Coupe de France 2017 32emes – Sunday Part I
The epic five part 32emes, directed by Peter Jackson, continues this afternoon with part IV: A Faint Hope, featuring six matches, including two all-Ligue 1 clashes, a historical grudge match, and a reorganisation from yesterday.
These matches are available on France 3 for French IPs, with TFC v OM the headline match but the others available online and also by region on TV.
Toulouse (L1) – Marseille (L1)
This game brings together two teams in contrasting form. Toulouse have only two wins in nine and are at risk of ruining their good start to the season. Last year’s cup runners up, Marseille travel to the Stade Municipal with only two losses in their previous nine league games and have been making steady, consistent progress up the division.
Toulouse should be able to welcome back promising young defender Issa Diop to help tighten up what has been a slightly shaky defence of late. In terms of creativity and goal threat, they will look to their Scandinavian trio of Jimmy Durmuz, Ola Toivonen and Martin Braithwaite to return to form. The latter is their top scorer but without a goal since early November.
Under Rudi Garcia and new ownership, Marseille look to be getting their groove back. They’ve won their last four league games and appear to be getting the best out of the likes of Yohann Pele, Florian Thauvin and Bafetimbi Gomis, although they’ll have to cope without the latter who is suspended for this fixture. Marseille have also unearthed a real starlet in midfielder Maxime Lopez and his positive, youthful exuberance has been just what the club need.
Garcia won this tournament with Lille back in 2011 and will see another success this year as the perfect way to endear him further with the Marseille fans. Even without the direct goal threat of Gomis, a win for Marseille looks the most likely outcome here.
Lorient (L1) – Nice (L1)
It’s Ligue 1’s bottom side versus the leaders in this fixture however while all instincts suggest a simple win for Nice, it’s not quite that straightforward. The main reason for this is down to the number of players missing for Nice. Both Mario Balotelli and Younes Belhanda are suspended following their red cards against Bordeaux, and Jean-Michael Seri is with the Ivory Coast side for the African Cup of Nations. The Nice injury list then contains the likes of Yoan Cardinale, Paul Baysse and Dante. With their tight defence proving so key to their success this season, the loss of Cardinale and Dante could prove crucial. Saying that, they can still call upon the revelation that is Malang Sarr. Going forward, top scorer Alassane Plea and Wylan Cyprien will be the obvious danger men.
While those losses may give Lorient a tiny bit more hope than they might have previously had, it’s still tough to see them prevailing here. Going into the winter break off the back of a thumping from PSG won’t have helped. Lorient also have key players missing with Majeed Waris and Benjamin Moukandjo out, who have contributed 11 of Lorient’s 20 goals in the league. A lot will rest therefore on veteran Jeremie Aliadiere (45 minutes of action this season, no goals) and Benjamin Jeannot (74 minutes of action this season, one red card, a lengthy suspension, no goals and a public wish to leave the club).
On second thoughts therefore, perhaps a Nice win is still the obvious outcome!
RC Lens (L2) – FC Metz (L1)
Lens (third in Ligue 2) face Metz, who are reeling after the LFP’s decision to dock them two points which, in this writer’s totally unbiased opinion, reeks of absolutely disgraceful double-standards and mistreatment of the smaller clubs, after the thrown flare vs Lyon (who, you’ll recall, experienced their fans throwing dozens of flares during a match last year, which caused a steward to lose two fingers; points deduction: ZERO). The two teams have previous of course, Lens (another club whom the LFP seem consistently to treat with kid gloves) beating Metz to the 1998 title and the 1999 Coupe de la Ligue. Metz are in a real post-flare-throw funk; that, allied to the fact that their fans are banned from attending, makes Lens favourites despite their lower league status.
Clermont Foot (L2) – Bordeaux (L1)
Clermont have rolled over two DH sides winning 5-0 and 6-0, and are mid-table in Ligue 2 as they welcome a Bordeaux who were having a bit of a blip up to Christmas, dropping to 10th in Ligue 1 and with no wins in five. They also have a league cup quarter-final on Wednesday against Guingamp to deal with, which seems to be holding Jocelyn Gourvennec’s attention as he is resting several players including top-scorer (but not by much) Diego Rolan, even though several other players are out injured, ill, or suspended (Jérémy Ménez). Clermont have a couple of regulars unavailable but otherwise Corinne Diacre has been able to name a full squad. Bordeaux are favourites but the Ligue 2 side will be a tricky proposition, and a home win would not be a very big surprise.
Auxerre (L2) – Troyes (L2)
The all-Ligue 2 clash of the day still feature quite a difference in standings as sixth-place Troyes travel to 19th-place Auxerre. The home side have had a better time of it in the cup, however, beating two DH sides 4-1 away, while the visitors have beaten two DHR sides 2-0, which required double-checking to make sure I hadn’t just read the eight-round results twice.
Auxerre are slight favourites with the bookies, but given that they have only scored 14 in the league while ESTAC’s Adama Niane tops the scoring charts with eleven all by himself, you wouldn’t place that bet with much confidence. Niane was picked up on a free from Nantes reserves in the summer, by the way, and so is also only one goal behind his club formateur. It was 1-1 when they met in the league in game 18 (at Troyes) so the prospects for prolongation seem high.
Also playing, moved from yesterday: Sainte-Geneviève Sports (CFA2) vs SM Caen (L1)