Montpellier were a bit lucky to win last round away at Guingamp (2-1). Guingamp created the most dangerous actions and appeared to be the ones imposing the rhythm.
Montpellier had only a few opportunities and managed to score after an own goal and a well positioned shot of defensive midfielder Stambouli.
From a defensive point of view Montpellier were also a let down. The spaces between defenders were huge and both fullbacks and central defenders had disappointing performances. Fullbacks were often outplayed and as a consequence there were a lot of long balls inside the penalty area. Central defenders had bad positioning and were slow in interventions. If it would have been another club instead of Guingamp, Montpellier would have surely conceded more.
Montpellier will welcome back midfielder Marveaux after suspension but Deplagne will tale his place on the sidelines (suspended).
In-spite easily winning over Ajaccio (3-1) a major weakness was clearly visible in Marseille’s play, defending the right flank, where Dja Djedje was preferred instead of Fanni. He is talented but he only arrived at Marseille after the winter break, was injured for a couple of rounds and is yet to build playing relations with teammates. He is afraid of not making mistakes most of all and this has a negative impact on his performance.
Besides Dja Djedje, Marseille looked very good, especially Andre Ayew who managed to score a hat-trick. His confidence skyrocketed and will be of use for both building actions and applying the finishing touch.
Play-maker Valbuena started on the bench last round due to an injury and played for only 20 minutes. Most likely he will be in the lineup on Friday.
With the likes of Valbuena, Ayew and Gignac, Marseille can surely exploit the open spaces in Montpellier’s defense. Marseille DNB at 2.33
UPDATE: No surprises in the squads.
Montpellier: Pionnier, Jourdren – Congré, Hilton, Tiéné, El Kaoutari, Jebbour, Bocaly – J.Martin, Cabella, Sanson, Stambouli, J.Marveaux – Mounier, Mb.Niang, Aït Fana, So.Camara, Deza
Marseille: S.Mandanda, B.Samba – So.Diawara, Fanni, L.Mendes, B.Dja Djedje, Ben.Mendy, J.Morel, Nkoulou – Imbula, Lemina, A.Ayew, Valbuena, Be.Cheyrou, Romao – Payet, Gignac, Khalifa