Preview - Marseille vs Athletic Bilbao March 09 2018

Started by Harry85, Mar 07, 2018, 10:09 PM

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Harry85

Europa League Round of 16
Marseille vs. Athletic Bilbao
Friday, March 9th, 2018
4:05am (GMT+8 Timing)
Stadium: Stade Vélodrome

Marseille:
Last five matches form: W L L L D
EL Average goals per match: 0.9
ELAverage goals against per match: 0.6
EL Top Scorer: Valère Germain

Athletic Bilbao:
Last five matches form: L L W D L
EL Average goals per match: 1.5
EL Average goals against per match: 1.1
EL Top Scorer: Aritz Aduriz (7)

One of the tougher round of 16 ties take place in the South of France as Marseille welcome La Liga opposition, Athletic Bilbao.

A glance at Marseille's five match form would suggest they are perhaps not in the greatest of form. All of those defeats came away from home though, with two at runaway league leaders PSG. At the Stade Vélodorme, Marseille are beginning to rack up a formidable record. Now unbeaten in 16 matches in all competitions, Bilbao will have to be on their game if they are to come away with a positive result here.

Athletic will likely go with their usual attacking quartet of Iñaki Williams, Raul García, Iñigo Cordoba and Aritz Aduriz, but may be struggling in the midfield department with Mikel Rico set to miss out.

Much may depend on whether Florian Thauvin is given a place in the line-up for Marseille. The mercurial Frenchman has been used sparingly in this competition to date, but may be called upon against this higher calibre of opposition.

We will be better able to judge this tie once the line-ups are released but Marseille have a stingy record at home and may well deny Bilbao a crucial away goal here. Bilbao aren't anything like so resolute in defence following the departure of Aymeric Laporte and may struggle to prevent Marseille extending their impressive run of home at home.

Prediction: Marseille 2-0 Athletic Bilbao

Harry85

Half time: 2 - 1
Full time: 3 -1
Shots:  14 - 6
Shots on target: 9 - 2
Corner Kicks: 5 - 1
Possession: 56% - 44%

Six bookings in all in what was an eventful match at the Velodrome. Valere Germain, Adil Rami and Dimitri Payet being booked for the home side, Mikel San Jose, Markel Susaeta and Benat Etxebarria seeing yellow for Bilbao.

One look at Marseille's starting line-up suggested that the hosts were taking this tie pretty seriously, with big guns Dimitri Payet and Florian Thauvin both handed a place in the first eleven.

Thauvin took all of one minute to make an impact. Cutting back on the right hand side, he drifted a delicious ball to the far post for Lucas Ocampos to slot home. 1 minute gone, 1-0 to the home side.

Bilbao almost equalised immediately in what was a frenetic opening spell to the game. Aritz Aduriz blasting at goal from a tight angle but Steve Mandanda proving equal to the effort.

The 14th minute saw Payet make his mark on proceedings, chesting the ball down in the centre of the box before smashing an unstoppable volley into the back of the net. 2-0.

Bilbao were handed a lifeline back into this tie on the stroke of half-time. Adil Rami being harshly adjudged to have handled in the box allowing Aduriz to dink home a cheeky penalty.

It was 3-1 in the 57th minute. Payet turning in a cross from the right hand side for Ocampos to sweep into the bottom corner. Germain getting a firm hand to it but unable to stop the ball trickling over the line.

The match finished on a black note for the hosts with Florian Thauvin being stretchered off with what looked a bad injury.

3-1 up ahead of the return next week, Marseille are favourites to progress but an early goal from Bilbao will put this tie right back in the balance.

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