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Olympique de Marseille finally managed to grab their first titles in 17 years by winning Ligue 1 and the League Cup. The big club from south of France were a sleeping giant for a long time but the arrival of Didier Deschamps has thrust the club into the spotlight again. OM will face Chelsea, Spartak Moscow and Zilina.


Olympique de Marseille undoubtedly have some experience now in the Champions League, qualifying for the last four editions. OM are strong and physical, as is typical for players chosen by coach Didier Deschamps. The target is to advance to the next round. For that, OM have a lot of power at the back with Diawara and M'Bia, and a lot of speed at front with Gignac, Remy, Ayew and Valbuena. Quickness and power are the main qualities of this team and was a major reason why the team are very strong on set pieces (the best team in Ligue 1 last year in that respect.)

On the weakness side we can see that the team is missing a defensive midfielder of true international level. Edouard Cisse (32-years-old) is a bit too old to play top European football. All the new signings don’t have any Champions League experience as Azpi, Gignac and Remy have never played in the competition before.


Undoubtedly the star player is Argentinian Lucho Gonzalez, the heart of the team, who makes his team-mates better. He plays one-touch football, and is really an accelerator. If he is in good form, all the team will be. Lucho was bought last year from Porto for €18 million and was well worth the money.
Other key players are Souleymane Diawara in defence - he’s a rock, very quick and strong at the back. Andre Pierre Gignac (born near Marseille) should be another star player. The France striker has now the obligation to prove that he is worthy of an OM starting place. And finally Loic Remy, another international player, has shown tremendous qualities since his signing and could be a big threat for all the defences in the Champions League.


Didier Deschamps: World champion in 1998, European Champion with OM in 1993. He returned to OM with a mission to win the title, and this he did. He has a very clear view of the kind of player that he needs: Lucho, Azpilicueta and others were his choice. OM play a 4-3-3 but will be capable of playing in a 4-4-2 if needed. OM often attack down the wings to feed powerful strikers such as Gignac and Brandao in the centre. With Cheyrou and Lucho Gonzalez in midfield, OM havetechnical capacities too.


OM is by far the biggest club in France in regards to popularity. It is considered to be the biggest club with regards to silverware, too, with 10 French cups and 9 Championships. Only AS Saint Etienne has more championships (10). By winning the Double last year, OM seem set to overtake Sainte soon.


OM play at the Stade Velodrome (60,000 capacity), the second biggest stadium in France after Stade de France. The OM fans are known in Europe for their tremendous spirit and ability to make noise. Stade Velodrome will be renovated in 2014 for Euro 2016: the stadium will be covered and will have a capacity of 70,000.


Heroes in the past have included Mamadou Niang and Didier Drogba, but right now the favourite players range from Argentine midfielder Lucho Gonzalez to goalkeeper Steve Mandanda - the captain. With several new players such as Cesar Azpilicueta and Loic Remy at their disposal, perhaps the fans will have a new idol sooner rather than later.


OM have targeted the second round, as Chelsea look untouchable. So the battle will be with Spartak Moscow. OM start their campaign against the Russians and will quickly find out if they can reach the second round. Our prediction is that OM will finish second and advance to the last 16.

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Mathieu Valbuena Mathieu Valbuena
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