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Ligue 1

  • December 19, 2010
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
  • Referee: C. Turpin
  • • Attendance: 54290
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Ligue 1 Preview: Olympique De Marseille - Olympique Lyonnais

Ligue 1 Preview: Olympique De Marseille - Olympique Lyonnais

Title contenders clash in a pre-Christmas cracker at the Stade Vélodrome…

Searching For Inspiration

Although recording a surprise 1-0 victory against Chelsea in the Champions’ League earlier this month, Olympique de Marseille’s Ligue 1 form has in recent weeks remained unconvincing. Lying fifth in the table, two points behind third-placed Lyon, their 1-1 draw with AJ Auxerre last week was the latest in a series of unspectacular performances, which has seen les Phocéens without a victory in their last three matches.

Nonetheless, Marseille remain positive, with captain Lucho Gonzalez telling the club website: “The team is going through a period without regularity in the results, but there is no frustration, football is like that, to win you must score goals.

“This will be a good match between two teams vying for the title. It will be important to win, but above all a real pleasure to play this kind of encounter.”

This week has seen the arrival of Rod Fanni from Rennes on a two and a half year contract, providing cause for optimism and a welcome boost to the Marseille defence.

In spite of their inability to find a decisive goal against Auxerre, Marseille were largely dominant, and unfortunate to concede a penalty and be reduced to ten men during the first-half. Regardless, this is certainly not the form of champions, and Marseille will be hoping that a victory against their title rivals could prove the catalyst for a domestic winning streak.

On The Ascent

Like Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais have by no means reached their full potential this season, exhibiting particularly disappointing form in the Champions’ League of late. On the domestic front, conversely, les Gones sit only two points behind league leaders Lille, and are enjoying something of a renaissance.

After a disastrous start to the season, widespread calls amongst supporters for the dismissal of manager Claude Puel, and rumours of dressing room discontent, Lyon appear to have achieved a semblance of order, playing with confidence and picking up 24 points from a possible 30 in their previous ten Ligue 1 encounters.

Although lacking key players through injury, such as Yoann Gourcuff, last Sunday’s 2-0 victory against Toulouse was crisp and assured. Explaining their improvement since the start of the season, Lisandro Lopez emphasized that “there are still things to improve, but over time the team makes fewer mistakes and gets better. The reason is collective, not individual”.

With regard to the clash against Marseille, Lisandro suggested that “it will be important for morale, but not decisive in view of the title”.

And indeed, a positive result for Lyon is imperative in maintaining the optimistic atmosphere at the Rhône club, as well as ensuring that Marseille do not leapfrog them in the Ligue 1 table.


Team news

Marseille

While Didier Deschamps will be handing Rod Fanni his Marseille debut this weekend, he will be concerned with absences in the remainder of his squad. Stephane Mbia is suspended following his red card against Auxerre, while Souleymane Diawara also begins his suspension. Brandao (ankle) is doubtful, and Cesar Azpilicueta, Edouard Cissé (thigh) and Hilton are sidelined through injury until January.

Lyon

It will be a severely depleted Lyon squad that travels to the Stade Vélodrome on Sunday. Claude Puel faces a lengthy injury list including key players Yoann Gourcuff (ankle) and Jérémy Toulalan (thigh), but a more pressing concern will be the heart of defence, where les Gones will be without both Cris (adductor) and Pape Diakhaté (thigh). Right-back Anthony Réveillère is also doubtful following a calf-strain picked up against Toulouse. Cesar Delgado, Ederson and Clément Grenier are also unavailable.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
30Steve MandandaGoalkeeper
20G. HeinzeDefender
24Rod FanniDefender
3Taye TaiwoDefender
-Charles KaboréMidfielder
28Mathieu ValbuenaMidfielder
7Benoît CheyrouMidfielder
10André AyewStriker
8Lucho GonzálezMidfielder
14Loïc RemyStriker
9André Pierre GignacStriker
16AndradeGoalkeeper
26Jean-Philippe SaboDefender
14Leyti N'DiayeDefender
15Jordan AyewStriker
7Fabrice AbrielMidfielder
9BrandaoStriker
25Hugo LlorisGoalkeeper
4Pape DiakhatéDefender
5Dejan LovrenDefender
20Aly CissokhoDefender
13Anthony RéveillèreDefender
6Kim KällströmMidfielder
21Maxime GonalonsMidfielder
17Jean II MakounMidfielder
9Michel BastosMidfielder
9Lisandro LópezDefender
18Bafetimbi GomisStriker
30Rémy VercoutreGoalkeeper
-Lamine GassamaDefender
8Yoann GourcuffMidfielder
15Miralem PjanicMidfielder
19César Fabián DelgadoMidfielder
19Jimmy BriandStriker
34Jérémy PiedStriker
Players to Watch
André Pierre Gignac
André Pierre Gignac
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

The key issue for les Phocéens in recent matches seems to be scoring goals, and all eyes will be on André Pierre Gignac, who has scored only once in 11 Ligue 1 matches. Yet to replicate his outstanding performances for Toulouse last season, the striker is likely to start against Lyon, and Marseille will hope that the clash will provide him with the opportunity to rediscover his form.

Michel Bastos
Michel Bastos
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

After his excellent performance against Toulouse, Lyon will look to Michel Bastos to provide midfield creativity in the absence of Yoann Gourcuff. With his energy and talent, not to mention impressive free-kicks, the experienced winger could prove the difference between the two sides should he be able to take control of the match.

Prediction

Although plagued by injuries, Lyon have proved in recent weeks that they are capable of grinding out results even without their big names. Expect a resilient Lyon side to defeat Marseille in what is undoubtedly set to be a closely fought encounter.


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Editor's Prediction
Lyon 2

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