Tag Archives: Lyon

Labrune, Fit for Purpose?

Labrune

Irish Marseille fan Kevin Galvin (@shefellover93) questions OM President Vincent Labrune’s ability to govern one of the world’s most unique and passionate clubs.

As the dust settles on a charged Olympico derby, fingers are being pointed at those responsible for the terrible scenes that caused last night’s game to be suspended over 20 minutes, and will undoubtedly result in sanctions for l’OM and its supporters.

The source? Mathieu Valbuena; the former Marseille midfielder is currently in a lawsuit with the club to the tune of over half a million euros (£414,000) for issues arising with his agent. Valbuena believes that money he had to pay to his agent for breaking the contract should have, in fact, been paid by the club itself.

Valbuena’s lawyer says that current Marseille president Vincent Labrune made a ‘verbal agreement’ to pay the sum to agent Christophe Hutteau, and is now in the courts against Les Phocéens. The case was taken four days before the French international was due to return to the Vélodrome, before Valbuena himself was quoted as saying only the “true” Marseille supporters wouldn’t jeer him, and rather predictably, yet somewhat disturbingly his effigy was hanging on the roof of the Vélodrome as the teams came out to warm-up, a sign of things to come.

The game itself saw the hosts use what could comfortably be described as anti-tactics, trying to kick Lyon out of the opening exchanges, despite the fact that they themselves were more than capable of playing some decent football, as shown by Batshuayi’s great run leading to Alessandrini just shooting wide in the early moments.

However the narrative that dominated was some of the appalling and calculated fouling of Marseille. Remi Cabella was very lucky to have only gotten a caution after a dangerous two-footed tackle on Christophe Jallet. Valbuena was then taken out by Rekik, causing temperatures to rise on the pitch.

After Steve Mandanda just missed out the chase with Lacazette he brought the Lyon forward down, Lacazette converting himself to give Lyon the lead. The white hot atmosphere boiled over as Romain Alessandrini scythed through the back of Valbuena, and earned an admittedly harsh red card from referee, but again putting the attention, and the blame in the eyes of the Phocéens, on traitor Valbuena.

One man in particular that the blame is being put at is Marseille club president Vincent Labrune. The director’s comments during and following the incident have been pretty inexplicable, given the week that the club has been through. While Labrune isn’t known for measured response; videos of Marseille hooligans taking apart parts of Groningen before OM’s Europa League game against the Dutch side on Thursday, added to last night’s incident, the President’s reaction has been counter-productive, unprofessional and simply immature.

“I think everyone has to look at themselves in the mirror; I’ll be accepting my responsibilities as president, and I want everyone else to look at those at the Football Federation, the referees, and Olympique Lyonnais as well. The club accepts its responsibilities for the two or three bottles thrown onto the pitch”

But as the pictures show, it wasn’t just two or three beer bottles. Harmless paper balls were followed by a torrent of plastic beer bottles, and eventually a lit flare at Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopez, before the players were eventually escorted from the pitch, riot police followed to protect the playing surface.

This is the man that should be wanting to avoid this kind of incident; but instead of accepting the obvious problem that, albeit a minority, fans in the Vélodrome last night were unable to behave themselves and that the game was postponed due to their actions, he would rather deflect the blame on parties that had very little to contribute to the situation.

Labrune is allegedly the reason why the whole Valbuena incident has gotten to the stage it has, over a year after the midfielder left the Mediterranean coast. He refused to comment following the disgusting scenes of hooliganism in Groningen, and has now totally stuck his head in the sand to a problem which almost caused the first abandonment in a Ligue 1 match due to crowd trouble.

Not only has he not accepted his own responsibilities by not acknowledging the extent of the problem, but he’s trying to lay the blame on parties that have little-or-nothing to do with it. Insinuating that the referees were part of last night’s problem is extremely dangerous and irresponsible on two fronts. First, it undermines fans’ responsibilities, regardless of what happens on the pitch, it also undermines the referee’s job, and need for impartiality, regardless of his decisions.

