Tag Archives: Sougou

Evian v Marseille – 12/01/2014 – Match Preview


Evian Thonon Gaillard v Olympique Marseille

Parc des Sports d’Annecy

16:00 (UK) Live on BTsports1

Marseille head back into Ligue 1 action after the winter break. The campaign under Jose Anigo has yielded only one victory so for, last week in the Coupe de France, however, there have been some glimpses of positivity and improvement from the squad. Their opponents, Evian, approach the game just 2 places and 6 points above the relegation zone, and have lost their last 3 games.

Full news is awaited on the OM squad selected for the game, however it expected that both Andre Ayew and Valbuena will not make the squad despite the later having returned to trainging recently. Steve Mandanda is expected to return in goal after missing the cup game against Reims. With Jordan Ayew currently out on loan at Sochaux, and Valbuena’s injury, it is predicted that ex-Evian attacker Saber Khalifa will start in the attacking group along with Thauvin, Payet and Gignac.

Expected line-up and formation:


Fanni Nkoulou Diawara Mendy

Imbula Romao

Khalifa Thauvin Payet



Evian have played one more game than OM since the winter break, first facing Bastia in the Coupe de France (0-1) and then played their re-arranged ligue game against Saint-Etienne on Wednesday (0-1). This could work in their favour in terms of match practice, or they could be a little more fatigued playing 2 intense games in quick succession. OM loanee, Sougou, is not expected to start in the game, but hopefully he won’t have the traditional impact of a loaned player and score against us if he is involved!

OM will need to be wary of the skill of Wass and also his ability to bring in Berigaud and Benezet with through balls, something we have seemed particularly week in dealing with in recent games. Attacking play from Khalifa and Payet, supported by Fanni and Mendy should lead to some excellent goal-scoring opportunities for OM, they have shown strength here in recent games and is a particular weakness of Evian.

Expected Evian line up and formation:


Djedje Mongongou Angoula Sabaly

Bi Kone

Berigaud Barbosa Benezet



This will be a tough game for both sides and OM will look for their first win at the Parc des Sports d’Annecy having lost and drawn their previously. It is also important to remember that despite their position in the ligue, Evian have picked up wins at home against Lyon and psg this season as well as picking up draws against Bordeaux and Monaco, so they can certainly up their game against ‘the big teams’.


Allez l’OM

Andrew (@aswanny84 & @MarseilleUK)

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:


Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Barton Romao

Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew



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:


Lippini Zubar Poulard Bouhours

Mostefa Lasne

Belghazouani Cavalli Sammaritano



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

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: 


Fanni Nkoulou Mendes Morel

Barton Romao

Sougou Valbuena A. Ayew



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:


Dabo Bisevac Lovren Umtiti

Gonalons Fofana

Laczette Malbranque Lopez



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 v Nancy – Match Preview 03/02/13

Marseille v Nancy

Sun 03/02/13 – 20:00 (UK)

Stade Velodrome, Marseille

Ref – Rene Sucarrat

OM v ASNL Preview

Background –

Having dropped 3 points off the pace at the top of Ligue 1 last weekend, Marseille face bottom of the table AS Nancy this weekend in a must win game for both sides. After Mandanda’s last minute blunder allowed Rennes to clinch a draw OM found themselves 3 points away from the top spot, and although they have been in this potion before there is the worry that it will be too difficult to keep up the pace with Lyon and psg now. However, with the encouraging performance from Modou Sougou (CFR Cluj) in the Coupe de France victory over Rouen midweek, along with forthcoming debuts for Foued Kadir (VAFC) and Jacques-Alaixys Romao (FCL), there is hope that the new signings will give the squad and extra push going into the second half of the season.

Nancy managed only their second win of the season last weekend against FC Lorient, their only other win coming in week 1 over Brest.  Nancy have found themselves in the relegation zone since week 6 and have propped up the rest of the table since week 9. There is a concern that with the January departures of club captain Andre Luiz (LOSC), Yohan Mollo (ASSE), Massadio Haidara (NUFC), Helder (Internacional) and Zenke (Istanbul BB) that Nancy are already preparing themselves for Ligue 2 next season.

Marseille –

Elie Baup is without Charles Kabore (Burkina Faso) and Jacques Alaixys Romao (Togo) who are all still competing at the African Cup of Nations.

After a very encouraging performance midweek Modou Sougou could be in line for his Ligue 1 debut, but I would expect this to be from the subs bench in the second half.

Team news: The hip injury that ruled out Morel from the win over Rouen will keep him from this game too, meaning Morel misses his first Ligue 1 game of the season. New signing Foued Kadir has been included in the squad so the fans at the Velodrome will hope to catch sight of him at some point too.

Full squad: Mandanda, Samba, Fanni, Abdallah, Nkoulou, Diawara, Mendes, Aloe, Barton, Cheyrou, Abdullah, Amalfitano, Valbuena, A. Ayew, Kadir, J. Ayew, Gignac and Sougou.

Probable starting line up and formation:

4-2-3-1: Mandanda – Fanni, Diawara, Nkoulou, Mendes – Barton, Cheyrou – J. Ayew, Valbuena, A. Ayew – Gignac


Nancy –

Nancy are currently bottom of Ligue 1 where they have spent most of the season. The Nancy board decided that they may fair better with another coach and parted ways with Jean Fernandez who had been in charge for 18 months. Patrick Gabriel has been named interim coach for Nancy and has mustered up a draw (1-1 LOSC), a loss (1-2 TFC) and a win (2-1 FCL) in his short time in charge.

As was the last time these teams met out one to watch is Sebastien Puygrenier. The experienced centre back has pulled out a number of good performance this season despite what the results may suggest. He has also contributed 3 goals, one of which claimed the win over Lorient last week. Puygrenier will be a major threat from set-pieces and I would expect Patrick Gabriel will encourage Nancy to win as many free-kicks and corners as possible once in Marseille’s half.

Marseille simply must begin to defend correctly from set-pieces, and they are sure to be tested by Nancy in this department. There continually seems like there is a lack of communication defensively during set-pieces and too many goals have been conceded where opposition players have lost markers, have got to the ball too easily, or the ball has dropped and our opponents are quickest to react. As the team captian, I would hope that Mandanda takes more responsibility for this, however as the senior and preferred defender, Nkoulou should also be commanding the defensive area far better than what he is at present.

Summary –

Top 3 team takes on team who have spent most of the season at the bottom of the pile. Should be an obvious outcome, but them this is Marseille. We don’t do things the easy or obvious way. If we weren’t so awful at defending set-pieces I would feel a great deal more confident going into the match, however, as proven against Rouen again, our frailties from these situation change a comfortable looking win into a team hanging on for a draw. The mentality of the players seems to change and they transform into a bundle of nerves, just like the fans, and seems to then concede even more corners and free-kicks. By rights, Marseille should win this game, and because of this it may be a better indication of just how the rest of the season may pan out for OM. Approach it with the right mentality and we should win, fail to do that and another upset could be on the cards.

Betting odds (from Bet365.com correct at time of publication)

Marseille: 1.44

Draw: 4.20

Nancy: 7.50

Other Ligue 1 games:

Toulouse 0-4 psg

Lorient 2v2 Rennes

Bastia 0v0 Evian

Brest 0v2 Nice

Lille 1v1 Troyes

Sochaux 1v2 Saint-Etienne

Bordeaux 2v0 Valenciennes

Ajaccio v Lyon

Montpellier v Reims

Allez l’OM (Swanny @MarseilleUK)