Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Match Preview: Marseille v Man City

 Marseille are looking to halt a long run of Uefa Champions League defeats as they host Manchester City, who have never won in France. 

This is the first ever match between the teams and Marseille will be looking to bounce back quickly after conceding in added time to lose 1-0 at Olympiacos on Matchday 1. City also went behind in their opening fixture, but recovered to see off Porto 3-1 at the City of Manchester Stadium.



Marseille are making their tenth appearance in the UEFA Champions League group stage, but their first since 2013/14. Three of those previous nine campaigns have extended into the knockout rounds, including the inaugural edition in 1992/93 when OM became the first, and so far only, French side to win the European Cup.

Marseille most recently made the knockout stages in 2011/12, when they reached the quarterfinals.

Seven years ago, OM finished bottom of their group behind Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli, losing all six games.

Matchday 1 extended Marseille's losing run in the UEFA Champions League to ten matches. Their last success in the competition was a 1-0 home victory against Internazionale in the 2011/12 round of 16 first leg.

Second in Ligue 1 in 2019/20, Marseille are taking part in UEFA competition for the first time since 2018/19. Then they finished bottom of a UEFA Europa League section also including Eintracht Frankfurt, Lazio and Apollon Limassol with one point having lost five of their six matches.

Marseille are without a win in nine European matches, losing eight, since a 2-0 victory at home to Salzburg in the 2017/18 UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg. They went on to lose the second leg 2-1 but still progressed to the final, where they were beaten 3-0 by Atlético de Madrid in Lyon.

Marseille have finished outside the top two in their UEFA Champions League group in five of their last seven participations.

Marseille have lost their last three home European matches having won the previous four and eight of the previous nine (D1).

Marseille are without a win in their last six matches against English clubs (D2 L4), since a 1-0 home victory against Chelsea in December 2010. Most recently they lost home (1-2) and away (0-2) against Arsenal in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League group stage.

Marseille won their first six games at home to English visitors but that 2010 success against Chelsea is their sole win in the last six matches (D1 L4).


City finished second in the 2019/20 Premier League, ending the season 18 points behind Liverpool having won the title in each of the two previous campaigns.

Josep Guardiola's side bowed out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage for the third season running, going down 3-1 against OM's domestic rivals Lyon in their one-off tie in Lisbon.

City had finished first in their group with 14 points (W4 D2) before seeing off Real Madrid in the last 16, winning 2-1 away and at home against the 13-time European champions.

This is the Cityzens' tenth UEFA Champions League campaign; they have been involved in the group stage every season since 2011/12 and have reached the round of 16 in seven successive campaigns.

City have scored 38 goals in their last 14 UEFA Champions League matches; over the last two seasons their record is W14 D3 L3 with 54 goals scored and 22 conceded.

City's best UEFA Champions League performance was reaching the 2015/16 semifinals.

Guardiola's team have won seven of their last 11 away European matches (D2 L2), both defeats coming in England; the last away game they lost abroad was at Shakhtar (1-2) on Matchday 6 of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.

Defeat by Lyon in last season's quarter-finals made it four European games against French clubs without a win for City (D1 L3), since a 5-3 defeat of Monaco in the 2016/17 round of 16 first leg – a tie Guardiola's side lost on away goals after going down 3-1 in the away game.

City drew 2-2 at Lyon in the 2018/19 group stage. Their three away games against Ligue 1 opponents have produced two draws and one defeat – at Monaco.



Summer transfers

In: Pape Gueye (Le Havre), Leonardo Balerdi (Dortmund, loan), Yuto Nagatomo (Galatasaray), Luis Henrique (Botafogo), Mickaël Cuisance (Bayern, loan)

Out: Isaac Lihadji (LOSC Lille), Abdallah Ali Mohamed (Zulte Waregem, loan), Bouna Sarr (Bayern), Maxime Lopez (Sassuolo)

OM were 1-0 winners at Lorient on Saturday thanks to Balerdi's first strike for the club; the 21-year-old's only other professional goal came for Borussia Dortmund's second team in April 2019.

Marseille started the season with two victories, including a 1-0 success away to champions Paris Saint-Germain on 13 September, their first win against Paris since November 2011.

A 2-0 loss at the Stade Vélodrome against St-Étienne on 17 September – OM's first defeat at home to Les Verts since 1979 – was followed by draws in each of Marseille's next three fixtures.

Marseille had to wait until their fourth game at the Stade Vélodrome this season for their first home victory (D2 L1), a 3-1 defeat of Bordeaux 3-1 on 17 October.

Florian Thauvin scored in both of Marseille's first two league games of the season but had drawn a blank in four in a row before opening the scoring against Bordeaux.

The fixture against Bordeaux was André Villas-Boas's 400th as a coach.

Saif-Eddine Khaoui scored Tunisia's first goal in the 3-0 friendly win at home to Sudan on 9 October.


Summer transfers

In: Ferran Torres (Valencia), Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Rúben Dias (Benfica)

Out: Leroy Sané (Bayern), Nicolás Otamendi (Benfica), Jack Harrison (Leeds), David Silva (Real Sociedad), Claudio Bravo (Real Betis), Yeboah Amankwah (Rochdale, loan), Angeliño (RB Leipzig, loan), Tosin Adarabioyo (Fulham, loan)

City have taken eight points from their first five Premier League games of the campaign (W2 D2 L1); they were held 1-1 at West Ham on Saturday.

A 1-0 home win against Arsenal on 17 October was Josep Guardiola's 500th as a coach; he has now recorded 173 victories with City.

The Cityzens were beaten 5-2 at home by Leicester on 27 September, the first time they had conceded five goals at home since February 2003 against Arsenal.

It was also the first time a side managed by Guardiola had conceded five goals in a match, in his 686th game as a coach.

The 1-1 draw at Leeds in the following match, on 3 October, meant City had dropped points in successive Premier League games for the first time since December 2018.

City, who have won the English League Cup in each of the last three seasons, will visit Arsenal in the quarterfinals in the week beginning 21 December.

Kyle Walker won his 50th cap for England in the 2-1 UEFA Nations League win against Belgium at Wembley on 11 October.

Riyad Mahrez scored for Algeria in a 2-2 friendly draw against Mexico on 13 October.

Bernardo Silva scored Portugal's opening goal in the 3-0 UEFA Nations League win against Sweden on 14 October, João Cancelo setting up the second goal.

Sergio Agüero returned to action on 17 October having been out since 22 June with a knee injury. The Argentinian's penalty against Porto on Matchday 1 was his first goal since 4 March; that gap of 231 days between strikes is the longest of Agüero's career.

Agüero started at West Ham on Saturday but was withdrawn at half-time with a muscular injury. Gabriel Jesus has not played since picking up a thigh injury at Wolves on 21 September.

On 13 October, Kevin De Bruyne withdrew from the Belgium squad having been substituted in the second half against England two days earlier, while Aymeric Laporte has not played since 3 October; both returned to training on 22 October with De Bruyne coming on midway through the second half on Saturday.

Benjamin Mendy (knee) and Fernandinho are both facing a spell on the sidelines, the latter having limped off late on against Porto. Nathan Aké has missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Oleksandr Zinchenko made his first appearance of the season as a substitute at West Ham.


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