The fact is that last night’s referee Rudy Buquet called the game as he saw it; Mandanda did make contact with Lacazette, and while Alessandirini’s foul was borderline a red, the fact that Valbuena was being kicked up and down the pitch meant that the man in the middle had to ensure player safety, and therefore clamp down on the antics that Marseille were employing.

Labrune then tries to blame the Federation, for presumably hosting the game, and then Lyon, for what, turning up?! The away side kept playing despite the detritus pouring down on them, and then re-took the pitch to finish the game, surrendering their goal advantage in the process, something which I imagine OL officials will have something to say about when the issue is brought to the LFP.

This is not the first instance in which Labrune has proved himself unfit for purpose; empty promises, spats with managers, suspicions over illegal activity and ill-judged comments have plagued his tenure since taking over in 2011.

Meanwhile a disastrous transfer window has seen some of OM’s biggest stars depart while only Abou Diaby (on the Premier League’s list of most inured players of all-time) and Rémy Cabella (A man that made little-to-no impact at Newcastle) have been the only ones brought in.

With Biesla walking out after the first game during Marseille’s disappointing start to the season, ill-discipline plaguing the side, and now almost certain financial and supporter sanctions to hit Marseille after bad behaviour both home and away; Labrune’s refusal to combat these issues, and his feeble attempts to deflect attention onto others forces Marseille fans to ask if he is indeed the right man for the job.

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Coupe de la Ligue – Lyon v Marseille – 15/01/14 – Match Preview

Coupe de la Ligue

Olympique Lyon v Olympique Marseille

Stade de Gerland, Lyon

15/01/2014, 19:55 (UK)

Live on ESPN

Marseille will look to keep up their 100% record in the New Year as they face their toughest test of 2014 so far in the Coupe de la Ligue away at Lyon. A win would take OM into the semi-finals of the competition that they won 3 years on the bounce between 2010-2012, before succumbing to psg early in the competition last year.

Positive performances before the winter break and successive victories in the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 will ensure that the OM squad head into this game with some confidence, helped by the earlier than expected return of Matthieu Valbuena from injury.

Jose Anigo’s travelling squad is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, Lemina, Diop, Gignac, Khalifa, Payet & Thauvin.

It is unlikely that Valbuena will start the game on his return from injury, but he may feature late on, depending on the nature of the game. The only other surprise is the inclusion of Oumar Diop, who again will be in the squad purely as emergency cover.

Likely line-up and formation:

Mandanda

Fanni Nkoulou Diawara Mendy

Romao Cheyrou

Payet Thauvin Khalifa

Gignac

 

Remi Garde’s side have struggled a little this season, similarly to OM. They currently sit 9th in the ligue, 4 points behind OM and more concerning for them is that they have not made the Stade de Gerland the fortress it has been in previous seasons. Since the start of the season, OL fans have only witnessed 4 ligue wins, 7 wins in total. However, what will make this game difficult for OM is that, although Lyon may not have won as many as one might expect, they have only lost twice at home in 17 games. That was way back in August against Real Sociedad in Europe and Reims in the ligue.

Lyon’s match-day squad is made up from: Vercoutre, Gorgelin, Bedimo, Bisevic, Kone, Lopes, Untiti, Zaffane, Fekir, Fofana, Gonalons, Gourcuff, Grenier, Malbranque, Briand, Gomis, Lacazette and Njie.

Expected line-up and formation:

Vercoutre

Lopes Bisavic Umtiti Bedimo

Fofana Gonalons Grenier

Gourcuff

Gomis Lazazette

 

This will be a tough test for both sides, who arrive at this match with similar current form. With outside chances of Champions League football for both sides, a Coupe de la Ligue win could put a little gloss on perhaps otherwise disappointing seasons for both clubs. OM will have to be wary of the threat from Gourcuff, who is having a good run in the squad free from injury and is playing with some of the confidence that made him such a sought after player when OL signed him. They can counter attack with stunning pace, as we found out in the ligue last season and will attack down the wings regularly so both Payet and Khalifa will need to support Fanni and Mendy more frequently than in previous games. From here they will also look to cross in for Gomis and Lacazette, perhaps man-marking from Nkoulou and Diawara in these situations would be best with Cheyrou and Romao dropping back to clear any loose balls.

