Reims are looking better and better as round goes by. They fully deserved to win last week away at Lorient (1-0) even if in terms of possession they were clearly outplayed.
Two rounds ago coach Vasseur had enough of Tacalfred’s defensive errors and decided to replace him. Until that point Tacalfred used to be an undisputed regular regardless his performances in the field. The new central defense made from Conte (former fullback) and newly arrived Roberge looks very stable and confident.
Reims also improved the offensive phase, mainly thanks to Moukandjo who is constantly on the move and speeds up play.
Reims firmly stand ground when they defend and coherently build actions whenever they attack.
Good news as hosts will welcome back important midfielder Oniangue who was suspended last round.
If we look only at the final result we get the impression that Marseille had an easy game last week against Rennes (won 3-0). But especially in the first half there were many times when Marseille got cornered and barely escaped.
Although it’s only the beginning of the season Marseille went through many changes so far. Coach Bielsa changed the system twice (from 4 defenders to 3 and then back to 4) and it seems players got a bit disorientated. Especially fullbacks are the ones performing below standards. Mendy and DjaDjedje were often outplayed by Rennes’ wingers, and only thanks to the incredible form of central defender N’Koulou Marseille managed to keep a clean sheet.
Upfront Marseille don’t really have the ability to build fast paced actions in order to destabilize opponents, instead they rely on individual talent. This works for them as Payet and Gignac are in extraordinary form. For Gignac this is the best start of the season in his entire career as he scored 6 goals in 6 games.
The problem with this technique (relying on individual talent) is that it fails when they encounter organized and disciplined opponents, like Reims is nowadays. When this happens Marseille concentrate on delivering long balls from the flanks, but most the time they miss the target completely.
Neither side will rush upfront. This will be a game of waiting and the ones making the first mistake will end up losing the game.
UPDATE: No surprises in the squads
Reims: Agassa, Placide – Conte, Mandi, Signorino, Tacalfred, Mavinga, Roberge, C.Glombard – Albaek, Devaux, Bourillon, Oniangué, Fortes, Diego – Charbonnier, Courtet, Moukandjo, De Préville
Marseille: S.Mandanda, B.Samba – Fanni, B.Dja Djedje, Ben.Mendy, J.Morel, Nkoulou, Sparagna, Tuiloma – Alessandrini, Imbula, Lemina, Romao, Thauvin – A.Ayew, Batshuayi, Gignac, Payet, Porsan-Clemente