Tag Archives: Valbuena

Marseille v Lyon – ‘Olympico’ Match Preview – 20/09/15

OMOL

The ‘Olympico’, a term some love and some hate, but regardless of your thoughts about its title there’s no doubt that the competition around this game over the past few seasons has become more and more intense. With both teams pushing towards the top of Ligue 1 more recently, regardless of the ‘history’ of the game, there’s no doubt that it means a great deal to the fans and the players. With the return of Valbuena to the Velodrome this season, there’s perhaps even more at stake.

OM approach the game after back to back wins for the first time under Michel, having seen off Bastia at home 4-1 last week, OM achieved their first away win of the campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Dutch opponents Groningen in the Europa League. The win was achieved with an unexpected starting 11 that contained 6 changes to the side that turned over Bastia. In Europe, OM unusually played as more of a counter-attacking side, having less possession than their opponents for the first time since Bielsa took charge. This worked well though for OM as they created a number of chances from these breaks, and against sides like Lyon and psg this could be a successful way forward.

Michel has Diarra fit for the match, but Dja Djedje. Ocampos and Rolando are all rested. The squad could well be looking for the experience and cool headedness from Diarra that they have often lacked in the ‘big’ games of the past few seasons. Diaby is still yet to feature again as he continues his progress towards match fitness. It would be no surprise to see Michel start with the same side that beat Bastia last Sunday.

The full OM squad: Mandanda, Pele, De Ceglie, Manquillo, Mendy, Nkoulou, Rekik, Sparagna, Alessandrini, Barrada, Cabella, Diarra, Isla, Romao, Sarr, Silva, Zambo Anguissa, Batshuayi, Nkoudou.

Likely starting 11:

Mandanda

Manquillo, Nkoulou, Rekik, Mendy

Diarra

Alessandrini, Silva, Barrada, Cabella

Batshuayi

Lyon come into the game on the back of 2 draws, 0-0 at home against Lille and 1-1 away in Gent (UCL). Prior to this Hubert Fournier’s side have also struggled to get going this season picking up a point Lorient, 3 away at Guingamp and Caen, whilst suffering a defeat at the hands of Rennes. Lyon will be without Fofana and Fekir, while Kone and Rafael are both doubts. Former OM hero, Valbuena, returns as the pantomime villain having returned to France after a season with Dynamo Moscow. OM had initially retired his number 28 shirt when he left, however none expected him to return to France, especially not with one of OM’s major rivals. Another former OM ‘hero’, Morel, also returns to the Velodrome although it would be fair to say his reception could be far more lenient than that of Valbuena who is views as more of a ‘traitor’ (Valbuenain). Morel was a love-hate figure at OM who grew to be liked more towards the end of his tenure at the club through his effort and endevours, though he was always susceptible to the odd howler. Valbuena and Beavue are likely to be the dangermen, but the OM defensive line can’t forget about Lacazette who will be desperate to rekindle his form from last season and get back on the good side of the OL fans.

The view of @OLnews_eng:

Saying that OL is preparing this first huge league matchup of the season with limited confidence is an understatement. Coming off a very, very disappointing result in Champions League, OL has only showed glimpses of the free-flowing possession football that made them a title contender last season. If the defence is relatively satisfying (4 clean sheets in 5 league games), new signings Rafael and Yanga Mbiwa have been mostly average in the back. They’ll both miss out the Olympico, pushing Fournier towards a tried-and-tested backline with Bedimo, Bisevac, Umtiti and Jallet. OL’s main weakness has been its midfield. Gonalons’ still far from his best level, while Tolisso and especially Ferri have struggled early after enjoying breakout seasons last year. Valbuena’s been one of the most consistent performers, but can’t do it all in midfield. OL’s costliest signing of the summer, Spanish mid Sergi Darder, could make his debut but probably isn’t ready to go a full 90 minutes. He could help a team that has struggled when facing a high pressure, like against Rennes or Gent. Up top, Lacazette’s goal drought continues and his partnership with Beauvue still doesn’t seem very natural. The former Guingamp man has shown glimpses of brilliance, with a wonderful goal against Caen and a late game-winner in Guingamp. But he has tended to disappear from games a bit too much, and it’s obvious his partners still need to understand better how he likes to receive the ball and how he times his runs.

