Marseille-Annecy preview: Payet to captain OM?

Payet remains Marseille’s club captain but Valentin Rongier has worn the armband more often than not this season with the 35-year-old having become a squad player in practice under Igor Tudor.


Payet came off the bench for Cengiz Under in Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in le Classique, but with the Turkey international suspended in the Coupe de France, Payet could start at Orange Vélodrome.


OM at full strength?


Marseille won through to this stage of the competition by beating PSG 2-1 three weeks ago, and while Tudor’s hand is forced in places, he is unlikely to make wholesale changes even if Annecy are Ligue 2 BKT opposition.


“For sure it’s a very important match which would allow us to qualify for the semi-finals,” said the Croatian head coach. “We mustn’t underestimate our opponent. We have to be careful and 100 per cent ready. I believe in my players. It’d be stupid not to qualify for the semi-finals having beaten Rennes and PSG.”


Watch: Highlights of the most recent Classique


As well as the suspended Under, OM are without centre-back Samuel Gigot due to an ankle injury, while Amine Harit remains a long-term absentee with a sprained LCL. Chancel Mbemba should take Gigot’s place in the back three, while Azzedine Ounahi is also pushing for a start in midfield.


Annecy are only 10th in Ligue 2 BKT but they have proven difficult to beat in the Coupe de France, winning through to this round with a penalty shoot-out victory over Paris FC.


Tudor’s opposite number Laurent Guyot is excited at the prospect of taking on Marseille at the Vélodrome, but he is not too worried about achieving victory against the 10-time winners of this competition.


Guyot: ‘a pleasure to play them!’


“It’s obviously a pleasure [to play them]!” he said. “It’s already historic for the club to get this far. Obviously there’s a place in the semi-finals at stake but it’s not something essential for the club either.


“We’ll do everything we can to qualify but if we do or not isn’t what’ll make this season a success. Our objective is Ligue 2 survival. There are only positives to be drawn from preparing for match like this.”


Annecy have a pair of former Marseille academy players in their ranks in Florian Escales and Alexandre Phliponeau. The former is expected to get the nod in goal even though Thomas Callens was between the posts against Paris.


Possible teams


Marseille: Lopez; Mbemba, Balerdi, Kolasinac; Clauss, Rongier, Veretout, Tavares; Ounahi, Payet; Alexis


Annecy: Escales; Lajugie, Mouanga, Jean, Bastian; Pajot, Kashi, Demoncy; Baldé, Bosetti, Shamal

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