Friday, April 17, 2015

FC Nantes vs Olympique Marseille - Competition: French Ligue 1

FC Nantes team return home after losing on the road to ASSE last time out. The hosts have been woeful on the road of late, and though they did statistically out-shoot and out-possess the Greens on Sunday, they will be eager to get back to the friendly confines of the Stade de la Beaujoire. At home, the Canaries have accumulated 24 of their total 40 points and have gone unbeaten there in 16 of their 20 competitive fixtures this season. Furthermore, they rank 6th in the French top-flight for least goals conceded at home (14 through 16 games), which is due in large part to the anchoring play of Papy Djilobodji and goalkeeper, Remy Riou. The Canaries also saw the returns of Bessat, Gomis, and Deaux last time out as manager Michel Der Zakarian begins to get a healthy squad once again. Zakarian and his band of marauders will take confidence into the weekend despite losing back-to-back games, as not only are they unbeaten in 8 of their last 10 competitive home games, but they have also gone unbeaten in 9 of their last 10 Ligue 1 home meetings against OM. 5 of those meetings ended in victory for Nantes, and while we don’t expect that to happen here, they should have enough to steal a crucial point in their pursuit of the top 10.
Olympique Marseille are seeing their title hopes dwindling away with just 6 French Ligue 1 matches remaining. At 5 points adrift PSG and sitting in 4th place, the Phocians need to get back to winning ways if they hope to get into the UCL places and possibly push for a late title challenge. The defending champions from Paris have seen their talisman Ibrahimovic suspended for the next 4 league games, and that has left the door open for an exciting chase to the French title. 6 teams can still realistically claim the pinnacle at season’s end, but manager Marcelo Bielsa will hope to see his troops at least finish in the top 3, knowing that overtaking PSG, OL, and AS Monaco in the table will be a monumental task. While the visitors’ schedule looks favorable outside a home clash with Monaco, history here says otherwise as they have failed to win 9 of their last 10 Ligue 1 away games against Nantes. They did conquer the Canaries 2:0 in the reverse fixture this season, but the hosts have been able to give them plenty of trouble at the Stade de la Beaujoire. Their last 2 meetings there have ended in 1:1 draws, and the hosts do an excellent job of frustrating opposing attacks with one of the better defensive records at home this season. However, OM should have enough to at least pick up a point here with Andre Ayew returning from suspension and Nicolas N’Koulou expected back from injury (questionable), though it appears they very well could be held in check once again by the feisty Canaries.

Probable lineups:
FC Nantes:  Riou – Cissokho, Vizcarrondo, Djilobodji, Veigneau – Hansen, Veretout – Gakpe, Bedoya, N’Koudou – Bammou.
Olympique Marseille:  Mandanda – Dja Djedje, Fanni, N’Koulou, Morel – Romao, Imbula – Ocampos, Thauvin, Ayew – Gigna.

Match date: 17-04-2015
Kick Off Time: 18:30 GMT
Venue: La Beaujoire (Nantes, France) 

 You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]


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