 

Allez l’OM,

Andrew (@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)

Lyon 0-0 Marseille match report – physical battle ends goalless

No team could find a winner as the ‘Olympico’ fixture ended in a stalemate at Le Stade Gerland. It was a tactically enthralling match but devoid of major chances. Both teams cancelled each other out in what was a very committed display by each respective outfit. Both teams desperately needed all 3 points in order to keep up the pressure on PSG but overall a draw was definitely the fair result here.

Sougou given start

Following his impressive display last weekend, Sougou was given a starting spot by Elie Baup and he was arguably OM’s most dangerous player in the first half. Most of the danger OM created was on the right hand side where the ex Cluj man and Rod Fanni were linking up pretty well. The weak spot on Lyon’s defence was at right back due to the absence of Anthony Reveillere, but for some reason OM never seemed to target Dabo in this encounter.

Apart from the inclusion of Sougou, the OM line-up had a very familiar look about it and there were no surprises. Lyon lined up in a 4-3-3, which included a fairly defensive midfield which didn’t include a playmaker. Both Grenier and Gourcuff were on the bench and the hosts generally struggled to create anything much all night. Unsurprisingly, Lyon targeted Jeremy Morel and Lacazette caused him a few problems in the first half. However, the left back gradually adjusted and eventually was more than able to match the OL youngster.

Physical battle

You could tell that both teams knew the importance of this match. There was a clear focus, determination and fight from all of the players on the field. A defeat for either side here would’ve been a significant blow, but if either was to have any title ambitions then they needed to push on and take all 3 points. This was a very physical battle and some of the tackles flying in were excellent to see. If you like your tactical battles and smashmouth football then this was the sort of fixture you’d have enjoyed. However, for those who prefer open and flairy football then you needed to be looking elsewhere for your kicks.

In the 2nd half, OM arguably created the most dangerous chances. The closest they came was through an Andre Ayew header which passed very close to the post. But in general, both defences have to be given credit for shutting down most attacks. It was the sort of match in which one major error could’ve proved the difference between victory and defeat, but none came. A lot of energy was being used up by the players and it was impressive to see some players have such a strong physical engine.

Fear of defeat

As the last 10-15 mins unfolded, you could tell that both teams really wanted to open up and push hard for the 3 points. But ultimately, the ‘fear’ of defeat was just too much and it prevented the game from opening up. Sometimes if you really want success then you have to take a risk. This is where I will criticise Lyon because they were the home team and the onus was on them to take victory which would’ve kept the pressure on PSG. To some extent, OM can also be criticised for not ‘going for it’ as much as they could’ve, but realistically an away point at Lyon is a fairly good result under normal circumstances.

It was one of those matches where an early goal inside the first 20 mins could’ve really opened things up. I really feel that this was a fixture with great potential. If both teams were free from the mental pressure of not wanting to lose then we could’ve seen a completely different game. But at the end of the day the only winners tonight were PSG as they now have a 4 point gap to Lyon, and 7 to OM. With 10 games left to play, Elie Baup’s men must keep fighting hard for every point in order to claim a place in the top 3, or possibly even higher. Recent away performances have been encouraging, which is vital because trips to Nice and Lille are on the horizon soon. It would be nice if we could turn a few of these decent displays into goals and 3 points though………………..

 

OM player ratings and notes :-

Mandanda 6/10 – With the exception of one poor clearance he had a good night. Strong command here and had very safe hands when called upon.

Morel 5/10 – Lacazette gave him a few problems early on, but he eventually settled into the match fairly well.

Mendes 5/10 – Had a fairly nervous first half, but improved after the break when he made a few crucial interceptions.

N’Koulou 6/10 – Looked pretty assured here and hardly put a foot wrong all night.

Fanni 6/10 – Defended smartly and offered himself in attack as much as he could. Final balls into the box could’ve been a little better.

Romao 5/10 Did a fairly solid job in the middle of the park and helped OM have a strong backbone in this area.

Barton 6/10 – Worked well with Romao in the middle and also helped set up a number of attacks.

Andre Ayew 5/10 – He probably should’ve worked Dabo more than he did, but remained a threat, especially in the air.

