Tag Archives: Montpellier

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)

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

Montpellier 0-1 Marseille Match Report. OM top of the table!

There are moments in sport which can be classed as ‘definitive’. Andre-Pierre Gignac’s goal and OM’s 1-0 win at Le Stade Mosson might well prove to be one of those occasions.

To win on the road is never easy in Ligue 1. To win in Montpellier these days is a very difficult achievement, the last time it happened was 11 months ago when PSG beat them 3-0 here. This has been one of the key fortress stadiums in Ligue 1 and a major reason why they won the title last season. Truth be told though, they were pretty awful here and offered virtually no attacking threat, nullified by OM’s excellent defence.

Approaching the game, Montpellier were favourites with the bookies despite them suffering a stuttering start to the season. Marseille were defending a 100% record but everyone was saying ‘it cant last’ or ‘they only beat Reims and Sochaux’ In some respect I can see that point, but by picking up 3 points in this fixture OM have perhaps demonstrated they are for real and mean business this season.

Elie Baup had 3 key decisions to make regarding team selection. The fitness of Valbuena, Andre Ayew and of course Remy was all questionable, but would he risk any of them in the XI? In the end, Ayew and Valbuena were included and Remy benched. OM lined up in a 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 formation variation which offered a good balance between defence and attack.

The first half was in one word, forgettable. Both teams played out a tactical game of chess and there were very few chances created. The best opportunity for OM was through a Gignac header but he headed over the bar following an excellent Valbuena cross. At the other end, the closest Montpellier came was through Belhanda who smacked a thumping volley against the bar. He was given offside but replays clearly showed he was actually on, and the OM defence had gotten away with it.

The big encouragement for OM at halftime was how solid they had been defensively. Montpellier just hadn’t looked like breaking through, the likes of N’Koulou and Fanni were solid as a rock. Once again, passing had been short and accurate, also played at a mixture of fast and slow tempo. There was a really nice rhythm to OM’s play.

The first 10-15 mins of the 2nd half were a little more livelier and the match remained an even contest. Both sides tried to make things happen, but neither looked particularly more dangerous than the other. However, from the hour mark onwards, it seemed as though OM gained more confidence, direction and belief. Elie Baup’s men managed to get a stranglehold on Montpellier and the hosts level of threat was virtually nothing right until the final whistle.

The problem was always going to be the ability to create clear cut chances. For as poor as they were going forwards, Montpellier had also demonstrated a fairly strong defence and it was in this part of the field that their organisation was better. But some cracks had started to show, strange decision making along with some dodgy goalkeeping by Jourdren must have worried home fans. In the 77th minute this was to come back and bite Montpellier hard when OM scored the only goal of the game.

It all started innocuously with Montpellier comfortably in possession of the ball. But Daniel Congre let slip a poor pass and Amalfitano intercepted in a dangerous position. The ex Lorient man passed to Gignac who turned and shot towards the bottom left corner. The shot lacked general power, but inexplicably Jourdren failed to save and let the ball slip through his fingers. It was a totally preventable goal from Montpellier’s point of view, but OM and Gignac weren’t complaining!

The celebration from Gignac was extensive and the whole OM bench of both players and coaches engulfed him as he moved to the sidelines. It was an emotional moment and a potentially definitive goal for both OM and their resurgent striker. Loic Remy came off the bench and should’ve added a 2nd goal late on as OM easily held onto their 1-0 win.

When it was announced that Elie Baup was new OM coach, it must be said that the general response from fans was one of negativity. I myself was disappointed, but right now I have to hold my hands up to the ex Nantes boss. Under very difficult circumstances regarding transfers and various other situations he has managed to get this OM side playing together as a TEAM and for each other. You can tell the players are enjoying their football and there is a feeling of togetherness. Baup looks like a cool figure on the sidelines too and has demonstrated a surprising tactical ‘nous’ depending on what opposition OM are playing.

Right now, the results and performances by OM this season are much better than expected. This 1-0 victory away at Le Stade Mosson simply shows the big progress they have made and nobody can afford to treat them lightly anymore.

Goals & Highlights

Player ratings

Mandanda 6/10

Kabore 6/10
Nkoulou 8/10
Fanni 8/10
Morel 6/10

Cheyrou 6/10
M’Bia 5/10
Valbuena 6/10

Amalfitano 5/10
Gignac 8/10
Andre Ayew 5/10

Referee (Ruddy Buquet) 6/10

Official OMarseilleUK Man of the match :– Gignac

Big respect to the CDEF pairing of Nkoulou and Fanni, but Gignac’s goal and his continued good form will be what everyone remembers here. Aside from the goal he was a threat all day anyway and offered plenty to the team.

