Ligue 1 Preview: Neck-and-neck combat between Valenciennes and Marseille

Updated: August 22, 2013
Olympique Marseille's Gignac celebrates with teammate Valbuena after scoring against OGC Nice during Ligue 1 match in Nice

Valenciennes (Les Athéniens) and Marseille (Les Phocéens) debuted in the Ligue 1 new season with striking finishes. The former outdid Toulouse 3-0 in a fever-hot battle at the Stade du Hainaut; while the latter brought Guingamp to their knees 3-1 after two goals from Les Phocéens’ Dimitri Payet ensured his side’s victory. While Marseille continued their Ligue 1 campaign with a success in their second match (against Evian TG 2-0), Les Athéniens fell a little short of tactics to dominate their subsequent Ligue 1 tourney (versus Bastia 0-2). Valenciennes and Marseille are now headed for their third appearance in the tournament, and they will be pitted against each other on August 24 at the former’s home court.


The sides’ skills set

Valenciennes and Marseille both have their own strategies when playing in the pitch, attracting an array of supporters who show their support for their favorite teams via online betting or loud cheering. Les Athéniens are skilled in attacking set pieces as well as in aerial duels. Les Phocéens are excellently trained in creating chances through individual skills and in finishing scoring opportunities. The sides, however, are fragile in other aspects. For Valenciennes, keeping an eye of the ball and defending against attacks down the wings are two of their weaknesses. Marseille are not that well-versed when it comes to avoiding offside as well moderately keen at veering away from fouling in dangerous areas. Both sides have to improve their weaker faculties, and use their strengths to silence their opponents.


Who will come out victorious?

Valenciennes perform better when playing as home, as seen in the four wins they had in their five most recent home matches. Marseille, meanwhile, seem to confuse spectators as to which set-up do they perform best. Of their five latest away battles, they have won twice, defeated twice as well, and delivered a draw once. Current League standings place Les Phocéens at number three (with zero defeats, thus far), while Les Athéniens sit on the sixth spot (one win, one defeat). The match will probably come out even, but if not, Marseille might bring home the bacon in a steep 3-2 final tally.


Marseille | Image source: