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Sochaux v Marseille – Match Preview 13/01/13

Sochaux v Marseille

Sochaux v Marseille

Sun 13/01/13 – 20:00 (UK)

Stade Bonal, Montbeliard

Ref – Fredy Fautrel

Background

Having fininshed 2012 with 3 wins in a row, Marseille will look to start 2013 in a similar way as they take on 3rd from bottom club Sochaux. Solid wins, if not performances, before the winter break came against Bastia, Toulouse and Saint-Etienne. Wins have already came in the Coupe de France over Guingamp, and in a friendly against Moroccan team Kawkab. Sochaux’s last ligue win came back in November as they defeated Ajaccio, asince then they have drawn 2 and lost 4. Sochaux were also victorious in last weekends Coupe de France competition, beating CFA 2nd division side Thaon 1-0, although they did require an own goal to help them. This fixture last season turned out to be Didier Deschamps’ last game in charge as OM were defeated 0-1, Boudebouz with the only goal of the game.

Marseille

As they players enjoyed a week’s training camp in Morocco this week, Elie Baup has stated that OM will have to ‘bend over backwards to keep it (current form and ligue position) up’. He also made reference to OM’s away form, OM currently sit top of the away ligue table, but Baup knows that tough games away to psg, Lyon, Nice, Lille and Saint-Etienne still await the team.

Elie Baup has almost a full strength squad at his disposal. Nkoulou, Fanni and Jordan Ayew have all served their respective suspensions and are available for selection. Andre Ayew (hamstring), Lucas Mendes (thigh) and Morgan Amalfitano (knee) have all been declaired fit enough for the squad. The only absentees are Charles Kabore, Senah Mango and Foued Kadir who are all away on international duty in the ACoN. The 18 man team is made up of: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Fanni, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes, Morel, Abdullah, Barton, Cheyrou, Valbuena, Amalfitano, A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Remy, Gignac, Jobello.

Sochaux have shown that they are often vulnerable to counter-attacks and attacks down the wings. These are also areas of Marseille’s game that they have shown significant strengths this season. If Amalfitano can regain some of his early season form he will provide a good threat against Roussillon, equally, A. Ayew has shown recently his strengths down the left flank and should look to get the most out of Corchia.

Important aspects of play will also come through Barton and Cheyrou’s link up play with Valbuena and Gignac. Gignac is already showing in a few games exactly what the squad missed without him during November having netted 3 times in 4 games since his return from injury.

Defensively Baup may look for consistensy and thus stay with the line-up shown below. But with Diawara back it is possible that Morel (or even Nkoulou) could be dropped after some shakey performances of late.

Likely starting line-up:

 Sochaux v Marseille formation

Who Are They?

Sochaux finished last season in 14th place, 4 points above the relegation zone. They also took 4 points from OM last season (2-2 at the Velodrome and 0-1 at Stade Bonal). Eric Hely’s side have struggled this season, and part of this is down to their home form. They have only picked up 8 points, 2nd worst in the Ligue, coming from wins over Troyes and Evian and impressive draws with Lyon and Lille.

Right-back, Sebastien Corchia, has performed consistently well for Sochaux. He likes to attack and will fancy his chances against Morel, as he looks to cross and provide service for Bakambu. Thank fully, Ryad Boudebouz is on international duty with Algeria so will be unable to claim another winner over OM. Another strength for Sochaux is ‘keeper Simon Pouplin. Despite Sochaux’s poor position in the defensive table (14th having conceded 29 goals), there is no doubt that this would be an awful lot worse if it wasn’t for some of the fine saves that Pouplin has pulled off this campaign.

Sumary

In Sochaux, Marseille are historical underdogs, having won only 13 times to Sochaux’s 30. The last few seasons have been a lost more even through with 3 Sochaux wins to 2 OM wins since 2008. Sochaux will hope to get as many points on the board early on to avoid the threat of relegation hanging over them, and if they are to do this, they must improve their home form. This will not be easy to do against the ligue’s best away side, and as a result my prediction is an OM win.

Predicted result: Sochaux 0-2 Marseille

 

Selected odds (from Bet365.com, correct at time of publication):

Sochaux: 5.00

Draw: 3.25

Marseille: 1.80

 

Weekend’s other Ligue 1 fixtures:

Saint-Etienne 2-2 Toulouse

psg 0-0 Ajaccio

Troyes 1v2 Lyon

Montpellier 2v0 Lorient

Rennes 0v2 Bordeaux

Nancy 2v2 Lille

Evian 0v2 Brest

Reims 1v2 Bastia

Nice v Valenciennes

Allez l’OM

Swanny (@MarseilleUK)

News Update – 31/12/12

First of all could I just take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. A huge thank you to anyone who has visited, linked, contributed, liked, followed, re-tweeted this site or the MarseilleUK twitter or Facebook accounts.

Ins and Outs –

As the rumour mill goes into overdrive around Europe, Marseille already seem to be sorting out their transfer business, keeping a low profile, and keeping costs low, despite recent proclamations that the clubs finances are sound.