Likely starting 11:

Lopes

Jallet, Yanga-Mbiwa, Umtit, Morel

Ferri, Gonalons, Tolisso

Valbuena

Lacazette, Beavue

At the Velodrome OM certainly have history on their side having won 20 games to Lyon’s 10, with another 15 games ending in draws. 3 of the last five games have been draws including last years 0-0 which came after emphatic wins for both Olympion’s before hand, 4-2 to OM in 2013/14 after a 4-1 reverse in 2012/13. There is a great deal riding on the outcome for  both teams to give a statement of intent which could see them get their season on track.

Allez l’OM

@aswanny84

@marseilleuk

Marseille – Monaco – 01/09/13 – Match Preview

01/09/13 – 20:00 (UK – Live on BTsport 1)
Ligue 1 – Game 4
Marseille – Monaco
Stade Velodrome, Marseille

As the only side in Ligue 1 with a 100% record, Marseille face their toughest test to date as they face the team that many expect to overtake OM into 2nd spot this season, AS Monaco. OM have had mixed performances so far, with exciting and entertaining football in patches against Guingamp and Evian, replaced by the hard work but dull and efficient performance against Valenciennes. The same can be said about our Mediterranean neighbours. They were clinical and efficient in the season opener against Bordeaux with 2 late goals, entertaining and excellent against Montpellier followed by dull and drab against Toulouse. Sunday’s game will be a clear indicator of the title credentials of either team.

Marseille

Gianelli Imbula who missed out on the game against Valenciennes, but has taken part in some training, is part of the squad and may start. The rest of the squad is expected to be the same, with Payet and Gignac’s confidence boosted with their inclusion in the French national squad for the upcoming internationals along with Mandanda and Valbuena. The late omission of Morel, means it is likely that Mendy will start again, having missed the last 2 games.

Diawara and Morel will be likely to keep their places in defence along with Nkoulou and Fanni. With keeping the same defensive unit for the 3rd game in a row, hopefully their increased understanding and communication with Mandanda will help keep the Monaco attackers at bay.

It is fair to say that Monaco have not yet really been tested since their return to Ligue 1. In their wins over Bordeaux and Montpellier, and goalless draw with Toulouse the apposition have only managed 9 shots on target (Bordeaux (6), Montpellier (3) Toulouse (0)). OM should offer a more clinical attack than those 3 teams, given that OM have averaged 6 shots on target per game so far giving a goal conversion rate of 33%. In other words, give Gignac and Payet chances to shoot and Marseille should score.

Full Marseille squad: Mandanda, Samba, Abdallah, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Nkoulou, Abdullah, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Imbula, Romao, Valbuena, J. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Payet, Khalifa.

Monaco

Claudio Renieri’s team have impressed most so far this season, particularly with how well their many signings have gelled. The quality of Monaco’s signings is not in question, but their ability to grind out a result when facing some of the ligue’s better teams has not yet been seen. Toulouse put up quite a fight and managed to stifle the Monaco creative play and attack, and under this pressure they failed to win. This type of siege mentality is often what awaits teams like psg and Marseille, and if they want to seriously challenge for the title then Monaco will need to find a way past teams.

Marseille will need to be wary of the Monaco set-pieces, with communication between Mandanda and his defence key. This communication has improved game by game, but is still well short of the discipline that saw them keep 7 clean sheets in a row last season.

The OM defence will need to decide how to mark. In previous games, it seems as though Reviere has enjoyed success through the space created by Falcao as the opposition defence have been more worried and preoccupied with the Columbian. OM should perhaps look at man-marking both Reviere and Falcao, and leave any further covering to Imbula/Cheyrou or Romao.

Full Monaco squad: Callard, Romero, Subasic, Abidal, Carvalho, Fabinho, Isimat-Mirin, Kurzawa, Raggi, Tisserand, Ferreria-Carrasco, Moutinho, Obbadi, Ocampos, Pi, Rodriguez, Toulalan, Falcao, Germain, Reviere. 

Summary
Marseille certainly have the history books with them in this fixture having won 20 to Moncao’s 9 at the Stade Velodrome, and OM have only lost 1 of the last 10 meetings between the 2 sides.  Joking aside the atmosphere may be an issue for Monaco. Many teams find the atmosphere at the Velodrome intimidating, and this crowd will certainly be the largest that the Monaco players have faced in Ligue 1 to date. As a result of the quality of players and the atmosphere, I feel that Marseille just have the edge in this fixture, but they will absolutely have to be at their best to overcome a very good Monaco side.  

Stats
Monaco have only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 25 trips to the Velodrome.
Marseille are unbeaten in their last 9 home games.
Monaco are unbeaten in their last 12 away games.
50% of Monaco’s goals have come after the 80th minute.

 

Other Ligue 1 games
Sat 31st  
Evian – Lyon
psg – Guingamp
Sochaux – Ajaccio
Rennes – Lille
Reims – Nantes
Lorient – Valenciennes
Bastia – Toulouse
Sun 1st
Saint-Etienne – Bordeaux
Nice – Montpellier

 

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)

Valenciennes – Marseille – 24/08/13 – Match Preview

24/08/13 – 16:00 (UK – Replayed 25/08/13 08:00 on BTsport 1)
Ligue 1 – Game 3
Valenciennes – Marseille
Stade du Hainault, Valenciennes

VAFC OM

After a fantastic start to the season and a 100% record, OM headed to bitter rivals* Valenciennes only to be humiliated in a 4-1 defeat. This is was happened in week 7 of Ligue 1 last year and Marseille will be keen to avoid a repeat of this abysmal performance. Marseille have again managed a 100% record, winning 2 from 2, Valenciennes have won one and lost one.

Marseille

Giannelli Imbula won’t feature, he was withdrawn at half-time against Evian with an ankle injury. Imbula thankfully returned to training on Thursday, although this was just a fitness session away from the rest of the squad, and it was decided he was not yet recovered enough to feature. 

Having played relatively well against Evian it looks increasingly likely that both Diawara and Morel will keep their starting places ahead of Mendes and Mendy. Failing a injury or suspension to either, we are in the situation where unless they play incredibly poorly, they are likely to keep their places, of course in a tight game a bad performance from either of those players could result in conceding a goal and losing, so for the benefit of the team, we may have to keep them in the 11!

The final new signing of the summer, Saber Khalifa, who missed the games against Guingamp and Evian is fit enough to make it into the squad, although it is not expected that he will start.

As obvious as it may sound, Payet, Valbuena and Andre Ayew should be the focus of OM’s attack. Valenciennes can be susceptible to attacks down the wings and often give away free kicks around the 18-yard box. The close link-up play between Payet/Valabuena and Gignac has been excellent so far this season and their skill and control should help them overcome a Valenciennes defence that conceded 53 goals last season.

Full Marseille team: Mandanda, Smaba, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Kadir, Romao, Valbuena, j. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Payet, Khalifa.

OM formation

Valenciennes

Daniel Sanchez’ team limped to the summer last season, only picking up 19 points from the final 19 games. They will be hoping to secure safety early this term though and push for a top-10 finish. This will be tough for VAFC though who lost Nicola Isimat Mirin (Monaco) and Gael Danic (Lyon). They have signed Bahebeck (psg), Chitu (Vitorul Constanta), Enza Yamissi (Troyes), Doumbia (Wolves), Novaes (Bastia). Out of these signings it is only striker Bahebeck, who is yet to open his scoring account for VAFC, who is most likely to start. Given his first performances he is likely to be involved in VAFC’s build up play and he set up one of the goals in their 3-0 win over Toulouse.

Rudy Mater has had an excellent start to the season. The right-back has pushed forwards helping with the VAFC attacks. As a result, 43% of Valenciennes’ attacks have come down the right this season. Interestingly, 46% of OM’s attacks have come down their left with Andre Ayew (not down the right with new signing Dimitri Payet). This should make for an interesting battle on the Marseille left side, with perhaps the successful team being the one that has the most success here.

