Marseille looking for reaction
By A. Scott
Olympique de Marseille coach Élie Baup wants his team to bounce back from their midweek Olympico mauling when they make the tricky trip to Brittany to take on Stade Brestois 29 on Sunday afternoon.
Stade Brestois 29 - Olympique de Marseille
There has been some serious soul-searching going on over the last couple of days on the south coast in the wake of OM's crushing 4-1 defeat at the hands of Lyon at the Stade Vélodrome on Wednesday. Baup's men were taken apart by a Bafétimbi Gomis hat-trick in that game as they suffered a first home defeat of the season in Ligue 1.
OM smarting from OL lesson
Having beaten LOSC Lille 1-0 last weekend, OM needed just a draw from the rescheduled Week 10 encounter with Rémi Garde's side to go clear at the top of the table again. However, they never really recovered after falling behind to a Gomis penalty in the third minute, and a miserable night was capped by the late sending-off of right-back Rod Fanni as they were relegated to third place.
Marseille are desperate to put that result behind them when they go to France's westernmost region. Lyon lost 3-0 in Toulouse just three days before recording their stunning win at the Vélodrome, and Baup is hoping his team can enjoy a similar turnaround in fortunes at the Stade Francis-Le Blé.
"It was a very difficult evening (against Lyon), because of the result but also because of the sending-off," said the former Bordeaux, Nantes and Toulouse coach. "Now we need to go and try to get a result at Brest. Lyon showed lots of pride to come back from their defeat at Toulouse and beat us. We need to take inspiration from them. What is important now is the points that we take between now and the winter break, and our ability to react."
However, OM could scarcely have asked for a tougher game than this one as they bid to get back on track. After all, Marseille have lost three of their last four games on the road in Ligue 1. In addition, Brest are a formidable prospect in front of their own fans and are yet to lose at the Stade Francis-Le Blé this season, winning five and drawing one of their six games there so far. Add in the fact that OM have never won on nine previous visits to Brest, including a 1-0 defeat in last season's corresponding fixture, and you get a good idea of what they are up against this weekend.
Brest find joy on the road at last
Brest have taken four points from their last two outings, following up a 3-0 home victory against SC Bastia with a 0-0 draw at Reims last Saturday, as they finally recorded a first point of the season on their travels at the eighth attempt. Coach Landry Chauvin spoke of a "bizarre feeling" after that result, saying: "We finally produced a performance on the road that is worthy of a real team. I am happy, but also disappointed not to have gained two more points on Reims."
The draw, in Chauvin's eyes, also allowed Brest to prepare for the visit of OM "with greater serenity." However, they started the weekend just three points above the relegation zone, and a side that does not tend to score many goals must do without top scorer Eden Ben Basat due to suspension. The Israeli has notched five of Brest's 14 league goals so far this season, and will be sorely missed. In addition, the fitness of Togolese attacker Jonathan Ayité has given Chauvin cause for concern. The 27-year-old, who has netted two league goals, and three in all competitions, has been struggling with a thigh problem.
Fanni, Gignac out
Marseille must do without the suspended Fanni, while their top scorer André-Pierre Gignac has still not recovered from a metatarsal fracture. At least Loïc Rémy finally netted his first league goal of the campaign in midweek, while Morgan Amalfitano is available again after serving a two-match suspension.
Baup has tended not to make sweeping changes to his team from one game to the next, and seven players have started every league match. He insisted tiredness was not an issue against Lyon despite sticking with the same team that beat Lille in their previous outing, but changes could be made here, and it remains to be seen whether Joey Barton keeps his place after being substituted at half time in the ill-fated Olympico.
Brest: Thébaux; Baysse, Martial, Kantari, Mendy; Sissoko; Touré, Chafni, Licka, Lesoimier; Benschop
Marseille: Mandanda; Abdallah, Diawara, N'Koulou, Morel; Barton, Cheyrou; Amalfitano, Valbuena, A.Ayew; J.Ayew