Coupe de France: Olympique de Marseille v Nice
The round of 32 draw has given us the second Derby de la Cote d’Azur of the season between Marseille and Nice. Having both knocked out Ligue 1 opposition in the previous round, the south coast clubs will be eager to claim the win – and with both sitting outside the top 4, they will see the tournament as possibly the best way to get back into Europe next season.
Marseille come into the match on the back of a mixed set of results to start their year. They needed extra time to defeat Reims in the previous round of the Cup, secured a narrow victory away to Evian in the league, and then suffered defeat in the Olympico against Lyon in the quarter finals of the Coupe de la Ligue. The weather caused their weekend game against Valenciennes to be postponed, meaning they haven’t played for nearly a week and will therefore head into the match the fresher of the two teams.
The key man for Marseille will be the goal-scoring prowess of Andre-Pierre Gignac. The number 9 has scored in each of the last 6 league and cup matches and has formed an excellent partnership with Florian Thauvin this season.
Nice are suffering from their own version of “second season syndrome”. After claiming a highly impressive 4th place finish last year, les Aiglons have struggled to maintain that form this term. One of the main reasons for this has been due to the injury to much underrated goalkeeper David Ospina. In his absence, Nice went on a club record run of 6 consecutive losses in Ligue 1. The club’s recent upturn in form along with Ospina’s return from injury has been no coincidence. They have only lost once in the last 7 games since Ospina returned, being the Coupe de la Ligue defeat to Nantes, which incidentally Ospina did not feature in.
Nice enjoyed the more impressive of the two sides’ last round victories with a 2-0 win in Nantes and while Marseille may have the fresher legs, it is the away side who are more in form. They also won the reverse league fixture back in October with their main goal-scorer Dario Cvitanich getting the only goal.
This should be a good game and with both teams looking for progression in the tournament, the only thing guaranteed is that we will be losing one of the big Ligue 1 teams from this year’s Coupe de France.