Full Valenciennes squad: Novaes, Penneteau, Angoua, Lala, Nery, Mater, Traoré, Chitu, Da Silva, Dossevi, Doumbia, Ducourtioux, Kaboré, Melikson, Saez, Bahebeck, Le Tallec, Nguette.

VAFC Formation

Summary
After having to overcome the 1-4 defeat at the hands of Valenciennes last season in order to push psg close to the title, OM will need to make sure they don’t drop any points needlessly so early on in the season, especially given the start that title contenders Monaco have had. If OM keep their defence tighter, which they did improve in the Evian match, they should have enough in attack to ensure a win.

Stats
Marseille have only won 1 of their last 7 trips to VAFC.
Valenciennes are unbeaten in their last 4 games against OM.
Marseille have conceded 3 or more goals in their last 4 visits to Valenciennes.

 

Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 23rd
Monaco 0-0 Toulouse
Sat 24th
Toulouse – Bordeaux
Montpellier – Sochaux

Lyon – Reims
Bordeaux – Bastia
Evian – Rennes
Guingamp – Lorient
Sun 25th
Lille – Saint-Etienne
Ajaccio – Nice
Nantes – psg

 

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@MarseilleUK & @aswanny84)

*In 1993, the year that Marseille won the Champions League they also won Ligue 1 for the 5th consecutive time. The week of the Champions League final against AC Milan, OM had a game against Valenciennes which, if they won, would mean that they would win the Ligue without having to beat title rivals psg in their final game of the season. Marseille beat Valenciennes 1-0 and as a result secured the Ligue 1 title before going on to beat AC Milan in the final to be crowned European Champions. Unfortunately, though rightly, it emerged that Valenciennes player, Jacques Glassman and two of his team mates had been bribed by OM player Jean-Jacques Eydelie to take it easy in the game between the two sides. In the fall out of the bribery OM were stripped of the Ligue 1 title and relegated. As a result there has always been a little tension between the clubs and fans.

Marseille 2-0 Evian match report – Unconvincing win at the Velodrome

18/08/13 – Ligue 1 Game 2
Marseille 2-0 Evian
Stade Velodrome, Att. 42,524

OM ETG 1

They say the sign of a good team is one which still manages to win when it doesn’t play well. OM  pretty much did exactly that here and picked up a flattering 2-0 success against an Evian side that probably deserved at least a draw out of the encounter. The hosts scored two excellent goals through Gignac and Payet, but over the course of the 90 mins they didn’t really create too many chances. It was Pascal Dupraz’s outfit who looked the more threatening but they lacked a finishing touch in front of goal. Ultimately, the difference between the two teams was a couple of extra classy moments which Evian didn’t have.

The game started in the heat of the afternoon and clearly this had an affect on the players throughout the whole contest. The first major occasion of the game fell Evian’s way and it originated from an excellent Ehret run and cross on the left hand side. The defence was caught out and it ultimately needed Steve Mandanda to make a good save to prevent a goal. Evian should’ve been ahead and regretted that miss just a few minutes later when Gicnac scored. It was really a goal out of nothing as Rod Fanni propelled a long ball forward. OM’s leading marksman from last season still had loads of work to do, but he turned Mensah superbly before unleashing an unstoppable left foot shot into the back of the net. It was a truly excellent goal and just what OM needed after a slow start.

OM ETG 2

The hosts couldn’t build on this lead though and in all truth didn’t create another veritable occasion in the first half. It was Evian who were more lively and could’ve easily found themselves level a couple of times. Mandanda had to be quick off his line to deny Benezet, whilst Kevin Berigaud fired over the bar when well placed. OM led 1-0 at HT but needed to improve in the 2nd half or else their advantage wouldn’t last.

Both sides had early shouts for a penalty at the start of the 2nd period,

but neither were convincing enough and the referee waved away all protests. Payet had a shot from a decent position but couldn’t find the target and then close to the hour mark Souley Diawara should’ve done better when unmarked at the back post. The big defender could only head tamely though and then just a couple of moments later at the other end, Evian had a huge chance to equalise. Bertoglio was in acres of space on the left, but couldn’t quite find Berigaud in the middle. Benezet then missed the the resulting chance and he misfired his shot.