3 players linked with moves into the club are Foued Kadir, Brice Samba and Denis Petric (although as the move for Samba has gained pace, a move for another goalkeeper, Petric, would seem to be unlikely). Although it had been reported earlier in the month that Ricardo Quaresma was on his way to Marseille, that move looks to have stalled over the Portuguese internationals’ wage demands.

Some possible moves away from OM are rumoured to be Nkoulou who has interested Manchester City, Florian Raspentino with a loan move Brest suggested, and the on going saga surrounding Loic Remy and the host of English clubs tracking him including Newcastle United and Stephane Mbia’s QPR.

The deal that looks imminent is that of Foued Kadir, for a mere €500,000. Kadir currently plays for Valenciennes and has played a major part in their surprising push up the ligue this season. The Algerian has contributed 6 goals and 4 assists from his 11 starts so far. He will provide good cover for Andre Ayew outside of the ACoN, and hopefully provide Amalfitano with some competition to up his game too.

Brice Samba is an 18 year old goalkeeper currently playing for Le Havre. This transfer would appear to show the club seeing Samba as a long-term replacement for Mandanda, allowing Samba an opportunity to learn and progress under him whilst also spelling the end for Bracigliano (who is rumoured to have interested Gazelec d’Ajaccio).

Marseille managed to keep hold of Nkoulou last summer, and despite some shaky performances of late, there is no doubt that Nkoulou is the most consistent defender OM possess. As is the case for most teams nowadays though, if enough money is offered the club are likely to ‘reluctantly’ accept a substantial offer. Hopes are high that Marseille have already been scouting central defenders as it may only be a matter of time before Nkoulou heads to pastures new.

Another deal which I don’t want to see is that which would involve summer signing Raspentino heading to Stade Brest on loan. Despite the excellent position OM currently sit in and the positives that Baup has implemented I am personally disappointed with the lack of opportunity for Raspentino. In a season where Amalfitano has been a little off the pace, someone like Raspentino should surely have been given more than 10 minutes cameo roles in the ligue.

The final possible deal is that involving Loic Remy. Newcastle would seem to be the likely destination for Remy, as it appears that they are about to lose Demba Ba. I would like OM to keep Remy, as if nothing else, without him competition for strikers is left purely between Gignac and Jordan Ayew. Positives from this transfer may be that an NUFC players comes in the opposite direction, suggested players being Gabriel Obertan or Sylvain Marvaux. However, given the signing of Kadir who plays in a similar position, and the fact that both Obertan and Marvaux have featured more prominently in Alan Pardew’s plans recently, it wouldn’t appear that a player deal would make that much sense for either team.

Allez l’OM

Marseille 1-0 Saint-Etienne – Match Report

Ayew Nods OM To The Top Of Ligue 1 Ahead Of Winter Break

But Ayew

Marseille head into the Christmas break as joint ‘Winter Champions’ after a insipid win over Saint-Etienne saw them equal the 3 points attained by both psg and Lyon earlier in the weekend. A sole Andre Ayew goal at the end of the first half was the difference in the result, despite Sainte being the better of the two sides over 90 minutes.

Saint-Etienne started the brightest as OM looked like they were going to surrender their excellent home record against les verts. Despite their dominance, ASSE only managed to create half-chances from corners and set-pieces that were generally cleared with ease.

The game changed on 45 minutes though as Marseille netted from their first chance on target. Fanni, whose crosses had amounted to little so far, crossed from deep on the right and found Andre Ayew who headed to the far post beyond Ruffier. To go into half time leading 1-0 was more than OM deserved in all honesty, as OM lacked any vision in getting the ball into the final third. Jordan Ayew was non-existent, but so was any quality in delivery to him either.

The second half started in exactly the same way as the first as OM failed to get a foothold on the game. Once again, ASSE pushed and pressed and were happy to counter quickly when needed. Cheyrou’s absence in midfield was noticeable, as Barton was left to do the work of 2 men, Nkoulou also had an uncharacteristically poor game leaving Lucas Mendes and Rod Fanni to clear up on a number of occasions. When Gignac eventually appeared, he surprisingly replaced Valbuena, who had been OM’s most threatening player, instead of the ineffective Jordan Ayew as many would have expected. Gignac’s influence was immediately noticeable as he held up play up-front in a way that jAyew simply can’t.

Both teams had half chances towards the end, with Saint-Etienne, probably having the better chances. If ASSE hadn’t went 5 games without scoring, their strikers may have played with a little more confidence and would have (indeed should have) scored.

Marseille held out to demonstrate what they have done so effectively this season, win ugly. Despite not setting out with a boring game plan, they have systematically overcome teams who have stifled them, typically teams who play in a similar manner to OM. Marseille have shown clinical finishing, and solid defending in order to win 7 games just 1-0.

Credit must be given to Elie Baup who has given the team a sense of purpose and desire. There is a team ethic that was rarely evident towards the end of Deschamp’s reign. There are few who would have predicted Marseille equalling psg on points at the top of Ligue 1 at Christmas, even fewer predict the same for the end of the season. But, as psg and Lyon have the Champions League and Europa League to concentrate on respectively, who knows what may happen?!

Top players: Mandanda, Barton, Lucas Mendes and Fanni

Worst players: Kabore, Jordan Ayew and Amalfitano

Match highlights and goals

Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK)