Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Can Marseille shake mental block without Payet?

Publish on 02/10/2019 at 20:30


Olympique de Marseille coach André Villas-Boas spoke of a mental block after his side's third consecutive draw, and they head to Amiens SC on Friday without influential captain Dimitri Payet.

 Amiens SC - Olympique de Marseille 


Not that things are going terribly for Les Phocéens and their Portuguese coach. Marseille could go second on Friday - for 24 hours at least - if they can win by four clear goals. OM have won each of their last four meetings with Amiens, but never by more than a two-goal margin.

Their case on Friday is not helped by the absences of Payet and fellow midfielder Kevin Strootman, the pair suspended following an accumulation of bookings, the latter getting his fourth yellow card in the 1-1 draw with Stade Rennais FC last Sunday.

Caleta-Car to the rescue

Dario Benedetto has been the hero for much of this season so far, bagging four Ligue 1 Conforama goals following his summer switch from Boca Juniors, but it was left to centre-back Duje Caleta-Car to cancel out M'Baye Niang's opener at the Orange Vélodrome.

Watch: Highlights of Marseille's 1-1 draw with Rennes

"It's my responsibility," said Villas Boas of his side's third consecutive draw. "We continue to blow it in the first half and then we have to work that much harder to get back into the game. We seemed mentally blocked tonight, maybe because of my choices. We'll see about that. I wanted to give my guys some confidence. And they played well; we deserved to get back into the game."

Villas Boas's options for rotation are limited, however. As well as being without Payet and Strootman, he has long-term injury concerns with Florian Thauvin and Alvaro Gonzalez nursing ankle and fibula problems respectively. Centre-back Boubacar Kamara is still banned.

Amiens head into their Week 9 encounter at the other end of the table, although there have been shoot of promise in Les Licornes' recent performances, the last of which saw them hold hitherto high-flying Angers SCO to a 1-1 draw at the Stade Raymond Kopa last Saturday.

Watch: Highlights of Amiens' 1-1 draw with Angers

Stiven Mendoza had given the visitors a first-half lead and although Rachid Alioui denied Luka Elsner's men all three points seven minutes from time, the coach was pleased with what he saw.

'Positive point'

"We're happy to have taken a point at Angers and in style," he said at his post-match press conference. "We were courageous and everybody played for each other. We're also a bit frustrated. I'm not saying it wasn't a fair result but there were moments when we could've taken our chances. That said, the point is a positive."

Amiens have a veritable laundry list of absentees. Serhou Guirassy has a knock and Moussa Konaté a thigh injury, so Mendoza is likely to lead the line once again. Further back, Christophe Jallet has a thigh injury and Prince-Désir Gouano a virus, while Saman Ghoddos is suspended.


Possible line-ups

Amiens: Gurtner; Calabresi, Chedjou, Dibassy, Aleesami; Gnahoré, Blin; Otero, Kakuta, Akolo; Mendoza

Marseille: Mandanda; Sakai, Perrin, Caleta-Car, Amavi; Lopez, Gustavo, Sanson; Sarr, Benedetto, Germain