This was a huge let off for OM and they responded. Andre Ayew was unlucky not to win a penalty before Dimitri Payer scored his 3rd goal in 2 games thanks to a great individual effort. He controlled a Valbuena through ball before twisting and turning the defence and then drilling a low shot into the net. OM were 2-0 up thanks to a couple of great goals but this advantage masked some deficiencies. Evian had yet more chances to register a goal before the close. Sougou fired wide, whilst both Nsikulu and Mensah had decent efforts saved by Mandanda. If they’d shown some composure in the final third, the result of this match could’ve been very different.

OM ETG 3

Things I liked

  • The goals. Both were really excellent and they show the fact that even when OM are having an off day, they now have more than one match winner who can save them thanks to an individual attempt.

  • Payet -Gignac – Valbuena triangle. Payet has really settled into the side well and looks so much at home in an OM shirt. His class and skill is a massive upgrade on what we had last season on the right wing. These three players already seem to have a great understanding and connection with each other, which is great to see.

  • Captain leading by example. The backline looked shaky in this match, but the last man of resistance Steve Mandanda was imperious. His form was great in this match and dominated in so many ways. Constantly seemed alert and made some very good saves. Massive improvement on the Guingamp performance and proved that was just a small blip

  • Le Stade Velodrome. Ok, so one side of it is under construction still and won’t be finished until next summer, but this stadium is really starting to take shape now. I really like the architectural design and its going to look superb when fully complete.

Things I didn’t like

  • The defence & its tactics. Its clear the backline has been asked to push up a lot more this season, which at times is working. But on other occasions OM are finding themselves really exposed. They’ve gotten away with it facing Guingamp and Evian because neither of them have taken their chances, but a good quality attack won’t be as generous against us.

  • Jeremy Morel. I just don’t see how he can keep being the starter if he maintains poor performances like this one. He’s constantly out of position and tries to bomb forwards too much. Fine as a backup left back, but Mendy is going to be a stud first choice for OM compared to him.

  • Lack of chances created. OK, so I praised the attacking trio earlier, but there was also a lack of chances created here. Evian are hardly world beaters yet we struggled to gain clear cut opportunities. If this was someone like PSG they’d have had 20+ shots or something and probably won 3 or 4 nil. I want to see us really dominate these type of games completely against weaker teams.

Highlights here

[vimeo 72730165 h=650 w=500]

Player ratings (out of 10)  – Mandanda 7,  Fanni 4, N’Koulou 5, Diawara 5, Morel 3, Romao 5, Imbula 4 (Cheyrou 5), Payet 6 (Amalfitano 4), Valbuena 6 (Kadir, not rated), A Ayew 5, Gignac 6.

Man of the match – Mandanda.

His influence here is underestimated. Payet and Gignac will grab the headlines but his authority at the back was really important. Souley Diawara made it into lequipe’s team of the week, but I don’t know how. Ok, he played alright but nothing special in my opinion.

Evian: Laquait, Wass, Sabaly, Mongongou, Mensah, Ehret (72′ Cambon), Bertoglio (63′ Sougou), Barbosa (63′ N’Sikulu) , Sorlin, Berigaud, Benezet

Elie Baup: ‘It was a difficult game in difficult conditions. We did not have enough juice to get forward more. Imbula was hit on the ankle early in the game. He will see the doctor, but there is a slight sprain.’ (From OM.net)

Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 16th
Sochaux 1-3 Lyon
Sat 17th
Toulouse 1-1 Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne 1-0 Guingamp
Reims 2-1 Lille
Nice 2-1 Rennes
Bastia 2-0 Valenciennes
Sun 18th
Monaco 4-1 Montpellier
Lorient 2-1 Nantes
psg 1-1 Ajaccio

Marseille – Evian – 17/08/13 – Match Preview

17/08/13 – 16:00 (UK – Replayed 18/08/13 08:00 on BTsport 1)
Ligue 1 – Game 2
Marseille – Evian Thonon Gaillard
Stade Velodrome, Marseille

20130815-232846.jpg

After an incredible start to their first Ligue 1 game of the season against Guingamp, Marseille take on Evian in their first home game. With all 3 of Baup’s new signings hitting the ground running in Brittany, the coach will look to repeat last season’s early run of form and make it two wins from two. Having avoided relegation by 2 points last season, Evian will hope to secure safety a little earlier, although they have lost some of their more high-profile players and struggled to replace those. The Stade Velodrome has continued to be revamped over the summer and will have an increased capacity of around 48,000 for this game. The game is close to a sell-out and FIFA president Michel Platini also be in attendance.

Marseille

Lacking match practice, Elie Baup again indicated that it would be unlikely that Saber Klhifa would feature on Saturday, this time against his former club, instead it he may be handed his debut in week 3 against Valenciennes. Baup should have no injury concerns as it would appear that Mandanda, Valbuena, Payet, Nkoulou and Kadir all returned from their international duties unscathed.

Continuing to work on his fitness, Lucas Mendes may be deemed fit enough to start, especially given the rather shaky performance from the defensive partnership of Nkoulou and Diawara last week. There is no reason for Baup to make any other changes to the squad or formation. He should certainly encourage even more of the creativity that Valbuena and Payet showed last week, as well as some of the link up play with Gignac, and encourage APG’s shots from directly from cutting in if OM are struggling to find the ETG goal.

Full Marseille squad is: Mandanda, Samba, Diawara, Fanni, Mendes, Mendy, Morel, Nkoulou, Amalfitano, Cheyrou, Imbula, Kadir, Romao, Valbuena, J. Ayew, A. Ayew, Gignac, Payet.

20130810-104928.jpg

Evian

Avoiding relegation again will probably be the main target for Pascal Dupraz and his side this season. Having lost Yanick Sagbo and Saber Klhifa over the summer, ETG’s main replacements are Benezet from Ligue 2’s Nimes and our very own Sougou (the latter only on loan). Sougou is not expected to play and Brice Dja Djedje is suspended, so they will primarily rely on the striking partnership of Berigaud and Barbosa.

Marseille will have to be wary of Evian’s attacking threat from set pieces, especially given their weaknesses in previous seasons along with last week’s poor 2nd half showing against Guingamp. Evian’s opening goal in last week’s 1-1 draw with Sochaux came from a deep free kick with Ehret managing to comfortably direct the ball past Pouplin.

The full Evian squad is made up of: Laquait, Hansen, Sabaly, Ehret, Wass, Angoula, Mensah, Mongongu, Cambon, Sorlin, Koné, Barbosa, Benezet, Blanc, Bertoglio, Bérigaud, Sougou, Nsikulu. Although Sougou is not expected to start there are of course worries that he may come off the bench and cause problems. After only signing in January for OM, his loan move to ETG came as a shock to most given that he impressed in his limeted opportunities last year, so Sougou certainly has a point to prove and will hope to impress infront of the OM croud and Elie Baup.

Expected line up and formation:photo

Summary
With nothing to lose from the game there is the chance that Evian could prove to be a tricky opposition on Saturday, however, the same could have been said before the Guingamp game. Marseille comfortably demonstrated their class and ability in the 1st half against Guingamp, the main difference in the second half being Marseille’s slack passing, performance and defence. If OM perform well in both halves then a home win should be on the cards.

Stats
Marseille have won their last 8 home games.
Evian have lost their last 4 away games.
In the 6 games that Klhifa did not feature in for Evian last season they didn’t win a game, losing 4 and drawing 2.
Marseille have won both games between these 2 teams at the Velodrome (2-0 and 1-0)

Other Ligue 1 games
Fri 16th
Sochaux – Lyon
Sat 17th
Toulouse – Bordeaux
Saint-Etienne – Guingamp
Reims – Lille
Nice – Rennes
Bastia – Valenciennes
Sun 18th
Monaco – Montpellier
Lorient – Nantes
psg – Ajaccio

Allez l’OM
Swanny (@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)

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