Marseille’s absence in European competition this season could be blessing for them. However, their squad’s form under Andres Villas-Boas has not been satisfactory. They are still sitting on the seventh of the table. This weekend they will have to take on Olympique Lyon, which is in the phase of revival after the dismissal of Sylvinho from the manager’s post. It will be an interesting encounter for Rudi Garcia as he will be revisiting his previous team’s home base, Stade Velodrome after he left them last season.
Villas-Boas’s men had a positive result last week while hosting Lille. They managed to win over Loic Remy and Co 2-1 by Morgan Sanson’s goal and Gabriel’s own goal. Despite securing three points, their form was still below their fans’ expectation. The Argentine’s striker, Dario Benedetto, failed to score or contribute assist again.
The appointment of Rudi Garcia seems to be leading to a better campaign for Lyon in Ligue 1 and Champions League. Since his arrival, the former Lille, AS Roma and Marseille boss has been able to secure three wins, including a victory against Benfica this midweek. Anthony Lopes and Co could defeat them 3-1 by goals from Joachim Andersen, Memphis Depay and Bertrand Traore. In Ligue 1 last week, they also sealed three points while visiting Toulouse. Their frontmen duo, Memphis Depay and Moussa Dembele were the star of the game.
Missing players and probable line-ups:
Marseille under the former assistant of Jose Mourinho often employs 4-3-3 formation counting on their summer signing, Dario Benedetto. Unfortunately, he has been in a rather degrading form lately as he has not been able to score again since early October. This is something Villas-Boas has to deal with soon as well as come up with a back-up plan. Modifying his regular tactic to 4-3-1-2 could be an option. Yet, they are still unable to play Florian Thauvin and Hiroki Sakai due to his injury and suspension.
Marseille: Steve Mandanda; Jordan Amavi, Alvaro Gonzalez, Bouna Sarr, Duje Caleta-Sar; Morgan Sanson, Kevin Strootmann, Maxime Lopez; Dmitri Payet ; Valere Germain, Dario Benedetto.
Rudi Garcia apparently tends to deploy 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 instead of his favourite 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. He normally relies on the duo frontmen, Depay and Dembele. Unfortunately, the former one is included in the list of men on the injury table along with Kenny Tete, Lucas Tousart and Marcal.
Lyon: Antony Lopes; Joachim Andersen, Jason Denayer, Lea Dubois, Youssuf Kone; Houssem Aourar, Rafael, Thiago Mendes, Maxwell Cornet; Moussa Dembele, Bertrand Traore.
Olympique Lyon is seemingly more superior than Marseille in their head-to-head meetings. They have won five times and drawn once in the last six encounters. Yet, Dmitri Payet and Co have been unbeaten in their last five home matches of Ligue 1.
Their match would be an unusual reunion for Rudi Garcia as he was Marseille’s boss for three years. Sadly, he failed to neither win any trophy nor qualify to any European competition this year. In this game, he would have an opportunity to trash the host if Memphis Depay was not sidelined. Therefore, a draw would be fair for both teams unless Villas-Boas could stun the visitor with his new tactical approach or formation.
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