Tag Archives: Mandanda

Europa League & Internationals

Europa League

Europa League Consequences

Having finished 4th in the ligue, OM will qualify for the Europa League having missed out on Champions League football by 2 points. But all is not confirmed yet, OM need psg to beat Auxerre in the Coupe de France on Saturday in order to qualify directly for the group stages. If Auxerre were to beat psg, thus denying them a domestic treble, OM would have to play 2 preliminary rounds in July and August in order to qualify for the group stage.

Important dates:

Preliminary Round 1, Game 1: 30th July

Preliminary Round 1, Game 2: 6th August

Ligue 1, Game 1: 7th August* (OM play 9th August)

Preliminary Round 2, Game 1: 20th August

Ligue 1, Game 3: 21st August* (OM play 23rd August)

Preliminary Round 2, Game 2: 27th August

Ligue 1, Game 4: 28th August* (OM play 30th August)

Europa League Group Game 1: 17th September

Ligue 1, Game 6: 18th September*( OM play 20th September)

Europa League Group Game 2: 1st October

Ligue 1, Game 9: 2nd October* (OM play 4th October)

Europa League Group Game 3: 22nd October

Ligue 1, Game 11: 23rd October* (OM play 25th October)

Europa League Group Game 4: 5th November

Ligue 1, Game 13: 6th November* (OM play 8th November)

Europa League Group Game 5: 26th November

Ligue 1, Game 15: 27th November* (OM play 29th November)

Europa League Group Game 6: 10th December

Ligue 1, Game 18: 11th December* (OM play 13th December)

**(Ligue 1 game dates in brackets are the Sunday’s that OM would play if still in Europa League)

Summer Hasn’t Started For OM Internationals

A number of OM’s stars and fringe players are participating in post-season tournaments.

Wed 27th May

Stephane Sparagna – France 3-1 USA – Toulon Tournament

Fri 29th May

Stephane Sparagna – Qatar v France – Toulon Tournament

Sat 30th May

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v Ukraine – U20 World Cup

Mon 1st June

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v Nigeria – U20 World Cup

Tue 2nd June

Staphane Sparagna – France v Costa Rica – Toulon Tournament

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v USA – U20 World Cup

Thur 4th June

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v Hungary – U20 World Cup

Stephane Sparagna – France v Netherlands – Toulon Tournamet

Fri 5th June

Bill Tuiloma – New Zealand v Burma – U20 World Cup

Sat 6th June

Nicolas Nkoulou – Cameroon v Burkina Faso – Friendly

Sunday 7th June

Steve Mandanda & Dimitri Payet – France v Belgium – Friendly

Alayxis Romao – Ghana v Togo  – Friendly

Alef Dos Santos – Brazil v North Korea – U20 World Cup

Tue 9th June

Nicola Nkoulou – Cameroon v DR Congo – Friendly

Thur 11th June

Bejamin Mendy & Baptiste Aloe – France U21 v South Korea U21 – Friendly

Sat 13th June

Steve Mandanda & Dimitri Payet – Albania v France – Friendly

Alexander Ndoumbou – Gabon v Ivory Coast – CAN 2017 Qualifier

Gael Andonian – Armenia v Portugal – Euro 2016 Qualifying Round Group 1

Sun 14th June

Nicolas Nkoulou – Cameroon v Mauritania – CAN 2017 Qualifier

Tue 16th June

Benjamin Mendy & Baptiste Aloe – France U21 v Paraguay U21 – Friendly

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Pre-season Part III: Marseille 5-0 Willem II

Having seen off notable opposition in previous friendlies in the form of Bayer Leverkusen and Benfica, OM had faced what should be an easier opposition in the form of Dutch side Willem II. Despite spending last season in the Dutch 2nd division, they earned promotion back to the Eredivisie at the first time of asking, having finished 1st last season.

via OM.net

Sun 27th July – 18:00

Marseille 5-0 Willem II (Thauvin, Imbula, Batshuayi 2, Cheyrou)

Stade Olympique, Albertville

Samba

Dja Djedje  Romao  Morel  Mendy

Payet  Lemina  Imbula

Thauvin  Gignac  Alessandrini

Subs: Mandanda, Nkoulou, Sparagna, Amalfitano, Bangoura, Cheyrou, Porsan-Clement, A. Ayew, Batshuayi

 

Playing a more traditional 4-3-3 formation, Marcelo Bielsa welcomed Mandanda, Nkoulou and Andre Ayew back to the match day squad, although none were deemed fit enough to start from the beginning. They all played their part in an emphatic win though as OM hit 5 past their Dutch opposition, with Thauvin scoring and assisting and new signing Batshuayi netting his 2nd and 3rd goals in 3 OM games.

The game started evenly with both Samba and Ondaan being called into action early on. As the first half progressed though OM began to take control. After giving away a free-kick just outside their penalty area, Thauvin made Willem II pay, as he curled the free-kick into the near post leaving Ondaan clutching fresh air.

Taking over Payet’s recent role as master-creator, Thauvin then set up Marseille’s 2nd goal 4 minutes later. His run down the right and hold up before crossing allowed OM players to swarm the box, Thauvin’s accurate cross found Imbula who chested down before shooting past 3 Willem II players.

OM could have made it 3 before half-time with Imbula and Alessandrini both going close, before some excellent play between Mendy, Gignac and Alessandrini saw OM go agonisingly close again.

Half-time brought about the usual raft of changes with Batshuayi replacing Gignac, 2 of Marseille’s World Cup representatives, Nkoulou and Andre Ayew replacing Thauvin and Romao, and perhaps most significantly Steve Mandanda, returning from his neck injury in the final game of the season, replacing Brice Samba, who has performed tremendously well during the pre-season.

Unfortunately, as soon as the 2nd half kicked off, Willem II looked as though they were going to spoil the welcome back party! They improved their passing, movement and were getting into dangerous positions, putting in some shots that almost troubled Mandanda. Although this was worrying to watch for a little while, Willem II, didn’t really get any shots on target, but it may give Bielsa and his team some food for thought in preventing the opposition from creating chances.

After 10 minutes of domination, Willem II let the game slip beyond their grasp. As Payet picked up the ball he played in Batshuayi. Although it initially looked to be going out of play, the Belgian managed to beat the ‘keeper to the ball, take it round a defender the the keeper and shoot into the far post. This showed determination, skill and composure from the Belgian, who has looked an exciting prospect.

The game stagnated somewhat over the next 20 minutes with both teams seemingly accepting an OM win. But in the 80th minute Cheyrou added a 4th to the score-sheet. Andre Ayew picked up the ball on the OM left and whipped in a deep cross. Cheyrou volleyed into the ground and into the far post, back across goal for his first OM goal of the pre-season.

As OM suddenly picked up and looked for a 5th in the final 10 minutes Amalfitano broke into the box only to be felled and win OM a penalty. After some discussion between Ayew and Batshuayi it was the Belgian who stepped up to take the spot kick, convincingly sending the Willem II ‘keeper the wrong way to pick up his 3rd goal in 3 games (it seems as though his goal against Bayer Leverkusen was given as an own-goal).

Another convincing OM win, giving the Bielsa era a record of 3 wins from 3, 11 goals scored and 2 goals conceded. All players have managed to play the Bielsa systems, tactics and formations well, with substitutions slotting in seamlessly. It has also been excellent to see some of the youngsters getting pitch time and also playing well. In previous seasons, OM have had a strong starting 11, but looked weak beyond this. Bielsa has varied between a back 3 with only 1 recognised defender, to a back 5 with 4 recognised defenders, with neither of these systems demonstrating any major weaknesses. The beauty of Bielsa’s Marseille so far has been the work ethic and team spirit, but it’s excellent to see that the manager is already looking for potential ‘plan c’ and ‘plan d’ for games, which immediately puts him above his predecessors Baup and Anigo who rarely seemed to have any resemblance of a ‘plan b’.

 

Pre-season pitch time (in minutes):

270: Dja Djedje

244: Payet

227: Mendy

225: Samba, Romao, Lemina

206: Imbula

199: Alessandrini

186: Morel

185: Thauvin

135: Gignac, Batshuayi

129: Mendes

97: Amalfitano, Cheyrou

71: Sparagna

45: Sparagna, Mandanda, Nkoulou, A. Ayew

17: Porsan

7: Bangoura

 

Pre-season goals:

3: Batshuayi

2: Thauvin

1: Payet, Amalfitano, Gignac,  Imbula, Cheyrou

OG: Reinartz (Bayer04)

 

Pre-season assists:

4: Payet

1: Amalfitano, Batshuayi, Thauvin, A. Ayew

 

Allez l’OM

@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)

Marseille v Brest – 20/04/13 – Match Preview

20/4/13 –16:00 (UK)
Marseille v Brest
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
Ref. – Benoit Bastien

Marseille will keep up their hopes up of Champions League football as they face relegation threatened Stade Brestois at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday afternoon. Recent wins over Nice and Bordeaux coupled with difficult away draws with Lyon and Lille have put OM in a good position to finish 2nd ahead of Lyon. Brest on the other hand are looking to avoid a 6th successive defeat, during which they have conceded 2 or more goals 4 times, twice suffering 0-4 losses.

Olympique de Marseille

With Lyon’s last gasp winner against Montpellier on Friday evening, Marseille need a win to finish the weekend in 2nd place and keep a little pressure on psg. Elie Baup has no new injury concerns after last weeks return of Mathieu Valbuena.
The full Marseille squad for the game is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Diawra, Nkoulou, Mendes, Morel, Abdallah, Cheyrou, Romao, Barton, Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew, Kadir, Sougou, J. Ayew and Gignac.
The efficiency of OM recently has seen them continue with positive results despite only registering 2 goals in the last 5 games. This consistency of results has been helped with solid defensive displays despite numerous questions over the ability and form of Mandanda, Nkoulou, Mendes and Morel all season.
A big win would help improve the confidence further as we reach the final 5 games, and really would help with the push for Champions League football next season.
Likely starting line up and formation:

Mandanda
Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel
Cheyrou Romao
Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew
Gignac

Stade Brestois 29

Brest’s poor form since the winter break has seen them slide from 13th to 19th, they have spent the last 3 weeks in the relegation zone. With only 2 wins and 2 draws since the winter break, and with games against Sochaux, psg and Nancy coming up, Landry Chauvin really needs his team to start putting some results together.
Marseille will need to be wary of the long ball from Brest as they look to play in Benschop with attacking support from Touré and Raspentino.
Despite their form, Brest’s last 3 wins have all come away from home, against Sochaux, Evian and Bordeuax. They have a tendency to start and end games well scoring 7 (24%) of their goals in the first 15 minutes and 18 (62%) of their goals in the final 30 minutes!
The player to watch for Brest will surely be Florian Raspentino. Having signed in the summer for Marseille and after barely being given a chance, Raspentino was shipped out on loan to Brest. Since then he has started 12 games for them and netted 3 times, showing promising pace, skills and shooting accuracy as well as an astute positioning sense. It goes without saying that he would probably enjoy showing Elie Baup and the Velodrome faithful what they have been missing this season.
Brest likely starting line-up and formation:

Thébaux
Traoré Martial Kantari Mendy
Auras Sissoko
Touré Grougi Raspentino
Benschop

At the Stade Velodrome, Brest have never registered a win, Marseille registering 7 against 2 draws. Last seasons 1-1 draw came amid OM’s terrible start to the season and Mandanda gifted Brest the lead within the first 5 minutes. Andre Ayew rescued OM on that day and hopefully both of those players will be back at their best today.
Predicted score: Marseille 2-0 Brest

Selected odds (Bet365 correct at time of publication)
Marseille: 1.36
Draw: 4.50
Brest: 9.00

Weekend Fixtures:
Montpellier 1v2 Lyon
Bastia v Lille
Reims v Valenciennes
Toulouse v Lorient
Nancy v Evian
Sochaux v Bordeaux
psg v Nice
Coupe de la Ligue: Saint-Etienne v Rennes

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@Andrew_js3 & @MarseilleUK)

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

Rennes 2-2 Marseille Match Report – 3 points slipped through our fingers…..

A late Steve Mandanda howler cost OM dearly at Le Stade Route de Lorient as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Rennes. Jordan Ayew’s late strike looked to have been enough to secure the 3 points, but a gaffe by the captain let in Romain Alessandrini to equalise. Overall, the game was a high tempo and exciting affair with not too much between either side. OM can certainly hold regrets though because they had the 3 points in their own hands, but literally let them slip through their gloves……

Early Rennes pressure, but OM  strike first

Rennes were definitely the team who started the match more on the front foot. As early as the first minute Alessandrini put in a dangerous looking cross and OM struggled to settle. Around the 10 minute mark, Danze should’ve scored when he was well placed in the middle, but headed over following a scrumptious Alessandrini cross. Moments later, OM had their first real chance when Gignac fired not too far over on the half volley. Rennes continued their impressive start with Feret shooting just wide, and Alessandrini firing over when he probably should’ve done better.