Sougou 6/10 – Had an impressive first half in which he was OM’s best player Quietened down after the break before being taken off for Jordan Ayew.

Valbuena 5/10 – Some nice moments as always but he was a frustrated man in this match. Struggled physically against some OL players.

Gignac 5/10 – Never really had a genuine chance but he fought hard for the cause upfront.

Jordan Ayew (sub, 73rd min) 5/10 – Was lively and gave the team some energy, maybe could’ve done more with the ball.

My Lyon player ratings :-

Vercoutre 5/10
Umtiti 6/10
Lovren 4/10
Bisevac 7/10
Dabo 5/10
Gonalons 6/10
Fofana 5/10
Malbranque 5/10
Lacazette 6/10
Lisandro 4/10
Gomis 4/10
Grenier (sub) 6/10

Man of the match – Bisevac.

Tough MOM to award here because nobody really stood out. But the OL centre back was very solid throughout, making a number of key tackles and blocks when it mattered.

 

Lyon v Marseille – 10/03/13 – Match Preview

 

OL v OM Olympico

Sun 10/03/13 – 20:00 (UK – Live on ESPN)

Stade Gerland, Lyon

Ref. – Clement Turpin

 

Background –

2nd meets 3rd this Sunday in the race to see who can keep in touch with psg and stake their claim as genuine title contenders. Both teams have faltered when given the chance to keep in touch or extend a lead at the top this season, so there are a number of pressures with this game. A defeat for Marseille would surely end any lingering hopes of challenging for the title, whereas a defeat for Lyon would put them 5 points behind psg and it’s difficult to see the Parisians slipping up again this season. Of course, Marseille would also like to avenge the rather humiliating 1-4 defeat at the Stade Velodrome back in November.

Marseille –

After an excellent performance in Ligue 1’s ‘le classique’, OM were disappointing in the Coupe de France re-run, before putting in a more assured and convincing display against relegation strugglers Troyes last week. The 2 late goals that gave OM the win, suggest the match was more difficult than it was, the only downside being the amount of chances OM squandered.

After missing the last 3 weeks through injury, Elie Baup can welcome Benoit Cheyrou back to his squad, although he will find it difficult to break back into the starting 11 with January signing Alaixys Romao impressing in recent weeks. The squad that travelled to Lyon consists of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Abdallah, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Barton, Cheyrou, Romao, Abdullah, A. Ayew, Valbuena, Kadir, Gignac, Sougou and J. Ayew.

Expected line-up and formation: 

Mandanda

Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Barton Romao

Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew

Gignac

 

Having been a direct replacement for Gignac in previous games, Sougou, was used as a right sided attacking midfielder when he came on against Troyes and was far more imposing in this position. He linked up well with Valbuena as Andre Ayew retreated into a deep holding role. His vision and pace directly resulted in both of Marseille’s goals and there is little doubt that without him, Marseille would not have won.

Although 4th in the defensive tables, Lyon do concede a number of attacking opportunities to their opponents so if OM can keep their shooting boots on then they may successfully find a way past Vercoutre. The link-up between Valbuena and Sougou will be key to this as the pair exploited the space left through Gignac’s drifting positioning and punished Troyes in a way Marseille have failed to do in recent games. A solid improving partnership between Barton and Romao/Cheyrou should also perform better against Malbranque than they did at the Velodrome too.

 

Who are they? –

Just as Marseille have surprised the media and fans alike this season, so have Lyon. Their efficient play has kept them towards the top of the table all season and despite the loss of high profile players before and during the season, youngsters and fringe players have stepped up admirably.

Just like Marseille, Lyon had a poor record at Stade Brest, and this continued last week as they could only leave Brittany with a single point after a 1-1 draw thanks to Makonda own goal.

Lyon are a very effective team and it is unlikely that focussing an attack on one discernible weakness would lead to success against them. Marseille will stand a far greater chance of victory through using all of their attacking options and arsenal against them. This will include; counter-attacks, width through aAyew and Sougou, individual skill through the centre through Valbuena, crosses and arial skills from Gignac etc. This along with far more resolute defending will give OM their best chance against Remi Garde’s men.

