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Marseille On The Road To Europa Cup Glory

Under the guidance of manager Didier Deschamps, a well known face to the fans of Chelsea Fc, his current club Marseille could well claim the treble this season. Deschamps decided to take over the reign at the French club in the month of May last year, even though the club are currently fourth in Ligue 1, Marseille are still in with a brilliant chance of League glory, aswell as the Coupe de la ligue and the Europa League. Ligue 1 is ever so tight as six teams could potentially win the French league; Bordeaux are currently top of the table while newly promoted side Montpellier sit 2nd, with Marseille in 4th only three points off 1st place. Things are looking good Marseille, as a fresh new face in the name of Didier Deschamps has worked wonders on the club in only his first season in charge.

Marseille were awarded a place in the 09/10 Europa League, after finishing third in their Champions League group behind two of the richest clubs in World football, Real Madrid and Ac Milan. Marseille nearly made it through as they were right on Ac Milan’s heels, however after a disappointing 3-1 home loss at the hands of Real Madrid, Deschamps side had to settle for third place, meaning they would be handed a place in the Europa League. Marseille were able to claim seven points in the Group Stages after they demolished Zurich at home by a 6-1 scoreline, they also defeated Zurich again, however it was only a 1-0 win thanks to a goal from Gabriel Heinze. The Ligue 1 sides other point was claimed in a 1-1 draw against Ac Milan. Disappointing losses at the hands of Real Madrid ruined their hopes of the last 16, as the Spanish side defeated Marseille on two occasions.

 

Les Phoceens will now have to fight their way through the Europa League knockout stages, with the squad Deschamps has got the French club must be one of the sheer favourites for Europa League glory, on the other hand many top class teams are still left in the tournament, including Liverpool, Wolfsburg and Valencia. Marseille were able to pass the last 32 with ease, after they comfortably defeated Copenhagen in two legs. Firstly they defeated the Danish side 3-1 away from home, as current top goalscorer Niang scored one of Marseille’s goals, the other goals were scored by wonderkid Hatem Ben Arfa and midfielder Charles Kabore.

Marseille also defeated Copenhagen by the same scoreline in the 2nd leg; this time striker Bakari Kone claimed two of the goals, while yet again youngster Hatem Ben Arfa also found the net. Deschamps’s side progressed thanks to an aggregate score of 6-2. Marseille will now play Benfica, on the 11th and the 18th of March. Benfica also eased through into the last 16, thanks to a 5-1 aggregate win over German side Hertha Berlin. English side Everton will know how well Benfica can play, as Benfica thrashed the Toffees 5-0 in the group stages. Benfica will have a number of stars on show, as South American’s Pablo Aimar and Ramires ply their trade for Benfica. Also in their ranks is strikers Javier Saviola and Nuno Gomes.

For Marseille they will have to be wary of one name in particular, Angel Di Maria. The Argentine is highly profiled in the Portuguese league, Di Maria has been linked with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United. For Marseille top scorer Niang has to be on form, aswell as Hatem Ben Arfa and former Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes.

Can Marseille win the Europa League?

Olympique Marseille's Ben Arfa celebrates with teammates after scoring against Paris St Germain during their French League 1 soccer match in Paris

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