Marseille without Stephane M’Bia for several weeks

Marseille midfielder Stephane M’Bia will be out for several
weeks with a groin injury, depriving coach Didier Deschamps of one
of his best players for the title run-in.

M’Bia limped off minutes into Saturday’s League Cup final win
over Montpellier.

”The news isn’t good,” Deschamps said Monday on the club’s
website. ”I don’t think he will come back before mid-May.”

The Cameroon midfielder could potentially miss five of defending
champion Marseille’s seven remaining league games. The French
league ends on May 29.

Marseille is two points behind leader Lille, but has a game in
hand and can go top if it beats Nice on Wednesday. Marseille then
plays Auxerre, title rival Lyon, Brest, and then Lorient on May

The 24-year-old M’Bia is a crucial player in Deschamps’ team
because he can play both as a holding midfielder, his favored role,
or fill in at centre-half as he did toward the end of last

Deschamps may be forced into reshuffling his defense as
left-back Taye Taiwo could also be ruled out for a while.

The Nigeria defender faces a possible suspension for his
expletive-laced chant following his team’s 1-0 victory over
Montpellier on Saturday.

Taiwo, who scored the winning goal, took the microphone after
the game and joined in with Marseille fans singing an offensive
song aimed at bitter archrival Paris Saint-Germain. The two clubs
have a long history of animosity and violence.

The French league will submit Taiwo’s case to the football
federation’s National Ethics Council. Taiwo has apologized.

”He shouldn’t have done (it), it’s very silly,” Deschamps
said. ”What he said wasn’t good. He realized that and felt very
sad about it. He didn’t realize what proportions it would

Deschamps said that because other players, such as former
Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o have done similar things in the
past, Taiwo should not be made an example of.

”I don’t want to minimize it, but you shouldn’t exaggerate,”
Deschamps said. ”It’s happened to others. That’s not an excuse but
Samuel Eto’o took the mic (celebrating) Barca’s league title and
spoke (in offensive terms) about Real Madrid.”