-Etienne

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)

12th 1-0 win, 7th clean sheet in a row. OM just keep winning ugly

27/4/13 –16:00 (UK)
FC Lorient 0v1 Marseille
Stade du Moustoir, Lorient – Att 17395

Valbuena But

Team: Mandanda – Fanni (57′ Abdallah) Nkoulou Mendes Morel – Cheyrou Romao – jAyew Valbuena 1 (83′ Barton) aAyew – Gignac (91′ Amalfitano)

Marseille kept the pressure on the other teams at the top end of Ligue 1 with a typically disciplined performance against Lorient, as a single goal again proved to be the difference between Marseille and their opponents.

During the opening exchanges Lorient closed down well, with both teams struggling to find any space in a tight midfield. While Monnet-Paquet was the Lorient target down their right, Valbuena provided the most threatening runs and delivery for OM, his free kick on 7 minutes forcing Audard to push the ball round the post. OM’s next chance fell to ex-Lorient man Romao. Neat play down the left between Andre Ayew and Valbuena resulted in Romao dragging a half volley just wide of Audard’s near post.

The game could have changed on 20 minutes when Lucas Mendes cleared off the goal line to keep Mandanda’s clean sheet record intact. Baca broke into the box and shot from a tight angle at Mandanda, as the ball looped up off Mandanda, Mendes managed to volley the ball out of danger before the ball crossed the line.

The incident seemed to spark OM into life, who despite dominating possession had not threatened Audard too greatly. As the game opened up both teams enjoyed more space. Cheyrou played the ball into some of this space on the left for Gignac, who immediately played in Andre Ayew. Ayew’s shot was right at Audard and as the ball bounced out of the box, Valbuena was first to it and shot past the covering defenders for his 5th goal of the season.

After another Lorient break against Morel, Lorient this time did manage to get the ball past Mandanda. The resulting corner from Monnet-Paquet’s run was drilled in to Aliadière. As the ball was returned to Jouffre he cut inside and drilled a powerful shot past Mandanda. Fortunately for the OM defenders the assistant correctly judged that Jouffre had picked the ball up in an offside position.

As half time approached Lorient were beginning to look like the team likeliest to score next. Les Merlus players coped better with the artificial surface and continually pressed the OM team into making mistakes, Gignac and Valbuena were both caught in possession on the half way line leading to Lorient breaks forward.

For the majority of the second half both teams struggled to create any clear chances. Lorient continued to try and exploit Morel’s ‘weakness’ through Monnet-Paquet but consistent poor deliveries into the box meant the Lorient strikers rarely showed any danger of ending Mandanda’s clean sheet streak.

With the enforced substitution of Rod Fanni due to a knock, Lorient began to target the Marseille right more than they had been. Clearly seeing Abdallah as a weaker player than Morel. Their probing down the OM right almost paid off too as Auret struck a rasping shot off Mandanda’s cross bar.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Elie Baup decided to shut up shop and play rather defensively in the final stages of the game. The introduction of Barton for Valbuena left OM playing almost 4-5-1 when defending. As a result Lorient were restricted to shots from distance that never really troubled Mandanda.

Gignac Injury

As the game drew to a close the game became rather heated. First of all Gignac was clipped and pushed in the face. His protests about the challenges resulted in a booking for him as he was stretchered off the pitch and also a booking for Gassama and Jordan Ayew. Minutes later Barton was booked for a trip on Sunu, just before the full time whistle. The card action didn’t end there though as a scuffling Audard and Andre Ayew were both red carded after full time to put a slight damping on another solid win.

Ayew Red

Confirmation is awaited on the severity of Fanni’s injury, but initial reports expect him to be out for 7-10 days, making it likely that he will sit out next week’s game against Bastia along with Andre Ayew.

This was another great win for Marseille against a Lorient team who had only been beaten once at home before this game and had averaged 2 goals a game at home too.

Tough to give a man of the match for this team effort. Special mentions must go to Mandanda who kept up a stunning record of clean sheets, pulling off a number of superb saves in the process. Much maligned Jeremy Morel also played well, and despite being beaten on some occasions by Monnet-Paquet managed to put enough pressure on him to ensure there was rarely a good cross delivered from the right.

Reaction from Steve Mandanda: “I hope this is the victory that will ensure our place in the top three. This is a very important weekend and a very important victory, because Lille lost points at home and there is also a direct confrontation between Lyon and Saint-Étienne. We continued on our way, it was a very important win tonight. We won by our favourite score, 1-0, and in the end, it’s three points, like any other win. With four or five games to go we will not play like Barcelona. We play how we know how to, with the goal of taking three points.” (From ligue1.com)

Goals & highlights

Weekend fixtures:
Lille 3v3 Sochaux
Brest 0v2 Rennes
Valenciennes 0v0 Nancy
Bastia 0v0 Toulouse
Ajaccio 2v1 Montpellier
Bordeaux 0v0 Reims
Lyon 1v1 Saint-Etienne
Nice 3v1 Troyes
Evian 0v1 psg

Allez l’OM (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

Nice v Marseille 31/03/13 – Match Preview

OGC Nice v Marseille

31/03/13

Stade du Ray, Nice

Referee: Laurent Duhamel

 

After an international break, Marseille return to action on Easter Sunday against Mediterranean neighbours Nice. Having stuttered with form and results since Christmas, allowing the ligue title to escape them and other teams to close in on a Champions League spot, OM need a strong end of season push. Nice have continued to impress all this season with Claude Puel’s men slowly but steadily climbing the table.

