Marseille back to winning ways ahead of Amiens trip
Olympique de Marseille make the 900 kilometre journey north to Amiens SC with a decidedly southern recent trajectory in the Ligue 1 Conforama table…
Amiens SC - Olympique de Marseille
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Coach Rudi Garcia is happy the club have turned a corner after beating Konyaspor in the UEFA Europa League, though.
Rami's welcome winner
Marseille begin the day in tenth, one point and three places better off than their hosts, but back-to-back defeats to AS Monaco and Stade Rennais FC - to the tune of nine goals conceded and just two scored - had set nerves jangling on the Côte d'Azur. Adil Rami's headed winner against Turkish outfit Konyaspor on Thursday left OM top of Europa League Group K, though, and Garcia is optimistic.
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"That was the right answer: to win," he said as his post-match press conference. "The players were perhaps a bit tense at first, but you have to be hungry, and they were. Now there's a match in Amiens, which comes quickly, Sunday at 15:00. We will go there to recover points we've lost at home."
Payet back to his best?
It would be premature to describe Marseille's "Champions Project" as being back on track, but the return to form and match fitness of club captain Dimitri Payet is positive. The France midfielder was everywhere against Konyaspor, and sent in the cross for Rami's goal. "[He] has been absent for a long time", said Garcia. "But he needs the pace of competition and his influence increased during the match."
It will be some time yet before Kostas Mitroglou gets on the end of Payet deliveries into the box, though. The Greece striker, signed in the summer from Benfica, has a thigh injury and isn't expected to be back until next Sunday's meeting with Toulouse FC at the earliest. Patrice Evra, who missed the game on Thursday, is expected to slot back in at left-back behind Payet, though.
Kakuta on fire
Amiens have enjoyed their own resurgence already. Two short weeks ago Christophe Pélissier's men were 20th; OM fifth. But consecutive wins over OGC Nice and RC Strasbourg Alsace have lifted Les Licornes into 13th, two points clear of the drop zone. Former Chelsea man Gaël Kakuta got the winner against Strasbourg, and now has two goals in his first four games for the club.
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"It's a precious success," said Pélissier of the win at the Stade de la Meinau. "We were timid in our first three games of the season. We were naïve and the warning lights were flashing, but today we proved that we're capable of getting results on our travels and we rediscovered the DNA from last season."
No Bodmer, no problem
Promoted behind Strasbourg last season, Amiens' recent performances have been all the more impressive considering they picked up six points without the help of summer signing Mathieu Bodmer. The midfielder - a Ligue 1 Conforama champion with Olympique Lyonnais in 2008 - has a calf injury. Guessouma Fofana (broken leg) and Sekou Baradji (knock) join him on the sidelines.
Amiens: Gurtner; El Haijam, Adenon, Gouano, Dibassy; Zungu, Monconduit; Gakpé, Kakuta, Nathan; Konaté