Marseille had their share of chances last round away at PSG, but in the end they had too much respect for the opponent and failed to score (lost 2-0).
Marseille was never really one of those teams that impressed through constant and aggressive domination. They are more the moderate type that are happy with holding possession and wait for the proper moment to strike. The offensive play is better than at the beginning of 2014 when Andre Ayew was out injured.
Now coach Anigo starts with only 1 defensive midfielder and this allow Marseille to create more opportunities, both in the center on the flanks. Maybe players haven’t re-adapted to this new formula, and need a bit more time to get things going.
The defense also looks better since central defender Diawara is only on the bench, as he was major liability. Once in a while fullbacks seem to be the only weakness (Fanni and Morel), but there are solid replacements for both of them in case they are overwhelmed (Dja DjeDje and Mendy on the bench are impressive players).
In order to avoid tiredness Marseille arranged private jets for the players involved in the midweek international games. It looks like everybody will make it in time for Thursday’s afternoon training.
The bad news is that striker Gignac will miss through suspension, and possible replacement Khelifa is still doubtful.
The good news is that opponents Nice are doing miserably now. They haven’t scored in 3 rounds and their attacking play is simply laughable. Crosses never find the target, through balls aren’t even in the menu anymore, and individual skills are no longer of use as they miraculously disappeared.
Key central defender Pejcinovic is still injured, so things aren’t looking any better in defense either.
Fullback Palun is suspended after getting a red card last round. He’s not even a decent player, but the only problem is that his replacement is Puel, coach’s son. It can be easily seen he is under pressure every-time on the field and tries hard to demonstrate he really earned his place in the line-up. Only that this attitude makes him prone to mistakes, and even cards. Their confidence is at a minimum level.
There’s a high possibility that captain Digard will miss once again because of injury.
It won’t be easy for Marseille without top-scorer Gignac, but they have what it takes to deal with hopeless Nice, especially on home ground.
Marseille -1 (with money back if they win just by 1) at 1.94, medium size bet.
UPDATE: Looks like Khalifa is fit for action.
Marseille: Mandanda (cap) – Fanni, Nkoulou, Mendes, J. Morel – Payet, Romao, Valbuena – A. Ayew – Thauvin, Khalifa
Nice: Ospina – G. Puel, Genevois, Bodmer, Kolodziejczak – N. Mendy, Abriel (cap.) – Pied, Eysseric, Bauthéac – Cvitanich