The visitors managed to ride the early storm though and Rennes had failed to make the most of their chances. OM soon settled down and started passing the ball nicely around the park. Both sides were generally playing to a high level and there was some nice skill and interchanges on show for everyone to see. Despite this, there had been relatively few chances, but OM took the lead about 10 mins before HT. Feret gave the ball away in his own half and N’Koulou sent a superb ball through to Valbuena. He in turn provided a great assist for Andre Ayew to slid the ball home nicely. The Ghanaian should’ve doubled OMs advantage just before the break but he couldn’t get enough power on his shot. Had he scored, it would’ve been a superb team goal because the build up play to the chance was beautiful.

Yet more corner problems……

Rennes started the 2nd period similar to how they did the first – on the front foot. OM had Mevlut Erding to thank for missing two massive opportunities within a fairly short space of time, he should’ve done better. The first Mandanda saved with his foot and the 2nd was just a mishit. The pressure was being applied by the hosts and Alessandrini was their main threat on the left hand side. He was very influential in this match and gave OM problems all night. It was to be his assist which set up the Rennes equaliser, and unsurprisingly it came from a corner. OM had managed to avoid suffering from their achilles heel against Montpellier last week, but it came back to haunt them here when Theophile Catherine headed home unmarked.

It seems to become a regular weekly theme in OM match reports – conceding from set pieces, or more specifically corners. In this instance Jordan Ayew will carry some of the blame, but this corner business is becoming all too commonplace now. The whole team has to take responsibility in addition to the backroom staff. Something is clearly going very wrong when preparing against set pieces. I could go into detail again here, issues such as why was the man on the near post not always situated there? There’s too much to mention but crucially in this instance it got Rennes an easy way back into the game. What followed was an uncomfortable 10 minutes or so where Rennes had plenty of energy and looked dangerous. Again, Alessandrini was the man pulling the strings for the hosts, often putting in some superb crosses.

OM back ahead….but then Mandanda howler

To OMs credit though, they wrestled back the initiative and it was excellent to see Elie Baup clearly ‘going for the win’ instead of being happy with a draw. Amalfitano was brought on in place of Cheyrou, an attacking move which was to prove dividends eventually. Gignac had a shot go wide, Andre Ayew headed just past the post, and Jordan had a shot blocked close to goal. OM were pilling on the pressure and eventually Rennes would crack. Great vision by Valbuena found Amalfitano on the right who crossed into the middle. Jordan Ayew could hardly miss as he turned the ball home giving OM a crucial lead with only 8 mins left in the match.

That should’ve been enough to see OM pick up the 3 points, but there was to be late drama at Le Stade Route de Lorient. Diallo sent in a cross-shot which surprised Mandanda at his near post. The OM captain failed to hold the ball and it deflected against the woodwork – right into the path of Alessandrini who made no mistake turning the ball home. The visitors might’ve had a penalty late on for a foul on Gignac, but the referee wasn’t interested. Instead, Elie Baup’s men were forced to settle for just a draw, when this really should’ve been all 3. He has saved Marseille many times before, but sadly there can be no doubt that failure to win here was on Steve Mandanda’s head.

Goodbye Yann M’Vila

Finally, as a side note and completely nothing to do with anything OM. It was sad but also nice to see Yann M’Vila at the end of the match being paraded around in front of the Rennes fans to say goodbye. I know that he’s had a fractious relationship with the Rennes fans over the last year, so it was nice to see them give him a good send off here. He has been with the club since he was 14 years old and unfortunately this is a typical example of ligue 1 failing to hold onto its best players. M’Vila is an absolute beast in my opinion, and last year one of the best players in the ligue without doubt. It’s a shame for Ligue 1 to continually lose such great talent, he will be a fine asset for Rubin Kazan.

Player ratings and notes :-

Mandanda 3/10 – His mistake at the end cost OM bigtime, enough said.

Morel 4/10 – On the positive side, when going forwards he can be useful. Whilst he does do some good things at the back, the times when he makes mistakes can be costly.

