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First thoughts on Manchester United's next Champion's League opponent: Olympique de Marseille

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So, if you haven't heard yet, United got a fairly easy draw this morning, getting Olympique de Marseille as their round of 16 opponents.  The first match will be in France on 23 February, with the return fixture at Old Trafford on 15 March.  Following the draw, Sir Alex Ferguson made the following comments (after the jump):

 

"Everyone thought we might get one of the Milan sides because we’ve faced them quite a few times in the last few years, but we got Marseille in the draw rehearsal and it proved right.

"Marseille are a handful at their own ground, their fantastic atmosphere and incredible support guarantees that. They’ve had a good change in fortunes in the last two or three years, after a dry spell, and think it’ll be a difficult tie." -Sir Alex Ferguson ( ManUtd.com )

MARSEILLE IN THE GROUP STAGE
MD
H/A
OPPONENT
SCORE
O.M. SCORERS
1
H
Spartak Moscow
0-1
 
2
A
Chelsea
2-0
 
3
H
Zilina
1-0
Diawara
4
A
Zilina
0-7
Gignac (3); Heinze; Remy; Lucho (2)
5
A
Spartak Moscow
0-3
Valbuena; Remy; Brandao
6
H
Chelsea
1-0
Brandao

Well, I kind of expected SAF to be decent in his initial comments, but the fact of the matter is, it was disaster averted in the group stage, dropping their first two matches to Spartak Moscow and Chelsea.  Then they went ballistic, winning their last four matches by a total scoreline of 12-0.  In Ligue One, they currently sit fifth in the table, four points back of leaders Lille.  In their last eight league matches, they've managed just 12 points from a possible 24.

A couple of recognizable names can be found at Marseille: former United defender Gabriel Heinze plies his trade there and former Chelsea midfielder Didier Deschamps is their manager. 

Marseille should be a beatable team and a fairly easy ticket into the quarterfinals of the Champions League.  They can be a difficult team to beat at the Stade Velodrome in France, but with the European experience that United bring to the competition, it shouldn't be that daunting of a task. 

I guess I should start watching Marseille games now (I really dislike French football)...thankfully foxsoccer.tv covers Ligue 1.