Although they won 3-1 Marseille had difficulties in converting their chances last round against Bordeaux. They clearly dominated for most of the game but had problems when trying to apply the finishing touch.
The goals that made the difference arrived late in the game, after a corner and a rebound following a long distance attempt. Marseille’s best player was undoubtedly Payet with two decisive assists and many key passes.
Hosts’ major weakness is down the flanks where fullbacks Djadjedje and Mendy are often caught on the wrong foot. There are also many errors coming from the two fullbacks. Last round for example Mendy lost an easy ball and they ended up conceding.
Hosts’ defensive potential will be improved with N’Koulou, Morel and Romao returning to the squad. On the other hand Marseille will once again miss midfielder Ayew who is doubtful.
Nantes usually play in a 4-5-1 system but last round we could see them in a classic 4-4-2 formula (0-0 against St Etienne). It was a somewhat weird choice, especially since it meant leaving in-form and talented winger Gakpe on the bench. His place in the lineup was taken by Israeli striker Schechter.
Schechter made a decent game but Nantes looked more stable after Gakpe entered in 2nd half as he was also involved in the defensive phase.
Left fullback Veigneau (captain) had a good performance, intercepted many balls, stopped a couple of dangerous actions and even took part in the attacking phase. But the other hand fullback Cissokho was very rigid and often outplayed. His direct opponent this round will be winger Thauvin and if Cissokho’s performance won’t improve Nantes are simply doomed.
Nantes will welcome back central midfielders Gomis and Hansen after suspension and they will definitely boost the defensive power.
Last week Marseille scored twice following long balls thrown inside the penalty box and after a rebound. It’s going to be difficult to apply the same strategy this round as Nantes have one of the best central defenses in Ligue1. Vizcarrondo and Djilobodji are always on high alert and man marking skills are really impressive. Marseille will dominate this encounter but it remains to be seen if they will find the net.
UPDATE: No surprises in the squads.
Marseille: S.Mandanda, B.Samba – Aloé, B.Dja Djedje, Fanni, Ben.Mendy, J.Morel, Nkoulou – Alessandrini, Barrada, Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Thauvin – Batshuayi, Gignac, Omrani, Payet
Nantes: Dupé, Ré.Riou – Alhadhur, I.Cissokho, Veigneau, Djilobodji, Vizcarrondo – Bedoya, Bessat, Deaux, Ré.Gomis, Hansen, Nkoudou, Veretout – Audel, Bammou, Gakpé, Shechte