N’Koulou 5/10 – Great pass to help set up the move leading to 1st goal. Defensively ok without being anything special

Mendes 4/10 – An improvement upon last week, but that was never going to be hard for him to achieve. I have my doubts about him at CDEF, he looks too raw and makes too many mistakes.

Fanni 5/10 – Made some good ventures going forwards. At the back he was adequate enough, although had problems with Alessandrini at times.

Barton 5/10 – Relatively quiet performance by him here, he kept things ticking along in midfield at times though.

Cheyrou 5/10 – Similar to Barton, kept things ticking along at times without being spectacular.

Valbuena 7/10 – OM’s best player here and grew as the match wore on. Supplied a great assist for the first and played a key part in the build up to the 2nd goal.

Andre Ayew 6/10 – Nice finish for the first goal, but should’ve scored more. He also made a couple of errors when defending set pieces.

Gignac 4/10 – Below par day for him. He missed chances and failed to look for a pass sometimes when instead was too greedy.

Jordan Ayew 5/10 – The positive is he scored again – but when placed more centrally as a striker. I’m convinced he just isn’t as effective as a right winger. His poor marking also cost OM a goal.

Amalfitano 6/10 -Came on as a sub for Cheyrou in the 72nd min and made a difference, supplied the assist for the 2nd goal.

Rennes player ratings :-

Costil 5/10
Mavinga 7/10
Kan Biyik 5/10
Theophile Catherine 6/10
Foulquier 4/10
Makoun 5/10
Alessandrini 8/10 – Man of the match
Danze 5/10
Feret 5/10
Diallo 5/10
Erding 3/10

Goals and highlight link

Steve (@Meatmansoccer)

Coupe de France – Rouen v Marseille – Match Preview

Background

After a dramaticly disappointing late draw against Rennes on Saturday, Marseille head to 3rd tier Rouen in the Coupe de France round of 32 a week after they had originally turned up for the game! Having recently struggled against Sochaux, Marseille put in a fairly lacklustre performance against Montpellier and this was compounded with the performance that lead to Rennes’ draw. A win to take them into the next round of the cup to face psg will surely help keep OM on track in the 2nd half of the season. Their opponents, Rouen, arrive in this game having already dispatched Ligue 1 opposition in the form of AC Ajaccio, albeit via a penalty shoot out.

Marseille

Marseille must recover from the disappointing result last weekend in order to be at their best against Rouen. They may find this game against Rouen difficult as the underdogs will undoubtedly run themselves ragged in an attempt to gain victory over a slightly more illustrious side.

Elie Baup has shown his desire to succeed in this competition by taking an almost full strength squad made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes, Abdallah, Aloe, Barton, Cheyrou, Amalfitano, Valbuena, Abdullah, A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Gignac, Sougou and Anani. 

Morel is dropped from the travelling squad so Mendes may move to left back with Diawara returning to the centre of defence. It is highly likely that Sougou will make his OM debut at some point too.

With this being the case it would be a safe bet to suggest that Baup will opt to field his strongest starting 11, the same team that began against Montpellier and Rennes. This still allows for the addition of Amalfitano if needed later on. Baup will hope that the starting 11 will do enough within the first 60 minutes to rest players such as Gignac, Valbuena and Barton who generally cover a lot of ground in matches.

Rouen

Rouen currently sit 13th in the National division and have not played since 12th January as a result of gas-leaks and the inclement weather. In their 2 games this year they have dispatched Ajaccio from the Coupe de France and beaten 17th placed Uzéz Pont du Gard 3-0 in the ligue.

Rouen’s top scorer is Ousmane Cissokho, who plays as a defender. His 5 goals would suggest that set-pieces will be a real threat from Rouen (Marseille defence take note!). Across the rest of the squad they have a number of scorers, but all with relatively low goal counts: Dugimont (att 4), Jahier (att 4), Asbabou (mid 3) and Mboup (mid 3).

Summary

With Ajaccio going out at the hands of Wednesday’s opponents, along with Reims, Rennes, Lyon, Bastia and Valenciennes being knocked out by lower ligue opposition Marseille will be careful to avoid another ‘Quevilly’ incident. Marseille need this win, as they look to regain some of the momentum from the first half of the season. The loss at Sochaux and draw with Rennes could just be minor blips in an impressive season. A loss to Rouen could be the wheels coming off Marseille’s over-achieving season, let’s hope that isn’t the case.

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK)