Round 16 of Ligue 1 brings us a mid-week card of fixtures as we near the winter break, and Chelsea target Gianelli Imbula will be hoping he can inspire Marseille to another victory and keep ahead of Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table.
Marseille take on FC Lorient at the Stade du Moustoir on Tuesday night, with the home side having won two-in-a-row, and looking to cause a shock against Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Imbula has been very impressive this season and from his rampaging runs forward, his ability to cover acres of ground with his long strides and his new found ability to find the back of the net, it is no wonder that Jose Mourinho has earmarked the 22-year-old as a potential signing.
During an interview with local French paper Dauphine Libre, the former Guingamp player explained the reasons for his improvement.
“I talk a lot with Bielsa. He gives me a lot of advice, as he does with many players. In individual video sessions, he explains what he likes, what he doesn’t like and what I have to do and what not to do.”
“I was happy last season too, but I went through a difficult period and especially as the results were not good. I am very demanding with myself. I knew I could do more. I also know that I can still do better.”
Encouraging words for fans of both Marseille and Chelsea.
Imbula should have his hands full this evening as Bielsa changes the system to take on Lorient. The home side play 4-4-2 so it should see Bielsa change to a three-man defence, with Imbula playing the central midfield role on his own.
Usually he can rely on Alaixys Romao or Mario Lemina to provide support, allowing him to push on; this will be another big test in the young career of Imbula. There is no doubt he is up to the challenge, and tonight could be another moment in which he shows just how good a midfielder he can become.
Lorient: Lecomte – Gassama, Koné, Lautoa, Le Goff – Barthelme, Mostefa, Mesloub, Guerreiro – Jeannot, J. Ayew
Marseille: Mandanda – Romao, Fanni, Morel – Mendy, Imbula, Dja Djédjé – Barrada, Payet, Thauvin - Gignac