Olympique de Marseille in hot water
Last week ‘s 2-0 victory over Evian Thonon Gaillard FC did not seem bring luck to L’OM after a 1-1 draw against Valenciennes with the tying goal in the 93rd minute. That tie was only made possible with a great performance from OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. Fans have voiced their concerns on their team’s lacklustre performances but Didier Deschamps’ credibility seems to buy some time for the club. But one impression lingers at the Velodrome: the more OM plays, the worse it gets.
On the pitch, Lucho Gonzalez has been placed deeper in the midfield as a number 8, a position that seems to fit his style of play. But for the past 2 games, that experience did not seem very conclusive as per the results but Lucho’s natural position has never and will never a number 10 aka ‘’the playmaker’’.
The astonishing conclusion still stands: In a sea of boring football, Lucho still looked as the best OM player against Valenciennes or shall we say the least worse outside Steve Mandanda. Yet again, we realize the total lack of support around Lucho which makes run more with the ball instead of distributing it. The only player that is able to make intelligent runs and choices is Loic Remy, even though he misses a 1-on-1 to try to make it 2-0. We will not forget that the OM was hindered by Fanni’s arguable red card after mistakenly head butting his friend Foued Kadir.
Is it time for Marseille to go for a 4-4-2 and try to play Remy and Jordan Ayew? Is that even a feasible choice with a coach that is looking more for security than style in a very difficult?
Let’s look at a couple of Marseille’s recruits and how they are performing until now
- A.Diarra: totally lost in the midfield. He seems unable to control a ball, pivot and deliver a decent pas.
- Amalfitano: Playing in Marseille is not the same as playing in Lorient. But the jury is not out on him yet. I am convinced that Amalfitano will do well in 2-3 months as he is still looking for his rhythm.
- Morel: LM or LB. He does not have the caliber to be OM’s LB but saving money was of the essence when Morel was recruited. He still is a smart player but lacks a lot in defensive awareness and offensive flair for a club that plays the title every year and is in the Champions League.
For both Morel and Amalfitano, they would need more time. But Marseille is not a city where time is a luxury as you need to perform right away with no breathing room off and on the pitch.
The scary thought is that OM will be playing an important Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund, another club in difficulty in its own league. Even if Dortmund does not have the results, the yellow canaries have been playing good football and have not relinquished their offensive style. A positive note for Marseille is that they are not favorites in the game and usually do well as the underdog.
Maybe the Champions League song will give Marseille wings…..