After the 1-0 defeat to Lyon, Marseille need to bounce back against Lens. Imbula will be crucial in driving OM forward on Sunday.
On Sunday night, Marseille look to get their championship charge back on track against RC Lens. If Marcelo Bielsa’s men are to do that they will need Chelsea target Gianelli Imbula to return to his early season form and push OM forward against an energetic opponent.
It was mixed fortunes for both sides last week, Marseille lost their first game in eight matches, Lyon’s 1-0 win stopping them recording a new club record, whereas Lens defied the odds to beat Toulouse away from home with what was a very young, extremely inexperienced side.
Marseille looked to lack ideas against Lyon and Bielsa will be hoping for more from the likes of Florian Thauvin, Dimitri Payet and his midfield dynamo Gianelli Imbula.
Right-back Brice Dja Djedje was injured during the game and with Alaixys Romao having to cover defensively, Imbula was asked to play a move defensive role. Something that hasn’t been asked of him this season. He wasn’t able to get forward as often and his ability to force the game was taken away.
Against Lens, Romao should be able to play for deeper lying midfield role, allowing Imbula to get forward and once again show why Chelsea have shown interest this season.
Marseille need to win this game ahead of Le Classique against Paris Saint-Germain next weekend, with Laurent Blanc’s side pulling within one point after the 2-1 win over Lorient on Saturday. Lens will be no pushovers though.
19-year-old goalkeeper Valentin Belon continues in goal. This will be a huge test, but when you’re first game in the league is a clean sheet, then why not think you can stop Andre-Pierre Gignac and Marseille away at the Stade Velodrome.
Coach Antoine Kombouare will hope to find some goals from Yoann Touzghar and Pablo Chavarria, both have struggled to adapt to life in Ligue 1. Another youngster, Benjamin Bourigeaud, was exceptional against Toulouse in the 2-0 win, this will be another chance for him to show why he is already highly regarded within the national team ranks.
Nothing to lose for Lens in front of a 60,000 crowd, but start slowly and the home fans will become nervous and vocal. It could make for a perfect end to this weekend in Ligue 1.