Since coach Anigo took over Marseille we could see a clear change in attitude. The system remained the same but players are more dedicated and make extra efforts.
Unfortunately for Marseille they are still without 2 key offensive players, Andre Ayew and Valbuena. [restrict paid=true level=1] In these conditions Marseille start with 3 defensive minded central midfielders, Lemina, Romao and Imbula. But someone has to compensate for the absence of Valbuena and none of the 3 mentioned central midfielders are able to do it alone. As a consequence all 3 of them transform from defensive midfielders to attacking midfielders, leaving fellow defenders to deal by themselves with incoming danger.
As a paradox Marseille is more offensive and in the same time conceded more goals since attacking midfielder Valbuena is injured. Just look at Marseille’s last 4 games, they conceded 7 goals and also scored 7 goals, a ratio of 1.75 goals per game, both scored and conceded, way over Marseille’s average so far this season.
Keeper Mandanda is injured and coach Anigo made it very clear that 19 years old Samba will start in goal (a debutant).
Reims’ display last round was simply amazing (won 4-1 over Ajaccio). It is true the opponent was less that average, but even so, Ajaccio were concentrated on defending and Reims still managed to find the net 4 times, something that Monaco for instance failed to achieve.
Especially impressive was striker Charbonnier who netted 2 volleys and finished the first part of the season in style and high confidence. To be honest I never gave much credit to striker Charbonnier but it seems he’s got qualities that can decide the fate of a game.
Reims will miss suspended central midfielder Albaek, while key defensive midfielder Krychowiak is doubtful. Just like Marseille, Reims play with 3 central midfielders who are focused mostly on the defensive phase. Missing Albaek and especially Krychowiak will affect Reims’ 1st line of defense.
Most probably they will play with Devaux – Peuget – Oniangue in central midfield (if Krychowiak won’t play). Devaux is slow, Peuget lacks many attributes needed for Ligue1, and Oniangue is offensive minded.
In these conditions, Marseille with fast and talented Payet and Thauvin on the wings can surely score at least once. But so can Reims, since all of Marseille’s central midfielders will concentrate more on attacking, and a 19 years old debutant will be keeper.
The odds on over 2.5 goals are incredibly high. We can even get a line for over 2 goals (money back if just 2 goals are scored) at around 1.70 which is pure gold.[/restrict]