Team Roatation Leaves OM Flat As They Fail To Overcome Valenciennes
Marseille produced a lacklustre display at home to Valenciennes and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw facing Daniel Sanchez’s men. At the very best, OM would’ve only deserved to scrape a victory and this drawn score-line gives a pretty fair reflection of the match.
Didier Deschamps surprised a lot of people regarding team selection here. Yes, there was an upcoming game with Inter in the Champions League, but there had been few rumours of any major team rotation. So instead what does DD do? He places Morel, Azpi, Cheyrou and Brandao on the bench whilst giving the likes of Traore and Kabore a place in the starting XI. It just seemed a bit of a weird selection at the time, especially because the previous cup game in which OM had gone full strength was a very easy affair and not particularly energy sapping for the players.
Nevertheless, it was a good start by OM as they looked to stamp their authority on the game. Jordan Ayew caused problems in the box by winning a couple of early headers, before the hosts were ahead thanks to a Diarra header superbly assisted by Rod Fanni. It was a delicious pin point cross which deserves a lot of credit. The goal clearly gave OM a lift, but despite going ahead they never really kicked on from their early goal boost.
Valenciennes were never much of a threat going forwards, but you felt OM could’ve perhaps done more to dominate their northern opponents. Jordan Ayew came very close to making it 2-0 thanks to a deflected strike with Penneteau well beaten. In some ways it would’ve been a fortunate goal, but at the same time it was gutting considering how close it was. Just moments later at the other end, a Cohade header from a corner was cleared off the line by Diarra. This was VA’s only major chance of the first period and the scoreline at HT was 1-1.
Early after the interval, Valenciennes got back on level terms very quickly and the goalscorer was an unlikely source, defender Gill. Terrible defending by OM from a corner resulted in a failed clearance the ball eventually falling to the Brazilian from close range and he lashed home. OMs response wasn’t particularly impressive and it took them until about the 70th minute to really start to try and raise through the gears.
The problem was that most of the shots were from long range, hardly very threatening to the Nicolas Penneteau goal and he had a fairly easy time. The most dangerous late occasions were through Brandao twice. On the first chance, Cheyrou got in his way when well placed, and then just a few minutes later he sent a superb header against the bar.
But had OM scored, it would’ve been a barely deserved victory. The 2nd half performance was flat, lacking energy and at times devoid of ideas. This was definitely a step backwards from recent displays, although the team is unbeaten in its last 14 games (all competitions). Maybe the Inter game was on the minds of some the players, who knows? But definitely performances need to improve after this below par display.
Man of the match:- Fanni
Played in his more natural RDEF role and was impressive. Handled Danic easily defensively and got forwards well himself. Some of his crosses were excellent and the assist for the goal was a delicious piece of work.
Worth a mention
Diarra – Had a solid game before having to come off injured and scored the opening goal. OM missed his driving force in midfield a bit after half time.
Worst player :- Andre Ayew
For someone of his quality you expect more. He just didn’t make an impact on the game and failed to create anything substantial. He is a player, especially in a game like this that you hope stands up and causes the opposition real problems, but this never materialised. He was too flat and devoid of energy, more is expected and needed from him in future.
Also crap…. Djimi Traore, who just never looked comfortable or at ease. Although does he ever?
(@MarseilleUK & @meatmansoccer)