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Ligue 1

  • January 29, 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Stade de la Route de Lorient, Rennes
  • Referee: A. Castro
  • • Attendance: 28802
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Ligue 1 Preview: Rennes - Olympique de Marseille

Ligue 1 Preview: Rennes - Olympique de Marseille

Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille)

Unbeaten at home so far this term, Frederic Antonetti's men will want to continue their positive start to 2012 while arresting the terrific form of their visitors


PROBABLE LINE-UPS
RENNES


Diallo
Danze, Apam, Kana-Biyik, Mavinga
M'Vila, Doumbia
Kembo, Feret, Brahimi
Montano

MARSEILLE


Mandanda
Azpilicueta, Fanni, Nkoulou, Morel
Diarra, Cheyrou
Amalfitano, Lucho, Valbuena
Remy



Both sides have selection headaches going into Sunday's match.

Rennes are without first-choice goalkeeper Benoit Costil, who starts a two-match suspension on Sunday, while they are also shorn of four players - Youssouf Hadji, Kader Mangane, John Boye and Jonathan Pitroipa - because of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Razak Boukari continues to miss out injured for Les Rouge et Noir, but Vincent Pajot is expected to be named in the squad. Mevlut Erding could also debut, potentially displacing Victor Hugo Montano in attack.

Marseille, meanwhile, are rocked by the blow of Stephane Mbia's injury, which is liable to keep him sidelined for a few weeks at least. Young prodigy Billel Omrani will miss two months, too, but he has made little impression on the first team as yet, while Andre-Pierre Gignac is still absent.

Slight doubts surround the participation of Lucho Gonzalez and Cesar Azpilicueta, while OM have also lost four players to international duty. Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Charles Kabore and Souleymane Diawara are all presently away with various African nations.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • Rennes are one of only two Ligue 1 teams still unbeaten at home in league action this term. The other is Breton neighbours Brest.
  • Les Rouge et Noir have kept clean sheets in their last four outings against top flight opposition.
  • When these sides met at Stade Velodrome earlier this season, a solitary goal from Jires Kembo-Ekoko was enough to earn Frederic Antonetti's side a 1-0 victory and three points.
  • Kembo-Ekoko's effort that day was one of five he's scored from outside the box this season - a tally only equalled in Europe's top five leagues by Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.
  • Marseille currently lie sixth in Ligue 1, boasting 34 points. Their hosts are one place and one point better off.
  • OM were bottom of the table after six matches, but they have picked up 19 points from their last eight matches - the best record in the whole of Le Championnat.
  • Away from home, Didier Deschamps' men have been unspectacular. They have played nine matches on the road, winning three, drawing three and losing three.
  • Les Phoceens earned a 2-0 win in Rennes last season, with goals coming from Loic Remy and Lucho Gonzalez.

  • Remy remains in formidable goalscoring form this season, netting 16 times in 30 starts in the 2011-12 campaign so far.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
30Steve MandandaGoalkeeper
28César AzpilicuetaDefender
3N. N'KoulouDefender
15Jérémy MorelDefender
24Rod FanniDefender
23Alou DiarraMidfielder
7Benoît CheyrouMidfielder
8Lucho GonzálezMidfielder
18Morgan AmalfitanoMidfielder
28Mathieu ValbuenaMidfielder
14Loïc RemyStriker
1Gennaro BraciglianoGoalkeeper
18Djimi TraoreDefender
26Jean-Philippe SaboDefender
-Larry AzouniMidfielder
9BrandaoStriker
-Chris GadiStriker
-Wesley JobelloMidfielder
Players to Watch
Jirès Kembo-Ekoko
Jirès Kembo-Ekoko
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 11
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
A player blessed with great potential, yet a young man who has yet to show his qualities on a consistent enough basis to attract a really big club to take a gamble on him. Lille are reportedly eyeing him as Eden Hazard's replacement for next season, and this match provides a chance for the talented attacker to prove again that he can perform to his maximum even against the best sides.

The 28-year-old boasts eight goals this term, including the only strike when these teams met at Stade Velodrome earlier this season.
Mathieu Valbuena
Mathieu Valbuena
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 28
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Since scoring the winning goal against Dortmund in the Champions League, the pocket dynamo of a winger has been simply irrepressible. Often it's been Loic Remy who has grabbed the headlines, but Valbuena has been the engineer of many of his goals and will be the player who the Bretons must pin down if they are to earn anything.
Prediction
Rennes may be unbeaten at home, but OM's form in recent weeks is ominous for Frederic Antonetti's side. Expect a close game but, with the wind in the sails of the visitors, they may just become the first team to win at the Stade de la Route de Lorient this season.
Editor's Prediction
Rennes 1

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