Hexagoal Ligue 1 Trophy

Can Sainté end 40 years of hurt in Marseille?

Publish on 30/08/2019 at 11:30


August 10, 1979 was the day Michael Jackson released Off the Wall. That same day, Saint-Etienne won 5-3 away to Olympique de Marseille but, remarkably, they have not won at the Vélodrome in the 40 years since.

 Olympique de Marseille  -  AS Saint-Etienne 

Back then, Michel Platini, Johnny Rep and Dominique Rocheteau were all among the scorers for Les Verts. In the four decades since, Saint-Etienne have failed to claim a victory in 25 subsequent visits to face Marseille in the top flight, most recently losing 2-0 there back in March. 

OM will therefore be confident of taking all three points and building on their first win of this campaign, Wednesday's 2-1 triumph away to Mediterranean derby rivals OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera. Dimitri Payet's penalty proved the decisive goal after Darío Benedetto had earlier given the visitors the lead.

"We didn't start well, but we have won in Nice after 10 days of rest. Now we need to focus on Saint-Etienne, which will be an intense match. If we have seven points going into the international break that will be good," said André Villas-Boas after overseeing his first Ligue 1 Conforama victory as a coach.

It was also a special night for Benedetto, with the 29-year-old Argentine forward claiming his first goal since his summer move from Boca Juniors.

Watch: Villas-Boas gets first Marseille win

"I am very happy - happy to have scored but above all because of the performance of the team," Benedetto said after the game. "We played well against a good side who fought well and fortunately we came away with the three points. It is always important for a forward to score goals. In my case I'm pleased because it is something I needed to boost my confidence. I am feeling better and better all the time."

Cabaye arrives

He was one of only two summer signings to have arrived at the Orange Vélodrome for the start of the season, with the other being Spanish defender Álvaro González, recruited on loan from Villarreal CF. However, the last week has seen sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta busy trying to do a deal for FC Nantes midfielder Valentin Rongier, while Luiz Gustavo was only a substitute against Nice amid moves from Fenerbahçe to take the Brazilian to Turkey.

Watch: Saint-Etienne punished by Lille

Saint-Etienne made a midfield signing of their own in midweek, with experienced French international star Yohan Cabaye penning a one-year deal at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard after leaving Dubai side Al-Nasr. A double winner with Lille in 2011, he returns to Ligue 1 for the first time since leaving Paris Saint-Germain for Crystal Palace in 2015.

"Last season the club qualified for Europe after fighting for third place until the very end. This season, with the league, the cups and the Europa League, there is so much to look forward to. I am so proud to join a such a legendary club. I hope we get good results. It's a new adventure for me," said Cabaye, who won the last of his 48 caps at Euro 2016, coming off the bench when France beat Germany 2-0 in the semi-finals in Marseille.

Cabaye is just the latest accomplished international to join Les Verts, following the likes of Yann M'Vila and his friend Mathieu Debuchy. He joins a team in need of a boost after Ghislain Printant's side suffered a 3-0 defeat at LOSC in midweek which left them level with Marseille with four points from three outings.

Heading into the international break, now would be an ideal time to end their miserable record in this fixture.

Probable teams

Marseille: Mandanda (c); Sakai, Kamara, González, Amavi; Lopez, Strootman, Sanson; Sarr, Benedetto, Payet

Saint-Etienne: Ruffier; Debuchy, Moukoudi, Perrin (c); Palencia, Aholou, M'Vila, Trauco; Boudebouz; Hamouma, Khazri