Marseille Vs. Manchester United 23rd

What will the result be in the first Leg on the 23rd?

  • Marseille

    Votes: 15 30.0%
  • Draw

    Votes: 9 18.0%
  • Manchester United

    Votes: 26 52.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


19th Title Here we Come
Apr 10, 2009
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Marseille Vs. Manchester United
Wednesday 23rd February 2011


The Champions League 2nd Round continues next week with French giants Marseille hosting Manchester United in the 1st leg at the Stade Velodrome. The French Champions closed the gap on leaders Lille with a 2-1 victory over Saint-Etienne on Saturday but were left to count the cost of the victory after the losing all three front men to injuries during the game. Sir Alex Ferguson had the luxury of resting his stars for the game against Crawley Town in the FA Cup, a game which the Red Devils narrowly won 1-0 thanks to a Wes Brown goal. The teams last met in the Group stage back in 1999 with United winning the home game 2-1 while L'OM overturned the then defending Champions 1-0 in the reverse fixture. United have a great record away from home in the Champions League, winning nine of the last ten matches but Marseille have developed into a formidable outfit under the tutelage of Didier Deschamps, as Chelsea can vouch for after losing 1-0 at the Stade Velodrome earlier this season. Therefore expect a typically tactical European battle with pyrotechnics lurking in the background.


Didier Deschamps's Marseille have been resurgent since the turn of the year and have closed the gap on leaders Lille to just three points. The defending Ligue 1 Champions started the season poorly as they struggled to fit in new recruits Loïc Rémy and André-Pierre Gignac. The pair, bought at a combined price of £26 million, struggled to make an impact early but have turned a corner following a tactical switch by Deschamps. Gignac's failure to lead the line forced the Manager to move him wide and the striker has responded with five goals in as many games. His goals have coincided with Marseille best run of form which has seen them lose only once since early December.

But Marseille's strength lies in midfield where the likes of Mathieu Valbuena, Benoît Cheyrou and Lucho González have forged a formidable central midfield trio. Valbuena has caught the eye of big clubs across Europe with impressive performances this season and has even been linked with United after receiving high praise from Eric Cantona. The Frenchman's guile is augmented by the physicality of Lucho Gonzalez. The Argentine was the star of the team's title triumph last season with powerful performances at the heart of midfield.

Marseille's biggest worry at the moment is the fitness of their front three. Brandao, Remy and Gignac hobbled off at different points at the weekend leaving a huge hole in their attack. Gignac is expected to be out for a few weeks with a groin strain while Remy and Brandao might recover from their ankle injuries in time for the game on Wednesday. Marseille need their best attackers to break open United's stern defence and in their absence, their hopes of defeating the English giants have further diminished.

Manchester United

A much-changed United side struggled past lowly Crawley Town in the FA Cup on Saturday and truth be told were lucky to walk away with the victory. In line with quite a few off-colour performances this season, they lacked the endeavour and verve associated with Manchester United. This season has shone a bright light on the inherent resilience within the club. Here we are at the start of the final third of the season and United are fighting for honours in the three biggest competitions.

The Red Devils have been at their parsimonious best so far this campaign, conceding just one goal during the Group Stage. The consistency offered by the partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic provides a strong platform for the rest of the team to go out and express themselves. Ferguson has had to deal with an untimely injury to Ferdinand, who will be a huge miss in this vital away game in Europe. But the English Captain's loss has been greatly alleviated by the arrival of Chris Smalling. The England youth international had a blinder against Manchester City, blanking out Carlos Tevez with utmost grace and skill. The 21-year old has the natural ability to replace Ferdinand in the long run and along with Jonny Evans could be a part United's central defence for years to come.

Ferguson prefers a 4-5-1 formation for the big games and as was evident for long periods in the game against Manchester City, the side will need to work on the formation in training. Wayne Rooney, his stupendous goal notwithstanding, had an average game and was isolated for too long. The formation works only if runners from midfield, say Anderson or Darren Fletcher, make regular forays into the box. In Dimitar Berbatov's absence, United struggle to hold the ball up field and depend heavily on Nani to pull the central defenders wide, thus opening up spaces for the midfielders to make runs into the box. This brings us to the subject of Nani. The Portuguese has been in inspirational form this season, scoring 10 goals and setting up 13. The winger's rise to prominence is evident from the fact that United have lost only one of the last 47 games in which he has started, the 2-1 loss at Wolves a few weeks back, and the Red half of Manchester will hope he can translate his great domestic form to the pastures of Europe.

Form Guide:

Marseille: WWWDW

19th Feb, 2011: Marseille 2-1 St Etienne
12th Feb, 2011: Sochaux 1-2 Marseille
5th Feb, 2011: Marseille 1-0 Arles
30th Jan, 2011: Monaco 0-0 Marseille
19th Jan, 2011: Auxerre 0-2 Marseille

Manchester United: WWLWW

19th Feb, 2011: Man Utd 1-0 Crawley (FA Cup)
12th Feb, 2011: Man Utd 2-1 Manchester City
5th Feb, 2011: Wolves 2-1 Man Utd
1st Feb, 2011: Man Utd 3-1 Aston Villa
29th Jan, 2011: Southampton 1-2 Man Utd (FA Cup)

Probable Line Ups:

Marseille (4-3-3): Mandanda, Fanni, Diawara, Mbia, Heinze, Cisse, Valbuena, Lucho, Kabore, Remy, A. Ayew

Didier Deschamps will be forced to make changes to his side in light of the aforementioned injuries. The coaching staff are hopeful that Remy and Brandao can recover from their ankle knocks in time to lead the attack and they are expected to be partnered by André Ayew. Valbuena hasn't played since picking up an injury in January and in his absence, Marseille are expected to flood he midfield with defensive prowess. Benoît Cheyrou has been a mainstay alongside Gonzalez in midfield while Deschamps has the option of choosing between Edouard Cissé and Charles Kabore to complete the three-man midfield. The defence is also packed with physically imposing players with Souleymane Diawara and Stéphane M'Bia competing in central defence while former United full back, Gabriel Heinze should start at left back.

Manchester United (4-5-1): Van der Sar, Rafael, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Scholes, Carrick, Nani, Fletcher, Rooney, Berbatov

United have no new injury worries going into the game and should start with their strongest available eleven. Ferguson made eight changes to his side for the game against Crawley, hence should have his stars refreshed and rejuvenated for the start of a series of four consecutive away games. Edwin van der Sar will start in goal while Smalling and Vidic will pair up in central defence. Patrice Evra should slot in at left back while Rafael and John O'Shea will fight it out for the right back slot. It remains to be seen if Ferguson goes for pace & energy or calmness & composure in midfield. Possession is invaluable away from home in Europe and this might mean a place in the starting line up for Michael Carrick alongside certain starters Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher. Up front, Ryan Giggs and Nani should play down the wings with Rooney expected to get the nod ahead of Dimitar Berbatov down the centre.

Your Views on the Match?

Im going for a 1-0 win to United with Nani grabbing the goal.

Confirmed Lineups


Fanni Diawara Kabore Heinze
M'Bia Cisse Lucho
Ayew Remy Brandao

Manchester United

Van Der Sar
O'Shea Vidic Smalling Evra
Fletcher Gibson Carrick
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Nice OP different to the usual OP's

I say 2-1 Man Utd

I hope 1-0 Marseille
Marseille will win 2-1 in the first leg but Utd will win 2-0 in the 2nd leg.
Amazing op.

Man U will win both legs 0-1 away 2-1 home
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Simmed this on FIFA 11, United to win the home leg 1-0, Marseille to win their home leg 1-0, penalties decides it.
Heard Marseille's 3 strikers are out injured. If so i think we will nick it 1-0 or 2-0.
@ JK - Size difference in logos much? What are you trying to say there? ;)

I'd say United 1-0.
i like how the united badge is so much bigger, like its about to smack the Marseilles one around

Anyways OM are a great team, so im expecting a 0-1 to united or a 1-1 draw
Anderson is injured and could be out for 2 months. Felt bad for Ando. Everytime he looks settled, he gets injured.. Hope we dont miss him..
1-1 Berbatov score 1st goal, Lucho Gonzalez to score from a penalty
Leaving to go to this game in 30mins :D. I would take a draw tbh
I think it would be a draw, but hopefully we'll win :D.

Now that Nani is our only good natural winger at the moment who is going to Marseille, I'm guessing SAF will put Rooney on a wing and Berbatov as the lone striker... After the game against Crawley, I doubt he's start Bebe or Obertan
2-0 win for United. Rooney getting both goals in 2nd half.

Also JK, Giggs isn't playing so may need to update it abit.

Now that Nani is our only good natural winger at the moment who is going to Marseille, I'm guessing SAF will put Rooney on a wing and Berbatov as the lone striker... After the game against Crawley, I doubt he's start Bebe or Obertan

If Ferguson does the away formation again, then yeah probably do this.
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Heinze regrets Ferguson fallout.

Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze has expressed his regret over his acrimonious exit from Manchester United ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 clash between his current and former sides.

The Argentine, now 32, was displaced as the Red Devils' left-back by Patrice Evra and Sir Alex Ferguson subsequently refused to sell him to Liverpool.

In the event, Heinze quit Old Trafford in 2007 to join Real Madrid but now happy at Marseille he is quick to hail Ferguson as a "major influence" on him.

Heinze said: "I don't have many regrets from my career as a footballer but that episode with Ferguson has to be one of them.

"I'm impulsive and strong-willed and this has got me into trouble at times, which was the case at the time when I left United. On reflection, it is easy to see that Ferguson was a major influence on my career, in a positive way.

"Sir Alex makes every player he comes into contact with so much more driven and committed. He demands his players dig as deep for the cause and I'm sorry that we fell out in the final days because I still have so much respect for him.

"I cannot wait for the chance to go back onto the pitch at Old Trafford because this is the most special club of all, and I include Real Madrid in this list."

Hope no one gets offended by this interview.
Why would you get offended?