Lyon are likely to be without Gourcuff and Ghezzal, Reveillere is also a doubt. Gonalons and Fofana return after missing the Brest game. Likely line up and formation of Lyon:

Vercoutre

Dabo Bisevac Lovren Umtiti

Gonalons Fofana

Laczette Malbranque Lopez

Gomis

 

Summary –

A win in the ‘Olympico’ would do wonders for either team. OM have the most to lose from this game as a defeat would surely leave both Lyon and psg too far ahead to be caught this season. An OM win though, as well as retribution and revenge for the defeat earlier this season could give them the impetus and inspiration to put together an impressive end of season run and really push psg and Lyon all the way.

 

Predicted score: Lyon 1v2 Marseille  

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Lyon 2.15

Draw 3.30

Marseille 3.40

 

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)

 

Other Ligue 1 games

Rennes 2v2 Saint-Etienne

psg 2v1 Nancy

Brest 0v1 Toulouse

Valenciennes 1v3 Lille

Evian 5v1 Sochaux

Ajaccio 1v0 Lorient

Troyes 4v2 Reims

Nice v Montpellier

Bordeaux v Bastia

Marseille 1-4 Lyon – Match Report

Marseille managed to capitulate in the most embarrassing manner possible, in the re-arranged, high-pressure top of the table ‘Olympico’. A draw would have been enough to take Marseille top of the Ligue 1 table, but a Gomis hat-trick and Malbranque strike were more than enough to ensure that didn’t happen.

OM had it all to do from the start, as Gomis was tripped by Mandanda as he bore down on goal inside the 3rd minute of the game. Referee, Clement Turpin, brandished a yellow card for Mandadna and pointed to the spot for Gomis, who sent the OM ‘keeper the wrong way. Lyon doubled their lead in the 34th minute partly, helped by Diawara who completely misjudged what appeared to be a simple headed clearance, allowing Gomis to control the ball, and then round Mandanda for his 2nd of the game.

Any hopes of Marseille coming back in this game were extinguished just after half-time as Malbranque’s exquisite volley flew past Mandanda. Just over 20 minutes later Gomis grabbed his hat-trick goal, as the OM defenders were again drawn to the ball leaving Gomis time in the box to receive and control the ball before firing to Mandanda’s far post. Game over.

A slight, very slight, positive for OM was Remy’s first goal this season when he netted with 1`5 minutes left. Good play from Jordan Ayew down the right, saw a cross only half cleared, and Remy did well to accurately find the top corner. But any hopes of a late resurgence were immediately dashed as Fanni was sent off for an over the top challenge on Dabo.

A bad day at the office indeed as many of Marseille’s performers insisted on showing how they can perform at their very worst, with poor discipline, effort and communication a telling factor. Picking a man of the match from this game would be most difficult.

Goals

Marseille v Lyon – ‘Olympico’ Preview

Sun 28/11/12 – 20:00 (UK) – Delayed on ESPN 9:45

Stade Velodrome

Ref. – Clement Turpin

Background –

Exactly 1 month after the game was originally due to take place Marseille take on Lyon as both teams have the opportunity to go top of the Ligue 1 table. Both teams form have faltered a little recently after strong starts to the season, although Lyon managed to continue their excellent form in the Europa League, qualifying for the knock-out stage with a game to spare, something OM didn’t manage. Regardless of tonight’s result one of the teams will knock psg off their perch. Because of this, there will be much more riding on this game than simply ‘bragging rights’ or ‘history’ as a victory for either team will confirm their title credentials.

Marseille –

In the last month Marseille have picked up 2 good wins in Ligue 1, away to Ajaccio, 2-0, and last week’s 1-0 home win over Lille. If Marseille perform with the discipline that they did in those 2 games then they have every chance of overcoming Olympic Lyonnais in the ‘Olympico’. Last season’s game saw Marseille race into a 2-0 lead only to be pegged back 2-2. This brought about an end to Marseille’s tremendous mid-season run of form that had seen them climb the table.

Marseille have no new injury concerns or absentees for this game. The 18 man squad consists of Mandanda, Fabri, Fanni, Abdallah, Diawara, Nkoulou, Morel, Mendes, Mbow, Kabore, Cheyrou, Barton, Abdullah, Valbuena,  A. Ayew, Remy, J. Ayew, Raspentino, Remy.

The starting line-up is likely to be the same as the 11 that started against Lille, with Diawara, Barton and J. Ayew keeping their places after impressive performance. Although he was caught of positions on a few occasions much of this might be down to the lack of starting football for Diawara this season. Barton’s delivery and tackles were among the best we have seen from him in a Marseille shirt and as he managed to have the ball in the net twice it would seem unfair to drop Jordan Ayew. Remy may make a late appearance as Baup tries to build up his fitness again to bring him into first 11 contention.

Having changed from the usual 4-2-3-1 formation used in the earlier part of the season, Baup will probably keep the 4-3-3 formation that worked so well against Lille. This formation allowed Barton to press forwards, and the team also maintained its width through Valbuena, while supporting Jordan Ayew with 2 secondary strikers.

Likely starting line-up and formation:

 

Who are they? –

Having finished 4th in Ligue 1 last season, many had feared for Remi Garde’s team this campaign. With losing Hugo Lloris, and also losing Cris, Pied, Cissokho and Kalstrom, Lyon’s squad looks quite bare. Thankfully for les Gones they managed to keep hold of Gomis, Bastos and Lopez, all of whom were linked with moves away. Ahead of this game Garde is missing Lopez, Briand and Lovren through injury and may choose expeirnece over youth with Reveillere and Bastos gaining starts despite only just returning from injury.

Mr. Consistent for Lyon this season has been Steed Malbranque. (In all honesty, that is not something I expected to write at any point this season, especially not for a team like Lyon). From what I have witnessed and from the stats and reviews, Malbranque has been a dominating force in the OL team. His composure and experience has shone through, and his ability to dictate the pace of the game has rarely been matched by any opposition. Lacking in speed, Malbranque manages to get into position early, allowing himself to either play in team-mates with accurate passes, or dribble with the ball. Because of his ‘low centre of gravity’ he can be very difficult to disposes and tackle.

In the midfield battle it may be up to Kabore to pick up Malbranque from his central position. Marseille need to be fully aware of the pace that Lyon can counter-attack with. Dropping deeper early, could actually help against a counter-attacking team. Although there is more space for the opposition to attack it allows the defenders to settle into a position and begin to push the attacking play out wide, away from the goal, allowing the midfield an opportunity to track-back into more central positions and defend against any crosses.

Summary –

Because of the position of both teams in the table it would be easy to argue that there is less pressure on these 2 sides collectively ahead of this game. No matter what the result, one of the teams will end the night 1st in the Ligue standings. Having said that, the benefits of a win do add pressure to the players. A win for OM and they go 3 points clear, Lyon would go 2 points clear with a win, and a draw would put OM 1 point clear and Lyon joint 2nd with psg. Unlike last year’s Coupe de la Ligue final, hopefully the pressures of the occasion will bring out the best of 2 teams eager to show that they are real title contenders and this ‘Olympico’ can be a real ‘classique’.

Predicted score: Marseille 2v2 Lyon   

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Marseille 2.10

Draw 3.20

Lyon 3.60

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)

 

Coupe de la Ligue Draw

After the midweek set of matches the draw was made on Wednesday evening for the next round of the Coupe de la Ligue, and it certainly did not disappoint for those who were eagerly waiting to see if Marseille could make it an unprecedented 4 titles in a row in the competition. Marseille were drawn away to psg in what was surely the pick of the round.
The game will be played in Paris just over 3 weeks after the two teams meet in Marseille in the Ligue. psg will undoubtedly wish to stop Marseille from winning the trophy for the 4th time in row and will hope that they can effectively buy their own piece of history, just as they are trying in the Ligue.
Below is around up of all the Couoe de la Ligue games, which will be played over the 30th-31st October.

Montpellier v Bordeaux
Bastia v Auxerre
psg v OM
Monaco v Troyes
Lille v Toulouse
Rennes v Arles Avignon
Nice v Lyon
Sochaux v Saint-Etienne