Montpellier v Marseille Match Preview

26/08/12 – 16:00 (UK)

Stade de la Mosson et du Mondial 98, Montpellier

Ref. – Ruddy Buquet

Background –

Marseille go into this week’s game looking for a 3rd successive ligue win in a row, something not achieved since January, against last season’s Ligue 1 champions, Montpellier. Montpellier have struggled with life after Giroud, only managing a draw against Toulouse in week 1, then suffering a last minute defeat at the hands of FC Lorient in week 2. It had been well documented that many expected Marseille to struggle again this year, with a number of players expected to leave. Life after Deschamps, has started well for OM though managing 4 wins and a draw from their opening 5 fixtures. This week is likely to provide both teams with their toughest test so far.  

Marseille –

Fresh on the back of losing right-back Cesar Azpilicueta to Chelsea, they are able to welcome back an almost match-fit Loic Remy to their squad that travelled west to Montpellier. The squad consisted of: Mandanda, Bracigliano, Fanni, Nkoulou, Morel, Mango, Mbow, Mbia, Cheyrou, Kabore, Abdullah, Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew, Gignac, J. Ayew, Remy, Raspentino.

Elie Baup will be likely to welcome back Benoit Cheyrou to the starting 11, having sat out the Europa League win over FC Sheriff due to a suspension. This will mean that Abdullah will drop to the bench, where Andre Ayew and Loic Remy will be likely to start on the basis that neither is fully match fit yet. The skill, quality and experience of both A. Ayew and Remy could be called upon if the OM game-plan is not working against Montpellier and Baup should make any necessary changes early in the 2nd half to allow Marseille to fully adapt to a likely change in formation such a change would bring.

Marseille will set up in their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, which has allowed them to keep a great deal of possession, a typical feature of last season’s play, however, with Gignac starting they have now a player who is capable of holding onto the ball and bringing in other players therefore successfully linking up play between midfield and attack, something they struggled with last season.

Andre-Pierre Gignac has been one of Marseille’s star men, having netted 3 times already in just 5 games. A strong pre-season has seen Gignac start this season looking fitter, sharper and keener in games. As a result he has managed to find positions both between the opposition midfield a dn defensive line, as well as in ‘the channels’, i.e. behind the defence toward the touchlines on the edge of the 18 yard box. Gignac’s selfless play has also brought a number of teammates into play, creating opportunities for Valbuena and J. Ayew particularly to run dangerously into the box with the ball.   

Likely starting lineup:


Who are they? –

Montpellier became almost everyone’s second favourite Ligue 1 team last season as they pushed PSG all the way, eventually claiming their first Ligue 1 title on an exhilarating final day of the season. Having accepted the loss of star player Olivier Giroud, Motpellier have invested the money in the exciting Emanuel Herrera, along with Anthiny Mounier and the dependable Daniel Congre.

Montpellier will be looking to keep and incredible undefeated home record going, and should improve on their slow start soon enough. Marseille’s defence will need to be wary of through balls (a comment made continually last season and again during friendlies this year). Cheyrou and Kabore should provide some defensive support to minimise any individual attacks through the centre, pushing Montpellier’s play wide. This would result in them having to play crosses into the box where the height of Nkoulou and Mbia along with the presence of Mandanda should ensure this doesn’t allow any free headers on goal.

Another of Montpellier’s star players from last season, Younes Belhanda, is expected to be fit to start his first game of the season having only played a few minutes in their defeat at Lorient last week. The enigmatic forward can play in a number of positions and is capable of creating chances for others, as well as creating them for himself and finishing them. Depending on his starting position, it would be helpful for Marseille’s defensive midfielders, Kabore and Cheyrou to stay close. As mentioned earlier, OM’s best chance will be to push the Montpellier play wide.


Summary –

This match has the potential to be an incredibly exciting game with Marseille wanting to attack to continue their fine run of form, and Montpellier wishing to do the same to kick-start their title defence. Both teams will be likely to create chances, the difference may well come in how efficient and clinical either team is. There should be goals though, and I think the deciding factor will be in the last line of either teams defence, their goalkeepers. In this department Marseille have the edge, and Mandanda, if he is on form, will just give Marseille the edge in this tight game.

Predicted score: Montpellier 2-3 Marseille.

Odds (Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Montpellier 2.30

Draw 3.10

Marseille 3.20


Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @Andrew_Js3)


Weekend’s other games

Evian 1-1 Lyon

Nice 2-2 Lille

Rennes 3-2 Bastia

Valenciennes 3-0 Ajaccio

Reims 1-0 Sochaux

Nancy 0-1 Toulouse

Troyes 2-2 Lorient

Saint-Etienne (Sun 16:00) Brest

PSG (Sun 20:00) Bordeaux