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Tomorrow, on January 15th, two matches will inflame passions all around the world. Two big games that ensure lots of goals will spoil footballs fans for choice. In Milan, Italy, one of the oldest and most hateful derbies in the world will take place: AC Milan vs Inter Milan. Meanwhile at the same time, 522km further in France, Olympique Marseille and LOSC Lille will play a fiery north-south stunner.
I don’t know yet which match I will watch, as already said we’re all spoilt for choice. But I seriously think I am going to watch the top match of the Ligue 1 because it’s an interesting and exciting game in an even more enthralling league. Furthermore, since this article is going to be a preview of that match, I should watch it to write a review about it as well on Monday.
In the current season Marseille and Lille have already played each other twice. Once Marseille won in a fabulous 5:4 win in the French Super Cup (Trophéé des champions) and in the league game on the fourth matchday Lille won 3:2 in another amazing thriller. Those games always engender loads of goals and matches such as those always perfectly show how amazing French football actually is.
OM vs LOSC won’t only bring us lots of goals but also kind of a preliminary decision about the future French starters in the Champions League. Marseille is only 6th because of a horrible start in the season. They even temporary stood on one of the relegation places after a few match days. At the moment the Southern French club is 9 points behind the leader, Paris Saint-Germain and 5 points behind their next opponent, Lille. Lille is only 4 points behind PSG and has had a great, never-seen (in the history of the club) run of 17 consecutive matches without any lost until last Wednesday when they lost 1:2 against Olympique Lyon in the French cup.
Especially Marseille’s players are under huge pressure because with a lost they would be at least 8 points behind a starting place for the Champions League, a competition that is highly needed in the Mediterranean city to clear debts and to be able to finance their quite expensive team. They could even fall back on the 8th place of the championship which would be a disgrace for their proud fans. Also, Didier Deschamps, their manager could be sacked as a consequence of that loss. But I honestly don’t think this will happen in case of a defeat against LOSC because actually Marseille has finished very well in 2011, they have reached the round of 16 in the Champions League and are close to the international starting places. With a win though, Marseille could tops be 5th after this matchday.
Lille, 3rd at the moment, better have to win as well because in case of a defeat, Lyon who are only 1 point behind them could pass them by. Furthermore, if PSG wins tonight against Toulouse and LOSC loses in Southern France, the title would recede into distance for the Northern French team because they’d be 7 points behind the Parisians then. They don’t have to worry that much about the runner-up, Montpellier, though because those are playing against Lyon. A draw in that match would be perfect for Lille and with a win against OM, Eden Hazard’s team could be on the second place if Montpellier draws or loses against Lyon.
The tactics of both teams are pretty different. Whilst Marseille is rather defensively-minded, Lille’s manager Rudi Garcia loves the beautiful game and his team is always playing forward in a 4-3-3 formation. Marseille has tried many different tactical formations such as the 4-3-3 and the 4-4-2 but Didier Deschamps’ team mostly played in a 4-2-3-1. They have played their best matches with this formation and also won 3:0 in the Clasico against Paris Saint-Germain which was probably their best game in this season and a tactical chef d’oeuvre.
Marseille is very strong on set-pieces, they haven’t conceded any goal after those and their forward line has already scored 12 goals with headers, which makes them to the best heading team in Europe!
Lille who have many young and talented players have more possession of the ball a game than any other French team: 60%! Furthermore they have already gotten 18 points after they had been down which is really impressive for such a young and unexperienced team.
Possible starting line-ups:
Olympique Marseille: Mandanda – Morel, N’Koulou, M’Bia, Azpilicueta – Diarra, Cheyrou – Valbuena, Lucho, Amalfitano – Rémy (4-2-3-1)
As always, the number 2 of the French national team, Steve Mandanda will try to keep a clean sheet. He’ll be supported by a strong defense among which N’Koulou has to play with a new partner in the central defense because Souleymane Diawara has travelled to the CAN (Africa Cup) with Senegal. But according to the players, Nicolas N’Koulou and Stéphane M’Bia harmonize very well. In the defensive midfield, Alou Diarra who is also an important player for the French national team is trying to organize the game even though he has had some problems to adapt to the new team after his signing in summer. In the forward line, two other very important players, André and Jordan Ayew (Jordan is rarely part of the starting line-up) have travelled with Ghana to the CAN and André will probably be replaced by Lucho Gonzalez, the Argentinian central midfielder who has played some great matches in this season. Mathieu Valbuena and Morgan Amalfitano will play on the wings. Both have already given 11 assists (9 by Valbuena, 2 by Amalfitano). Amalfitano has signed in Marseille in summer and was able to bowl André-Pierre Gignac, the French international out on the right wing. Loïc Rémy is the unquestioned first striker because of 13 goals and 5 assists in 28 matches for Marseille in the current season.
LOSC Lille: Landreau – Béria, Chedjou, Rozehnal, Bonnart – Mavuba, Pedretti, Balmont – Hazard, Jelen, Payet (4-3-3)
Mickaël Laundreau will be in the starting line-up again after he was sidelined in the French cup against Lyon. He’ll have an almost fully new organized defense to deal with because Mathieu Debuchy was sent off against Lyon and has to be replaced by the 28 year old Franck Béria. Furthermore David Rozehnal, a former HSV player, will replace the injured Marko Basa who came in summer and has been pretty good in the first leg of the season. Laurent Bonnart who was responsible for the two goals conceded against Lyon will defend as left full-back. Rio Mavuba, the captain and indispensable defensive midfielder will organize LOSC’s actions. Benoît Pedretti who just signed in summer and Florent Balmont will help him. The forward line is one of the best in France thanks to the Belgian super star Eden Hazard, the Polish center-forward Ireneusz Jelen and Dimitri Payet who came in summer from St. Etienne.
I think Marseille will win tomorrow 4:2 because they are more experienced and Lille has to play with a new and quite weak defense. Both forward lines are very strong and so we’ll see many goals. Furthermore Marseille as well as Lille have to lose but also to win a lot and thus they will be dedicated to win this big match.
Who do you think will win? Please vote the poll below this article!🙂
Thank you a lot for reading this!🙂 Ratings, votes and comments are always desired.😉
UPDATE: Franck Béria won’t be able to play tomorrow either. Bonnart will defend on the right wing and Pape Souaré or Lucas Digne will be the Lille’s full-back then.