 

Elie Baup is without Abdallah for this game and although Amalfitano is training again he does not make the match day squad. The full squad is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Abergel, Barton, Cheyrou, Abdullah, Valbuena, Kadir, A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Sougou, Gignac.

The inclusion of Cheyrou in a starting line up would help Barton link the defence and attack in a way that has been missing recently. Hopefully Sougou can continue with the form and threat that he had started to show before the break.

Expected starting line up:

Mandanda

Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel

Barton, Cheyrou

Sougou, Valbuena, A. Ayew

Gignac

 

Nice are without the suspended Eysseric along with the injured Bahoken and Traore. Pejcinovic and Cvitabich are both doubts.

With that in mind the likely starting line up for Nice is:

Ospina

Genovois, Civelli, Gomis, Kolodziejczak

Digard, Anin

Pied, Meriem, Bautheac

Bosetti

 

Nice are particularly strong at set pieces and are clinical with converting these chances. As they fften attacking down the middle, Barton and Cheyrou may drop central and deep to push Nice’ attackers wide at the last minute.

 

This game will undoubtedly be a tight fought affair and Marseille must be victorious if they are determined to qualify for the Champions League this season.

 

Predicted result: Nice 1v2 Marseille

 

 

 

 

Marseille v Ajaccio – 15/03/13 – Match Preview

Fri 15/03/13 – 19:30 (UK – Replayed on ESPN 07:45 Sat)

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Ref. – Nicola Rainville

 

Background –

Marseille play on a rare Friday evening as they look to keep hold of 3rd place, taking on mid-table AC Ajaccio. A disciplined performance ensured that OM weren’t beaten by OL last Sunday although les Phoceens will be disappointed that they didn’t take all 3 points after dominating large parts of the game. A draw may have been fair on reflection, and it also takes the pressure off a 1st place finish, perhaps allowing OM to concentrate on keeping hold of a Champions League place. A Champions League place is imperative now given recent reports from within the camp that both Valbuena and Nkoulou would be more likely to leave without the promise of Champions League matches, and also given the recent publications from the excellent ‘Swiss Ramble’ showing the difference between Champions League and Europa League in terms of incoming revenue for French teams.

The 2 goals from Andre Ayew in lasts season’s week 11, 2-0 win for Marseille coincided with their dramatic mid-season turnaround, and given the history between the 2 teams Marseille certainly have the upper hand with 8 wins to Ajaccio’s 1 at the Stade Velodrome.

 

Marseille –

The bore-draw against Lyon could be seen as a negative, however, I would like to think of the positives that the team, players and fans could take from this. Defensively, Marseille were disciplined, giving away very little and allowing Lyon few clear-cut chancers on goal. Many in the media have criticised Marseille as becoming a ‘boring team’ (I still feel that Toulouse and Bordeaux wear that crown), but Elie Baup has managed well with what he has. Attacking wise, OM have looked far more interesting with the inclusion of Sougou along with the effervescent Valbuena. Defensively we have looked a little suspect throughout the season, but as Romao or Cheyrou continue to develop an ever improving partnership with Barton, it is surely only a matter of time before the possession play and link up between defensive and attack becomes a great deal more pleasing on the eye.

Elie Baup is still without Amalfitano (knee), but Morel and Cheyrou are still expected to feature despite recent knocks. The Full squad consists of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Abdallah, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Barton, Cheyrou, Romao, Abdullah, A. Ayew, Valbuena, Kadir, Gignac, Sougou and J. Ayew.

Given Ajaccio’s weaknesses it would seem this is another game to get Valbuena and Sougou running at the opposition defence. Attacking with pace has caused ACA a number of problems this season and OM should look to exploit this, particularly at home.

Likely starting line-up:

Mandanda

Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Barton Romao

Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew

Gignac

 

Who are they? –

Former Marseille man Albert Emon brings his Ajaccio team to the Velodome hoping to pick up their first win in 8 years there. Having won the Ligue as OM’s striker in 71-72, he never managed to lift any silverware when in charge managing runners up spot and a French cup final spot too.

Emon will be without the suspended  Andre and Oliech, along with the injured Oberhausser and Pierazzi. Althou Chalme returns from suspension.

Ajaccio come into this game having lost 2 of their last 3 games and have won only 1 in their last 4, beating Lorient last week 1-0. They sit 12th in the away ligue tables having won only 2 of their 14 away games, drawing 6 and losing a further 6.

Ajaccio can be deadly on the counter attack, so this is something that OM must look out for if they keep the same high defensive line adopted in a number of the recent matches.  Set pieces have also challenged Ajaccio’s oppenents this season, and we don’t need to be reminded about Marseille’s weakness to these!

Likely Ajaccio line up and formation:

Ochoa

Lippini Zubar Poulard Bouhours

Mostefa Lasne

Belghazouani Cavalli Sammaritano

Mutu

 

Summary –

A win for Marseille will help keep them in position for a Champions League spot, which is perhaps realistically the best that can be hoped for this season. Given that Lyon have a tricky trip to Bastia and psg and Saint-Etienne could cancel each other out, this could be a great weekend for Marseille, however they need to start it well and that would come through a convincing win and performance.

 

Predicted score: Marseille 3-0 Ajaccio  

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Marseille 1.44

Draw 4.00

Ajaccio 8.00

 

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)

 

Other Ligue 1 games

Bastia v Lyon

Lille v Evian

Lorient v Brest

Montpellier v Troyes

Reims v Rennes

Sochaux v Valenciennes

Nancy v Nice

Toulouse v Bordeaux

Saint-Etienne v psg